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All of which combined to make Robert Merritt something of a find.
A gay street kid with long hair and very little “hold-back,” he could be relied upon to help Shoffler and his colleagues “infiltrate, expose, disrupt and discredit” dissident groups and their leaders.
As Merritt tells it, he accompanied Shoffler to a soiree at the Old Stein restaurant in April, 1972.
This was two months before the Watergate break-ins and, according to Merritt, those in attendance included John Dean and a temblor of “military brass.” Elsewhere, Merritt claims that he first met Dean before an antiwar demonstration in the capital.
Student riots became routine throughout the country, and to many people – Left, Right and Center - it seemed like the wheels were coming off.A good-looking kid with few, if any, moral inhibitions, it was apparently only a matter of minutes before he concluded a sex-for-hospitality arrangement with an employee at the bus station.With his domestic situation efficiently sorted, Merritt then went looking for more gainful employment, and soon found it as a post-mortem technician in a local hospital. Removing the hearts from the cadavers of children for use in a government study.So were the Red House Bookstore and underground newspapers like the The Quicksilver Times. Washington’s gay community had been of special interest to the police and the feds since the Second World War.Even the restrooms – especially the restrooms – came under surveillance. For more than 20 years, the Washington Police Department’s Lt.
In January, 1970, while cruising the city’s “artsy” Dupont Circle neighborhood, Merritt attracted the attention of an undercover police detective named Carl Shoffler.