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WATERGATE Essay, Research Paper
Sex, drugs, money, power, you name it and there is a scandal for it, but
look back and you will see that from all the scandals there have been,
Watergate was among the worst. The Watergate scandal had everything.
From Nixon disgracing the presidency by lying to the country and abusing
his power, to his committees being involved in illegal acts and a big cover up.
All leading to little side roads of corruption and lies. Watergate is by far one
of the worst presidential scandals in the history of the United States.
In the story of Watergate, five burglars were found breaking into
democratic offices at the Watergate complex in Washington DC. The
break-in was passed off as just another burglary, but when the burglars were
found to have connections with the CIA, questions were starting to be asked.
Then when the phone number of Howard Hunt was found in one of the
burglars phone books, it made people think, ?Why would one of the burglars
have the phone number of one of the presidents men?? Then there is Richard
Nixon, the man of the hour, plays the role of the president of the United
States of America. The man that was voted into office by the people, and the
man that swore to serve the people. When Watergate was uncovered, it
revealed that the president was a liar and a cheat. The president lied to our
country, lied about his involvement, concealed self incriminating evidence,
abused his power, and planed to have the CIA stop the FBI investigations.
He was also deeply involved with the cover up and still lied about his
During the times of the unraveling of Watergate, questions were asked
about connections with the White House and the president, but when the
president was asked about it at a press conference he assured Americans that
?The White House has no involvement whatever in this particular incident.?
He was lying to the country like it was part of his job (Dorman 158). The
lying did not end there, it went on and on for months, and as the scandal kept
unraveling, ?President Nixon and White House, and creep officials were
deliberately misleading the public about the significance of the Watergate
affair? (158). As Watergate was becoming a front-page article in the
newspapers, new evidence was being uncovered. One piece of evidence that
changed the peoples ideas of our president was the tapping of every
conversation in the oval office ?since about the 18th month of president
Nixon?s term? (Kutler 368). Those tapes would soon prove that the president
was deeply involved in the scandal. During the trials, ?the Nixon
administration claimed that the March 21st, 1973 meeting was the first Nixon
had heard of the cover-ups?, but after the tapes were heard it was discovered
that Nixon was involved from the beginning (Heritage 36). The Nixon tapes
brought out much controversy. The tapes alone could prove the president
innocent or guilty, whichever one it was, Nixon refused to hand over the
tapes. the courts then demanded the tapes, and Nixon still would not give
After much struggle Nixon agreed to give a transcript of the tapes.
The transcripts brought to light a significant amount of evidence against
Nixon. The transcripts revealed payoffs, affiliation with the burglaries, and
the OK?s to the cover-up, But most important ?the transcripts showed that
Nixon had lied repeatedly after he had denied knowing anything about the
conspiracy? (27). After much struggle, the courts finally got the tapes from
Nixon, It was Archibald Cox that issued the subpoena for the tapes, and that
started the bloodbath we now know as the Saturday night massacre. ?The
night of October 20,1973, possibly the most tumultuous in American political
history, when the special Watergate prosecutor and the nations two top law
officers lost their jobs within the space of an hour and a half.? (Heritage 38).
Soon the country would find a new problem with the tapes. ?When the
presidents lawyers were going over the tapes, they came along an 18 minute
gap during a conversation with Nixon and Haldman? (34). Three weeks later,
the gap was discovered,
Rosemary Woods (Nixon?s secretary) testified that while
transcribing the tape, she had accidentally erased perhaps five
minutes when interrupted by a phone call, she said she had
pressed the ?Record? button instead of the ?Stop? button and
then kept her foot on the machines control pedal while speaking
into the phone. (34)
?Not everyone accepted this explanation; The maneuver would have been
difficult to perform because of the distance between the recording machine
and the telephone in her office? (34).
Watergate was unraveling, and the story kept getting bigger. Nixon
was just having to much fun in the white house. Before he was busted, ?He
ordered the FBI to place wire taps on the phones of thirteen government
officials, and four prominent reporters? (Fremon 28). Nixon was abusing his
powers to the extent, and to him there seemed to be nothing wrong with it.
Nixon needed the FBI to stop the Watergate investigation.
Former attorney general John Michell knew that the FBI had a
long-standing agreement with the CIA that neither agency would
jeopardize the other?s operations. If the FBI could be convinced
that the CIA had somehow been involved in financing or
carrying out the Watergate burglary, the investigation could be
curtailed on the ground of protecting ?national security.?
Nixon then told the chief of staff:
You call them [the CIA director, Richard M. Helms, and his
deputy, Lt. Gen. Vernon A. Walters] in. . . . Play it tough. That?s
the way they play it and that?s the way were gona play it. . . .
Say: ?Look, the problem is that this will open the whole, the
whole Bay of Pigs thing. . . . and that they should call the FBI in
and say that we wish for the country, don?t go any further into
this case?– period! (Heritage 27)
President Nixon was also deeply involved with the cover-up. When he
was told about the burglary, he gave his full support to the cover-up plan.
?On March 21, 1973 the president had a meeting with John Dean, and the
president agreed that one million dollars should be raised to silence the
burglars? (Kutler 247-257). The president also agreed in a March 21, 1973
meeting with John Dean, to get money to payoff Mr. Hunt (Heritage 34).
President Nixon also made some statements to the public, saying that there
was no White House involvement with Watergate. In one statement he said:
Within our own staff, under my direction, Counsel to the
president, Mr. Dean, has conducted a complete investigation of
all leads which might involve any present members of the White
House or anybody in the government. I can say categorically that
no one in the White House staff, no one in this administration,
presently employed, was involved in this very bizarre incident.
Actually, Dean had conducted no such investigation and had given him no
such assurances (168).
Without question, the most notorious examples of dirty politics
in the nations history occurred during president Nixon?s 1972
re-election campaign. An astonishing array of illegal and
unethical activities was carried out on Nixon?s behalf.
Nixon, having a high role in the scandal, was nothing compared to his
committees. Nixon?s committees were deeply involved with the whole
scandal and other unethical acts. During the 1972 election, they were
involved in illegal acts like, smear campaigns, and they attacked and harassed
political enemies, and they were involved in the famous Watergate break-in.
Also the committees had a great role in the cover-up. They destroyed
evidence, paid people off, and lied to the country. It could be said that
Nixon?s committees were more corrupt than him.
When Nixon was running for president in 1972, ambitious plans were
prepared for spying on the democrats. ?For four years the White House used
the power of the presidency to attack on political enemies. They spied on &
harassed anyone who did not agree with Nixon?s policies? (Heritage 32).
Nixon also had an enemies list that included the names of about 21
organizations and some 200 individuals (32). Someone had to take care of
these people, so ?CREEP ordered the establishment of several secret teams
assigned to carryout political espionage and harassment operations against the
democrats. Placed in charge of one such team was a young California lawyer
named Donald H. Segretti? (Dorman 113). Segretti himself signed up some of
his own men, one was Robert M. Benz, who hired seven others to help him
out, one of his helpers was Douglas Kelly (114). Douglas Kelly helped handle
a big political enemy by the name of, Senator Edmund Muskie, of Maine.
Senator Muskie got it pretty bad from CREEP.
?At a Florida rally for Democratic contender George Wallace of
Alabama, they distributed more than one thousand anti-Wallace
cards that purported to come from the Muskie Camp. One side,
the cards read, IF YOU LIKED HITLER, YOU?LL JUST
LOVE WALLACE. On the other side, they read, CAST
YOUR VOTE FOR SENATOR EDMUND MUSKIE.? (116)
When in fact the Muskie organization had nothing to do with the cards.
During another occasion, ?Kelly sneaked into a Muskie news conference and
released two white mice whose tails were bedecked with ribbons reading,
MUSKIE IS A RAT FINK? (115). ?Kelly also once hired a young woman
to run naked outside Muskie?s hotel room while shouting, ?I love Ed
Muskie? ? (115). The attacks didn?t stop there. they went on and on. Segretti
and Benz even got Senator Humphrey one good time. They went and
distributed phony invitations, to black communities in Milwaukee, to a free
all you can eat lunch with beer and wine, and several special guests. when in
fact the supposed lunch was non existent (118).
Nixon?s committees were also deeply involved in the cover-up and
destroyed allot of evidence. ?Within hours of the burglars? arrest, G. Gordon
Liddy showed up at the CREEP office and began destroying his confidential
files on the political-spying operation? (150). Also, Howard Hunt?s safe in his
office was drilled open and it contained, among other things, bugging
equipment, a revolver, a psychological profile of Daniel J. Ellsberg, leakier of
the pentagon papers, a state department cable that had been faked to make it
appear that president John F. Kennedy had ordered the murder of president
Ngo Dinh Diem of South Vietnam (Heritage 30). John Ehrlichman (the
presidents chief domestic affairs advisor) told John Dean to throw the
?sensitive materials? over the Potomac river and at night to shred the
paperwork (30).Also, L. Patrick Gray, acting FBI director destroyed the
documents from Hunts safe and withheld word of there existence (Dorman
157). Nixon?s chief aid, H. R. Haldman, also destroyed files which might
prove to be potentially dangerous (157).
As more problems came along, more pressure was being put on the
men in jail to keep quiet. CREEP agreed to pay the men about 400,000
dollars total, after a five month period, of hush money. CREEP did not have
that much money, so they put a down payment of 40,000 dollars, which was
to be divided amongst the men (170).
Although Hunt was incensed at receiving only partial payment,
he made no new threat to expose the cover-up. The day after the
payment was made, Mitchell met at the white house with Dean,
Haldeman, and John Ehrlichman. he told them that Hunt was
?not a problem any more? (192)
The Nixon committees also repeatedly lied to the country. John
Mitchell issued a statement and flat out lied to the country.
We have learned from news reports that a man identified as
employed by our campaign committee was one of five persons
arrested at the Democratic National committee headquarters.
The person involved is the proprietor of a private security
agency who was employed by our committee months ago to
assist with the installation of our security system. He has, as we
understand it, a number of business clients and interests and we
have no knowledge of those relationships. we want to emphasize
that this man and the other people involved were not operating
either in our behalf or with our consent. (158)
The lies went on and on, and the truth kept leaking out. The president
and his comities were being exposed, and the presidency was disgraced and
all trust in the government was lost. Some say, ?Had a uniformed officer in a
marked car appeared and Hunt gotten the warning earlier, he probably would
have been able to alert McCord and the Miamians in time for them to
escape. The Watergate scandal–and its subsequent enrichment of our
language–would never have happened.? (Heritage 42).
However, it did happen, and anyone old enough to read at that time, will
never forget the story of Watergate. The story of lies and corruption in the
government. The scandal that will forever be known as by far one of the
worst scandals in the history of the United States Of America.
Dorman, Michael. Dirty Politics, from 1776 to Watergate. I Dag
Hammarskjold Plaza. New York, NY 10017; Delacorte press, 1979.
Ehrlichman, John. Witness to Power, The Nixon Years. 1230 Avenue of the
Americas, New York, NY 10020; Simon & Schuster, 1982.
Fremon, David K. The Watergate Scandal in American History. 44 Fadem
Road. Springfield, NJ 07081; Enslow publishers, inc. 1998
Heritage, American. ?The words of Watergate.? October, 1997; 48/6.
Jaworski, Leon. The right & the power. prosecution of Watergate. Toronto,
Canada; Fitzhenry & Whiteside limited, 1976.
Kutler, Stanley. Abuse Of Power. 1230 Avenue of the Americas. New York,
NY 10020; Simon & Schuster, 1997.
— The Wars Of Watergate. 1230 Avenue of the Americas. New York, NY
10020; Simon & Schuster, 1990.
?Looking back at Watergate.? USA Today. November, 1994; v123 n2594
Lukas, J. Anthony. Nightmare. The underside of the Nixon years. New York,
NY; The Viking Press, 1976.
Schell, Jonathan. The Time of Illusion. Toronto Canada; Random House,
Sirica, John. To set the record straight. W.W. Norton & company. New York,
Ungar, Sanford J. FBI, An uncensored look behind the walls. Boston,
Massachusetts; Little Brown & Company, 1976.
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