Watergate



Watergate Scandal
By: Dave

Introduction Watergate was the name of the biggest political scandal in United States history. It included various illegal activities constructed to help President Richard Nixon win reelection in the 1972 presidential elections. Watergate included burglary, wire tapping, violations of campaign financing laws, and sabotage and attempted use of government agencies to harm political opponents. It also involved a cover-up of conduct. There were about 40 people charged with crimes in the scandal and related crimes. Most of them were convicted by juries or pleaded guilty. Watergate involved more high-level government officials than any previous scandal. It led to the conviction of former Attorney General John Mitchell and two of Nixon\'s top aides, John Erlichmen and H.R. Haldeman, in 1975. Former Secretary of Commerce Maurice H. Stans, a leader of Nixon\'s reelection campaign pleaded guilty to Watergate criminal charges and was fined $5000. Watergate also resulted in the resignation of Attorney General Richard Kleindienst in 1973. The Beginning Watergate really began in 1969 when the White House staff made up a list of enemies. This so-called "enemies list" was kept of people the president\'s men wanted retribution on. Nixon had adversaries which included 200 liberal politicians, journalists, and actors. When people made public speeches against Vietnam, agents found out secret information about them that would harm them. The Nixon campaign routinely engaged in unethical "dirty tricks." These deceptions were led by White House staffers Charles Colson, Special Counsel to the President; Deputy Campaign Director of the Committee to Re-elect the President (CRP) Jeb Magruder; Dwight Chapin, Deputy Assistant to the President; and Donald Segretti, an attorney. These corrupt antics included following Democratic political candidates, assembling reports on their personal lives, forged letters on candidates\' letterheads, altering schedules of campaign appearances, placing harassing phone calls, and manufacturing false information then leaking it to the press. The goal of these tricks was to help eliminate the strongest candidates from the Democratic primaries. In New Hampshire the campaign of front runner, Senator Edmund Muskie of Maine was ruined. False rumors were circulated to newspapers. The day before election s Muskie lashed out at the press. This damaged Muskie\'s even-tempered reputation and contributed to his failure to win the 1972 Democratic nomination for the president. Special Investigations Unit The Special Investigations Unit, better known as the "plumbers unit," was created as a result of the Pentagon Papers being leaked to the New York Times in June of 1971. The Pentagon Papers were secret defense department documents on the American involvement in the Vietnam War. They revealed a pattern of government deception related to Vietnam. The Papers were leaked to the New York Times by Dr. Daniel Ellsberg, who worked on the staff of the National Security Adviser, Henry Kissinger. The Nixon administration responded by stopping publication of the papers and charging Ellsberg with espionage. The plumbers were to block news leaks and control public knowledge of Vietnam policy. President Richard Nixon ordered domestic policy advisor, John Erlichman, to streamline leak plugging by creating this plumbers unit. Erlichman\'s deputy, Egil Krogh, Jr. and David Young, a member of the National Security Council staff, hired former FBI agent G. Gordon Liddy and former CIA operative E. Howard Hunt to run their illegal secret operation. Plumbers set wiretaps, opened mail, and conducted break-ins in order to gain information about leaking. They targeted political enemies of the Nixon administration for harassment. Ellsberg was at the top of that list. In September of 1971, the plumbers unit broke into the office of Dr. Lewis Fielding, Ellsberg\'s psychiatrist. They wanted to find degrading information about Ellsberg before his espionage trial. The case against Ellsberg was dismissed because of this burglary. The Break-In On June 17, 1972, five men were arrested for breaking into the offices of the Democratic National Committee at the Watergate complex in Washington, D.C. The men were adjusting electronic equipment that they had installed in May. The police apprehended a walkie talkie, forty rolls of unexposed film, two 35 millimeter cameras, lock picks, pen-sized teargas guns, and bugging devices. Four of the men who were arrested came from Miami, Florida. They were Bernard Barker, Frank Sturgis, Virgillio Gonzalez, and Eugenio Martinez. The other man was James McCord, security coordinator for CRP. The two co-plotters were Gordon Liddy