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Encyclopedia > Nixon tapes

Pentagon Papers
Watergate burglaries
Watergate tapes
Saturday Night Massacre
United States v. Nixon
New York Times Co. v. United States The term Watergate scandal refers to a 1972 break-in of the headquarters of the Democratic National Committee at the Watergate Hotel in Washington, D.C. by members of the Richard Nixon administration. ... Timeline of the Watergate scandal —regarding attempts by the sitting U.S. President to discredit an anti-war whistleblower of official capacity, and upon exposure of related improprieties, to use the powers of office to silence political and legal opposition. ... The Pentagon Papers is the colloquial term for United States-Vietnam Relations, 1945-1967: A Study Prepared by the Department of Defense, a 47 volume, 7,000-page, top-secret United States Department of Defense history of the United States political and military involvement in the Vietnam War from 1945... The Watergate burglaries, which took place on May 28 and June 17, 1972, have been cited in testimony, media accounts, and popular works on Watergate as the pivotal event that led ultimately to the Watergate Scandal. ... The Saturday night massacre (October 20, 1973) was the term given by political commentators to U.S. President Richard Nixons executive dismissal of independent special prosecutor Archibald Cox, and the forced resignations of Attorney General Elliot Richardson and Deputy Attorney General William Ruckelshaus during the controversial and drawn-out... Holding The Supreme Court has the final voice in determining constitutional questions; no person, not even the President of the United States, is completely above law; and the president cannot use executive privilege as an excuse to withhold evidence that is demonstrably relevant in a criminal trial. ... Holding In order to exercise prior restraint, the Government must show sufficient evidence that the publication would cause a “grave and irreparable” danger. ...


Ben Bagdikian
Carl Bernstein
Archibald Cox
John Dean
Deep Throat
Daniel Ellsberg
Senator Mike Gravel
E. Howard Hunt
G. Gordon Liddy
John N. Mitchell
Richard Nixon
John Sirica
Watergate Seven
Bob Woodward
Ben H. Bagdikian Ben Haig Bagdikian (born 1920, Maraş, Ottoman Empire; now in Turkey) is an American educator and journalist of Armenian descent. ... Carl Bernstein (left) and Bob Woodward (right)This image is pending deletion. ... Archibald Cox, Jr. ... John Dean, May 7, 1972. ... W. Mark Felt, on the set of CBSs Face the Nation in 1976. ... Daniel Ellsberg ©1990 Jock McDonald Daniel Ellsberg (born April 7, 1931) is a former American military analyst employed by the RAND Corporation who precipitated a national uproar in 1971 when he released the Pentagon Papers, the US militarys account of activities during the Vietnam War, to The New York... Maurice Robert Gravel (born May 13, 1930) better known as Mike Gravel, was a Democratic U.S. Senator from Alaska for two terms, from 1969 to 1981. ... Everette Howard Hunt (born October 9, 1918, in East Hamburg, New York, United States) worked for the CIA and later the White House under President Richard Nixon. ... G. Gordon Liddy George Gordon Battle Liddy (born November 30, 1930) was the chief operative for President Richard Nixons White House Plumbers unit. ... Mitchell (far left) meeting with Nixon, J. Edgar Hoover, and John Ehrlichman on May 26, 1971. ... Nixon redirects here. ... Judge John Joseph Sirica (March 19, 1904 – August 14, 1992) was the Chief Judge for the United States District Court for the District of Columbia. ... The Watergate Seven were advisors and aides to United States President Richard M. Nixon who were indicted by a grand jury on March 1, 1974. ... Bob Woodward Robert Upshur Bob Woodward (born March 26, 1943) is assistant managing editor of The Washington Post. ...


White House Plumbers
Senate Watergate Committee The Committee to Re-elect the President, often abbreviated to CRP or CREEP (which was also the way it was pronounced), was a Nixon White House fund-raising organization headed by John N. Mitchell, who had previously served as United States Attorney General. ... The White House Plumbers or simply The Plumbers is the popular name given to the covert Nixon White House Special Investigations Unit established July 24, 1971. ... The Senate Watergate Committee was a special committee convened by the United States Senate to investigate the Watergate first break-in and the ensuing Watergate scandal after it was learned that the Watergate burglars had been directed to break into and wiretap the headquarters of the Democratic National Committee by...

List of people
connected with Watergate

The Watergate tapes, also known as the Nixon tapes are a collection of conversations between President Nixon and various White House staff members, recorded on the White House taping system and White House dictabelts. President Nixon had ordered the installation of the recording system by the Technical Services Division of the U.S. Secret Service in February 1971. In addition to the line-taps placed on the telephones, small lavalier microphones were installed at various locations around the rooms. The recordings were produced on as many as nine Sony TC-800B machines. While the recorders were turned off shortly after the hearing, the system was not removed until 1974, after Nixon left office. Order: 37th President Vice President: Spiro Agnew (1969–1973), Gerald R. Ford (1973–1974) Term of office: January 20, 1969 – August 9, 1974 Preceded by: Lyndon B. Johnson Succeeded by: Gerald R. Ford Date of birth: January 9, 1913 Place of birth: Yorba Linda, California Date of death: April 22... North façade of the White House, seen from Pennsylvania Avenue. ... The United States Secret Service is a United States federal government law enforcement agency that is part of the United States Department of Homeland Security (prior to the foundation of that department in 2002, it was under Treasury). ... To meet Wikipedias quality standards, this article or section may require cleanup. ...


Tapes existence made public

The existence of the system was first made public during the testimony of White House Aide Alexander Butterfield, unlocking the entire investigation. On July 16, 1973, Butterfield told the committee, on nationwide television, that Nixon had ordered a taping system installed in the White House to automatically record all conversations; what the president said and when could be verified. The prosecuting attorney, Archibald Cox, a Harvard Law School professor, immediately subpoenaed eight relevant tapes to confirm White House Council, John Dean’s testimony. Alexander Porter Butterfield (born April 6, 1926) was the deputy assistant to Richard Nixon from 1969 until 1973. ... Archibald Cox, Jr. ... Harvard Law School (HLS) is one of the professional graduate schools of Harvard University. ... A subpoena is a writ commanding a person to appear under penalty (from Latin). ... John Dean, May 7, 1972. ...

Nixon refuses to release the tapes

Nixon refused to release the tapes, claiming they were vital to the national security. U.S. District Court Judge John Sirica ruled that Nixon must give the tapes to Cox, and an appeals court upheld the decision. Nixon refused to turn over the tapes and on Saturday, October 20, 1973, ordered the attorney general, Elliot Richardson to dismiss Cox. Richardson refused and resigned instead, as did Deputy Attorney General William Ruckelshaus. Finally, Solicitor General Robert Bork discharged Cox. Judge John Joseph Sirica (March 19, 1904 – August 14, 1992) was the Chief Judge for the United States District Court for the District of Columbia. ... In the court system of a state or of a subordinate regional entity, an appeals court is a court of second instance where a party to a case on which judgment has been entered can ask to have their case reheard if they suspect an error of law, fact, or... William Doyle Ruckelshaus (born July 24, 1932) is an attorney and civil servant in the United States. ... Robert Bork Robert Heron Bork (born March 1, 1927 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania) is a conservative American legal scholar who advocates the judicial philosophy of originalism. ...

18½ minute gap Tape

Nixon appointed another prosecutor, Leon Jaworski. The White House then agreed to comply with the subpoena and gave some of the subpoenaed conversations to Sirica. The White House informed the Court that two subpoenaed conversations had not been recorded, and that a 18½ minute gap existed on a third tape. Leon Jaworski (September 19, 1905 - December 9, 1982) was the Special Prosecutor during the Watergate Scandal. ... During the Watergate scandal, it was discovered that President Nixon had tape recorded several key meetings and conversations. ...

Rose Mary Woods

Rose Mary Woods demonstrating how she may have erased tape recordings
Rose Mary Woods demonstrating how she may have erased tape recordings

On November 8, 1973, Nixon’s secretary, Rose Mary Woods, testified Woods, on the cover of Time Magazine (December 10, 1973) Rose Mary Woods (December 26, 1917 – January 22, 2005) was Richard Nixons secretary from 1951, through the Watergate scandal and until the end of his political career. ...

The buttons said on and off, forward and backward. I caught on to that fairly fast. I don't think I'm so stupid as to erase what's on a tape.[1]

Later that month she testified she had made "a terrible mistake" during transcription. On October 1, 1973 while playing the tape on the Uher 5000, she answered a phone call. Reaching for the Uher 5000 stop button, she testifies she mistakingly hit the button next to it — the record button. For the duration of the phone call, about 5 minutes, she kept her foot on the device's pedal, causing a portion of the tape to be overwritten. She insisted she was not responsible for the remaining 13 minutes of buzz.

Woods was asked to replicate the position she took to cause that accident: seated at a desk, reaching far back over her left shoulder for a telephone as her foot applies constant pressure to the pedal controlling the transcription machine.

Advisory Panel on White House Tapes

On November 21, 1973, Chief Judge John J. Sirica appointed an Advisory Panel of persons nominated jointly by the White House and the Special Prosecution Force [2]. Judge John Joseph Sirica (March 19, 1904 - August 14, 1992) was the Chief Judge for the United States District Court for the District of Columbia. ...

The Advisory Panel on White House Tapes consisted of

The Advisory Panel were supplied with the Evidence Tape, the seven Sony 800B recorders from the Oval Office and Executive Office Building, and two Uher 5000 recorders. One Uher5000 was marked "Secret Service." The other was accompanied by a foot pedal, respectively labeled Government Exhibit 60 and 60B. Richard Henry Bolt, better known as Richard Bolt or Dick Bolt was a physics professor at MIT with an interest in acoustics. ... BBN Technologies (originally Bolt Beranek and Newman) is a high-technology company that provides research and development services. ... Franklin Seaney Cooper (Apr. ... Haskins Laboratories is an independent, international, multidisciplinary community of researchers conducting basic research on spoken and written language. ... James L. Flanagan is an electrical engineer, and is Rutgers vice president for research. ... Bell Laboratories (also known as Bell Labs and formerly known as AT&T Bell Laboratories and Bell Telephone Laboratories) was the main research and development arm of the United States Bell System. ... Thomas Greenway Stockham, (December 22, 1933-January 6, 2004) was an American scientist who developed the first practical digital audio recording system, and pioneered techniques for digital audio recording and processing as well. ... The University of Utah (also The U or the U of U or the UU) is a public university in Salt Lake City, Utah. ... To meet Wikipedias quality standards, this article or section may require cleanup. ... The Oval Office is the official office of the President of the United States, in the West Wing of the White House, built in 1909. ... Because of both the secrecy of secret services and the controversial nature of the issues involved, there is some difficulty in separating the definitions of secret service, secret police, intelligence agency etc. ...

By January 10, 1974 the Panel determined that the buzz was of no consequence, and that the 18½ gap was due to erasure[4] performed on the Exhibit 60 Uher.[5] The Panel also determined that the erasure/buzz recording was done in at least 5 segments, possibly as many as 9,[6] and that at least 5 segments required hand operation, that is, they could not be performed the foot pedal.[7]

The Panel was subsequently asked by the court to consider alternative explanations that had emerged during the hearings. The final report dated May 31, 1974, found these other explanations did not contradict the original findings.[8]


The National Archives now owns the tape, and has tried several times to recover the missing minutes, most recently in 2003. [1] None of the Archive's attempts have been successful. The tapes are now preserved in a climate-controlled vault in case a future technological development allows for restoration of the missing audio. The National Archives building in Washington, DC The United States National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) is an independent agency of the United States federal government charged with preserving and documenting government and historical records. ...

The "Smoking Gun" Tape

In April 1974, the House Judiciary Committee subpoenaed the tapes of 42 White House conversations. At the end of that month, Nixon released edited transcripts of the White House tapes. The conversations revealed conversations concerning the punishing of political opponents and the halting of the Watergate investigation. The Judiciary Committee, however, rejected Nixon’s edited transcripts, saying that he did not comply with their subpoena. U.S. House Committee on the Judiciary, or (more commonly) the House Judiciary Committee, is a standing committee of the United States House of Representatives. ...

Sirica, acting on a request from Jaworski, issued a subpoena for the tapes of 64 presidential conversations to use as evidence in the criminal cases against the indicted officials. Nixon refused, and Jaworski appealed to the Supreme Court to force Nixon to turn over the tapes. On July 24, the Supreme Court voted 8-0 in United States v. Nixon that Nixon must turn over the tapes. Holding The Supreme Court has the final voice in determining constitutional questions; no person, not even the President of the United States, is completely above law; and the president cannot use executive privilege as an excuse to withhold evidence that is demonstrably relevant in a criminal trial. ...

In late July 1974, the White House released the subpoeaned tapes. One of those tapes was the so-called "smoking gun" tape, from June 23, 1972, six days after the Watergate breakin. In that tape, Nixon agrees that administration officials should approach the Director of the CIA and ask him to request that the Director of the FBI halt the Bureau's investigation into the Watergate breakin on the grounds that the Watergate breakin was a National Security matter. In so agreeing, Nixon had entered into a Criminal Conspiracy whose goal was the Obstruction of Justice --- a felony, and an impeachable offense. The term smoking gun is a reference to an object or fact that serves as conclusive evidence or proof of a crime or similar act. ...

Once the "smoking gun" tape was released, Nixon's political support evaporated. Every single Republican on the House Impeachment Committe who had voted against impeachment in committee announced that he would now vote for impeachment once the matter reached the House floor. In the Senate, it was said that Nixon had at most a half dozen votes.

Facing impeachment in the House of Representatives and a probable conviction in the Senate, Nixon resigned at 12 noon on Friday, August 9, 1974.

Tape Timeline

  • July 13, 1973: Butterfield reveals existence of taping system in the White House
  • July 23, 1973: Cox requests the tape of June 20, 1972 conversations between Nixon, Haldeman, and Ehrlichman
  • July 23, 1973: Nixon refuses to turn over presidential tapings
  • October 1, 1973: * Woods transcribes the tape and informs President Nixon of the erasing error
  • October 20, 1973: Nixon orders Cox be fired
  • Mid-October, 1973: * Buzhardt learns of a problem with the tape
  • October 30, 1973: White House releases some of the subpoenaed conversations, including the 18½-minute gap
  • November 8, 1973: Woods testifies she didn't erase the tape
  •  ?? ??, 1973: Buzhardt claims he discovered the tape problem on November 14
  • November 21, 1973: Buzhardt informs the court that 18 minutes of conversation between Nixon and Haldeman is obscured
  • November 21, 1973: Woods testifies she did erase 5 minutes of tape
  • November 21, 1973: Sirica appoints Advisory Panel on White House Tapes
  • January 10, 1974: Advisory Panel determines erasure deliberate
  • April, 1974: More subpoenaes for tapes issued
  • April 30, 1974: White House releases edited transcripts of subpoenaed tapes
  • July, 1974: White House releases the conversations, including the "smoking-gun" tape

* items indicate testimony, or alleged acts


  1. ^ Time Magazine, Dec 10 1973
  2. ^ Advisory Panel on White House Tapes (1974) page i, and Preface
  3. ^ Advisory Panel on White House Tapes (1974) Appendix C
  4. ^ Advisory Panel on White House Tapes (1974) page 4
  5. ^ Advisory Panel on White House Tapes (1974) page 11
  6. ^ Advisory Panel on White House Tapes (1974) page 36
  7. ^ Advisory Panel on White House Tapes (1974) page 44
  8. ^ Advisory Panel on White House Tapes (1974) page iv


January 1 is the first day of the calendar year in both the Julian and Gregorian calendars. ... 2007 (MMVII) is the current year, a common year starting on Monday of the Gregorian calendar and the AD (or CE) era. ...

See also

  Results from FactBites:
American RadioWorks - The President Calling (508 words)
Nixon ran for office in 1968 promising a quick end to the war in Vietnam.
Though Richard Nixon won re-election by a landslide in 1972, his second term was quickly consumed by the Watergate scandal.
Counsel to President Nixon, John Dean, was one of the few people in the Justice Department to vet candidates for the Supreme Court in 1971.
CNN.com - Nixon 'smoking gun' tape released - February 28, 2002 (620 words)
Most of the Nixon tapes in the latest release are from the first half of 1972.
The tapes are the fifth such release and the largest in a continuing series of releases under the terms of an agreement between the government and the Nixon estate.
The bulk of the tapes in this release are from January 1972 to June 1972 -- a period in which Nixon traveled to China, the North Vietnamese waged a major offensive, presidential hopeful George Wallace was shot in an assassination attempt, and FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover died.
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