Watergate Scandal Involving Former President Nixon

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Updated: Mar 31, 2023
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Throughout American history, there has been no shortage of scandals among politicians and other public figures recognized in the country. After all, it seems almost as if drama and discourse are growing more and more in our modern version of politics with the introduction of social media; however, Americans cannot forget the 1970s infamous Watergate scandal involving former president Nixon. This scandal took the nation by storm and helped the American people peek into the slowly corrupting world of politics that was now finally showing its true colors to the public.

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Although Nixon was elected in 1969, the real fun didn’t begin until early 1971. Pentagon Papers were exposed, saying that the government had upped the ante and had expanded its efforts in the war in Vietnam. The American public was told otherwise in an attempt to prevent these from being leaked to the public eye, the Nixon Administration. The Whitehouse Plumbers were assembled and tasked with preventing some news outlets from publishing the leaked documents. The group consisted of some very powerful men, including G. Gordon Liddy (a former FBI agent), E. Howard Hunt (a former CIA agent), John Paisley (Former representative of the CIA). Other members include John Ehrlichman, Egil Krogh, and David Young. They worked closely with the main plumbers. But who was their target? Daniel Ellsberg.

The Whitehouse Plumbers set off to find anything they could against Daniel Ellsberg, but to no avail. However, they soon discovered that Ellsberg had been seeing a psychiatrist, but they were unsure what exactly for. With this newfound information, they took it upon themselves to break into the psychiatrist’s office in Los Angeles in an attempt to find any documents that could aid them in their search for dirt. Their overall goal was to make him seem mentally ill as a way to discredit anything he could potentially say about the president and write him off as “unwell.” They were unfortunate enough not to have found anything on him, but in their wake, they left the office phone lines wiretapped in an attempt to gather the information that they may have missed or wasn’t documented. This first break-in was successful.

It didn’t take long for the plumbers to be caught amidst their crimes. About a month later, it was discovered that one of the bugs had been deemed defective, and the Plumbers would have to go back and replace it/ At 2:30 AM, the five men who were attempting to bug the office were caught by security and promptly arrested. They were later identified as Edward Martin, Frank Sturgis, Eugenio R. Martinez, Virgilio R. Gonzales, and Bernard L. Barker. They were charged with felonious burglary and possession of implements of crime. All but one of the five men were held with a $50,000 bail over their heads. There didn’t appear to be any immediate reason as to why these five men were attempting to rob and wire the phones in the facility, which led people to speculate why they did it on their own. Upon further inspection, the police found that many of the taps were stuck under desks and were the size of a silver dollar, more or less. They found where doors were attempted to be forcefully opened and discovered that at least one of the arrested men had actually registered as a guest at the Watergate hotel once upon a time.

Within the next day, the news of the break-in had reached the public via the Washinton Post via Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein. The story was put on the front page. They linked the crime to the Committee to Re-Elect the President (the CREEP, or CRP) as one of the men arrested, James McCord, was the committee security coordinator. The police left Woodward with a new bit of information; the burglars had left behind two address books and checks from Howard Hunt in their hotel room. Some documents were found that caused Woodward to link it directly to the white house as well.

He managed to get in contact with Howard Hunt, which proved to be more fruitful than he had thought. Within the next day, Woodward publicly linked the break-in to Hunt. Nixon was absolutely appalled to see that one of his closest aides had been linked to the burglary. Nixon considered members of the press to be some of his political enemies as a result of the news reaching American citizens. The Whitehouse wrote off the break-in as “3rd Rate Burglary”. However, the president’s aides were worried that the press would see through their claims and dig deeper into the scandal. Nixon took it upon himself to publicly question those involved in an attempt to veer the press off the tracks of what had truly happened. In less than three weeks, the scandal seemed to have mysteriously disappeared from the media. 

On July 10th, the lookout during the break-in, Alfred Baldwin, revealed that he attempted to receive advice from the re-election committee on what to do but did not receive a response. As a result, he decided to come clean as he had been “disowned by the committee.”

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Watergate Scandal Involving Former President Nixon. (2023, Mar 27). Retrieved from https://papersowl.com/examples/watergate-scandal-involving-former-president-nixon/