The Watergate Scandal Book Report

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The Watergate Scandal


The Watergate Scandal

The Watergate Affair, is the worst political scandal in U.S. history. It led to the
resignation of the president, Richard M. Nixon, after he became implicated in an attempt
to cover up the scandal. "The Watergate Affair" refers to the break-in and electronic
bugging

in 1972, of the Democratic National Committee headquarters in the Watergate apartment, and
office building complex in Washington D.C. The term was applied to several related
scandals. More than thirty administration officials, campaign officials, and financial
contributors pleaded guilty or were found guilty of breaking the law. Nixon faced possible
indictment after his resignation, received from his successor, Gerald Ford, a full pardon
for all of his offenses he may or had committed (Branford 2).

In 1971, Nixon created the Special Investigation Unit, know as the "plumbers", their job
was to plug all new leaks. Later that year, his agents broke into the office of Dr. Lewis
Feilding, and Dr. Daniel Ellsberg, who had given copies of the Pentagon Papers, a secret
account of U.S. involvement in Indochina, to newspapers. After Nixon learned of the
break-in, he and his top advisors decided to say that the break-in had been carried out
for naitonal security reasons(Watergate 3). Later in 1971, H.R. Haldeman, Nixon's chief of
staff, was notified by an assistant, Gordon Stachan, that the U.S. Attorney General John
Mitchell and John Dean, counsel to the president, had discussed the need to develop a
"political intelligence capability" at the Committee for Reelection of the President(CRP).
Some of the personnel and tactics identified with the activities became associated with
efforts aimed at the Democrats. In early 1972, Mitchell assumed a new position as director
of the CRP and discussed political espionage plans with Dean. Mitchell also provided the
proposal to break-in to the Watergate(Branford 3). On June 17, 1972, police arrested five
men at the DNC headquarters. The men were adjusting electronic equipment that they had
installed in May. One of the men arrested was James McCord, security coordinator for the
CRP(Watergate 3). Ehrlichman was ordered to destroy incriminating documents and tapes.
Then L. Patrick Gray resigned as acting director of the FBI, later admitting he had
destroyed documents given to him by Ehrlichman and Dean. On June 23, 1972, Nixon learned
about Mitchell's possible link with the operation, and Nixon instructed the FBI to stop
the inquiry into the source of money used by the men who tapped the building. He said that
"the investigation would endanger the CIA operations." Dean and the others subsequently
sought to induce CIA officials to cooperate with this plan. On July 1, Mitchell left the
CRP, citing personal reasons. On August 29, Nixon declared that no one in the
administration, then employed, was involved in the Watergate. Although money found in the
possession of the wire tappers was traced to the CRP, such evidence was insufficient to
implicate high officials. On September 15, only the five men first arrested, plus Liddy
and E. Howard Hunt , one of the plumbers, were indicted (Carson 2).

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