Its been over forty-years since the crime of the century. So much time has passed and like most of America’s faults are removed from the minds of its people. Most have forgotten the word “Watergate”, let alone know what the significant importance of it. I will admit after my return from war and living through that horrible ordeal I was disenchanted with our government’s policies. I suffered wounds from that conflict that was unjust on so many levels. First, the war began under false pretenses, it was a killing field for black and poor soldiers, and caused the slaughter of millions needlessly.
Then something happened that caused me to believe true that “Tricky Dick” was a crook. It happened on June 16, 1972, when Frank Wills was working as a security guard at the Watergate Hotel in Washington, D.C. The astute security guard discovered a piece of tape on the lock of the door that led to the National Democratic Headquarters. Assuming something was amiss, he alerted the police.
This foiled a break-in attempt at the Watergate Hotel resulting in the scandal that was part of a larger campaign by Nixon supporters to tarnish the reputation of Democratic candidates and the Democratic Party. At the time, Democratic candidates were harassed, subject to negative campaign ads, and on two separate occasions the National Democratic Headquarters were broken into.
As soon as the attempted break-in at Watergate Hotel became known, President Richard Nixon, AKA “Trick Dick”, ordered the entire affair covered up. It became clear that the Nixon presidency had been involved in serious manipulation and abuses of power for years. Millions of dollars coming from Nixon supporters were used to pay for the cover-up in an attempt to hide the truth from Congress and the American people.
The investigation would introduce the American people to such people as John Ehrlichman and Bob Haldeman. Ehrlichman was the President and Chief of the Domestic Council and Haldeman was the Chief of Staff. Both would be fired in a desperate attempt to save Nixon presidency. The investigation would ask two questions which would forever live in political infamy. The questions were, “What did the president know?” and “When did he know it?”
The investigation into Watergate scandal revealed that Nixon knew about the break-in from the beginning and that he was involved in the cover-up as it progressed. In the early stages of the Watergate scandal most of the media reported the break-in as a minor story with little national significance. This was until two young reporters, Carl Bernstein and Bob Woodward who were working for the Washington Post began to dig deeper into the mystery.
Aided by an informant identified as “Deep Throat”, Woodward and Bernstein uncovered one of the most significant stories of the twentieth century. They became the catalyst in forcing the first presidential resignation in American history. As the Watergate scandal investigation began testimony revealed that there was a taping system which was installed to record conversations in the Oval Office, Camp David, the Cabinet rooms, and Nixon’s hideaway office.
Nixon argued that the tapes contained only private conversations between the president and his advisors. The Supreme Court did not agree. The court ordered the president to release the tapes. The Nixon tapes were released in the 1970’s and contained 18 minutes of silence that have never been explained. In mid-1974, the House of Representatives approved the articles of impeachment against President Nixon.
Article I: Obstruction of justice;
Article II: Abuse of power;
Article III: Defiance of committee subpoena.
On August 8, 1974, Richard Nixon announced to the American people that he no longer had a political base strong enough to support his remaining time in office and resigned the presidency. We will all remember Nixon’s famous words “I am not a Crook”!
In 1996, 200 new hours of tape were released in the lawsuit of historian Stanley I. Kutler. The new tapes revealed that Nixon was intimately involved both before and after Watergate in abuses of power. A taped conversation on June 23, 1972, proved that Nixon and Haldeman talked about using the CIA to thwart the FBI investigation into the Watergate scandal cover-up.
Once Nixon resigned his Vice President Gerald Ford pardoned him and the crook never was charge or paid for his crime. Money and power is a very dangerous mixture. As you know power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely, particularly when you are a crook to start with. And that’s my Thought Provoking Perspective…