The Watergate Scandal
December 29, 2006 11:41am CST
I don't know about you but I didn't really know a lot about it so I did some research and thought I would share it with you. The French would call it L'Affaire Watergate. It is the 1972 break-in of the Democratic National Committee @ the Watergate Hotel in D.C. by members of the Nixon Administration. The burgals' goal was to plant listening devices while disguised as common criminals. They were called informally the "plumbers unit" to "plug leaks" and this group included former CIA members. Even though President Nixon had endured 2 years of mounting political embarrassments, the court ordered release in Aug. 1974 of a "smoking gun tape" about the "burglaries" brought with it the prospect of certain impeachment for Nixon. He resigned only 4 days later on Aug 9th. He is the only president to resign from the office. On 06-17-72, Frank Wills a security guard who worked at the office building of the Watergate complex of office space, residential buildings, and hotel, noticed a piece of tape on the door between the basement stairwell, and the parking garage. It was holing the door unlocked so he removed it thinking the cleaning crew had put it there. Later that night he returned to find the tape back on the door. Wills became suspicious and called the D.C. police. When the police arrived they arrested Benard Baker, Virgilio Gonzalez, Eugenio Martinez, James W. McCord Jr, and Frand Sturgis for breaking into the Dem. National Committee. Then men had supposedly broken into the same office 3 week earlier & had returned to fix wire taps that weren't working. On 4-30-73, Nixon was forced to ask H.R. Halderman and John Ehrlichman for their resigantions. They were 2 of Nixon's most influential aides. Both would soon be indicted and go to prison. Nixon also fired White HOuse Counsel John Dean who had just testified for the Senate and would soon be the key witness against Nixon. On the same day, NIxon appointed Elliot Richardson as the new Attorney General and gave him the authority to designate a special councel who would be seperate from the regular Justice Dept. hierarchy to preserve his independence. On May 19th, Richardson named Archibald Cox to the position. The hearing held by the Senate Committee were broadcated from May 17th to Aug 7th & caused devestating political damage to Nixon. The Most memorable question was asked by Rep. Senator Howard Baker of TN, "What did the president know & when did he know it?" Which forced attention on Nixon's personal role for the 1st time. On july 13, Donald Sanders, the Asst. Minority counsel asked Alexander Butterfield if there were any recording systems in the White House. He reluctantly said Yes that there was something that recorded everything in the OVal Office. The tapes were subpoenaed by Cox and the Senate. However Nixon refused, citing the priciple of executive privilege & ordered Cox via Attorney General Richardson to drop his subpoena. Cox's refusal led to the "Saturday Night Massacre" on 10-20-73, when Nixon compelled the resigantions of Richardson & his deputy William Ruckelshaus, he was in search of someone in the Justice Dept. to fire Cox & he found Solicitor Genreal Robert Bork & new acting dept. head to dismiss the special prosecutor. On 7-24-74, the Supreme Court ruled unanimously that claims of executive privilege over the tapes was void and ordered Nixon to surrender them to Jaworski. On July 30, Nixon complied & released the tapes. 1-28-74 Herbert Porter, Nixon's campaign aide pleaded guilty of lying to the FBI during the early stages of the investigation. 2-25-74 Herbert Kalmback, Nixon's personal lawyer pleaded guilty to 2 charges of illegal election campaigne activities. 3-1-74 The Watergate Seven- former aides of the president- Halderman, Ehrichman, Mitchell, Charles Colson, Gordon C. Strachan, Robert Mardian & Kenneth Parkinson- were indicted for conspiring to hinder the investigation. 4-7-74 Ed Reinecke, Rep. Lieutenant Govenor of CA was indicted on 3 counts of perjury before the Senate Committee. 4-5-74 Dwight Chapin, Nixon's former appointments secretary was convicted of lying to the grand jury. 8-9-74 @ noon, Nixon's resignation was effective. 9-8-74 Ford issued a pardon for Nixon. I hope that this wasn't boring but I didn't know all this. This was happening right before I was born.