The broad interstices of Nixon’s Watergate scandal are well known, but having not admitted to wrongdoing and later pardoned by Gerald Ford, there are the less well-known ins-and-outs of Nixon’s downfall most people don’t know, and which I am bringing to you now.
1. President Nixon ordered many of his close staff to harass activist groups and political figures using the FBI, CIA and IRS to accomplish it.
2. Watergate ultimately resulted in the criminal indictment of 69 people, 48 of which were found guilty and of those, 25 were jailed.
3. A recording the Supreme Court ordered Nixon to release to the court implicated Nixon in Watergate, showing that he attempted to cover up illicit covert operations that took place after the original break in and that Nixon had the intent to use Federal agents to deflect the investigation.
4. Nixon’s presidential successor, Gerald Ford, pardoned the former president for his crimes.
5. The current Attorney General at that time, John Mitchell, originally approved the plan to break into the DNC headquarters, photograph campaign documents and install audio surveillance equipment.
6. A total of two phones at the DNC Headquarters were bugged – Robert Spencer Oliver, Executive Director of the Association of State Democratic Chairmen, and Larry O’Brien, Secretary of the DNC.
7. On June 17, 1972, Frank Wills, who was patrolling the Watergate Complex as a night security guard, discovered tape covering the locking mechanisms on several doors leading to personnel offices. After removing the tape and carrying on, he found that the locking mechanisms had been covered with tape again, leading Wills to call the police who then discovered and arrested five men.
8. Before and during the Watergate Scandal, a separate covert operation known as the “White House Plumbers” was in progress and was ostensibly created to stop security leaks and discover moles inside White House staff. Howard Hunt and was involved in both the White House Plumbers and Watergate.
9. Nixon outright stated, “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.” Harks to more recent “I did not” statements by a certain elected president, does it not?
10. As a result of the gigantic and thorough media coverage of Watergate, student applications to journalism schools reached an all time high in 1974.
11. In order to deflect attention from Watergate, Nixon created a fake conspiracy to cover up the Watergate scandal, which formed in June 1973 and continued to August 1974.
12. During the Watergate investigation, it was learned that a brand new surveillance system had been installed in the Oval Office, the Cabinet Rooms as well as Nixon’s private office located in the Old Executive Building Office.
13. When the investigation learned of the audio tapes that existed and automatically recorded everything in the Oval Office, they were immediately subpoenaed; Nixon refused to turn over the tapes.
14. Archibald Cox, the special investigative prosecutor for the Watergate investigation, was fired from his position by Nixon. Responding to public allegations of wrongdoing after the termination, Nixon gave his famous “I am not a crook” speech.
15. During the grand jury indictment of seven for Presidential aides, the grand jury secretly named Nixon an “unindicted co-conspirator”.
16. In December of 1973, the Watergate investigative authorities discovered an 18 ½ minute portion of a recorded tape and been erased buy Nixon’s personal secretary Rose Mary Woods. She denied it, but forensic analysis in 2003 determined that she had done it intentionally.
17. The following is a quote from the “smoking gun tape”, the tape that effectively guaranteed Nixon’s impeachment:
“…the Democratic break-in thing, we’re back to the–in the, the problem area because the FBI is not under control, because Gray doesn’t exactly know how to control them, and they have… their investigation is now leading into some productive areas […] and it goes in some directions we don’t want it to go.”
Up to this point, Nixon had effectively denied all involvement in Watergate.
18. The security guard that discovered the break in, Frank Wills, portrayed himself in the movie “All the President’s Men” (1976), the movie docu-thriller of Watergate.
19. Nixon maintained his innocence until his death in 1994.
20. To this day, although it is largely assumed that Nixon initiated the original burglary, Watergate is unsolved.