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Essay/Term paper: Watergate

Essay, term paper, research paper:  American History

Free essays available online are good but they will not follow the guidelines of your particular writing assignment. If you need a custom term paper on American History: Watergate, you can hire a professional writer here to write you a high quality authentic essay. While free essays can be traced by Turnitin (plagiarism detection program), our custom written essays will pass any plagiarism test. Our writing service will save you time and grade.

Watergate Affair, the worst political

scandal in U.S. history. It led to the resignation of a

president, Richard M. NIXON, after he became implicated

in an attempt to cover up the scandal. Narrowly,

"Watergate affair"" referred to the break-in and electronic

bugging in 1972 of the DEMOCRATIC National

Committee (DNC) headquarters in the Watergate

apartment and office building complex in Washington, D.C.

Broadly, the term was also applied to several related

scandals. More than 30 Nixon administration officials,

campaign officials, and financial contributors pleaded guilty

or were found guilty of breaking the law. Nixon, facing

possible indictment after his resignation, received from his

successor, Gerald FORD, a full pardon "for all offenses"

which he "has committed or may have committed."

Americans were deeply troubled by the scandal. Attempts

by REPUBLICAN officials to discredit Democratic leaders

and disrupt their campaign threatened the political process.

Electronic surveillance presented a threat to civil liberties.

Abuse of "national security" and "executive privilege" to

thwart the investigation suggested that those concepts

needed more precise definitions. The misuse of large

campaign donations suggested the need for further reform

legislation. The willingness of Nixon and his aides to use the

Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the Internal Revenue

Service (IRS), and the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA)

in unlawful or unethical ways against their "enemies" was a

reckless exploitation of the bureacracy. National Security

The antecedents of Watergate were steps taken by Nixon

from 1969 to 1971 allegedly in the cause of national

security. To uncover the sources of leaked news about

such matters as the bombing of Cambodia, Nixon

authorized, without court approval, the wiretapping of the

phones of government officials and newspapermen. But

some of the men whose phones were wiretapped had no

involvement with security matters, and taps on two men

continued after they had joined the staff of Sen. Edmund

Muskie (D-Me.), who was seeking the Democratic

presidential nomination. In 1971, Nixon approved an

intelligence operation that contemplated burglaries and the

opening of mail to detect security leaks. The author of the

plan, Tom Huston, acknowledged that part of his plan was

"clearly illegal." Nixon revoked the operation after a protest

by FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover. Also in 1971, Nixon

created the Special Investigations Unit -- known as the

"plumbers" to plug news leaks. In September, agents of the

unit broke into the office of Dr. Lewis Fielding, the

psychiatrist of 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 aides agreed to say that the

break-in had been carried out for national-security reasons.

But in 1974, Charles Colson, a former special counsel to

the president, who had pleaded guilty to obstructing justice,

admitted that the agents wanted to find derogatory

information about Ellsberg before Ellsberg's espionage trial.

Colson said that "on numerous occasions" Nixon had urged

him to disseminate such information. Egil Krogh, Jr., head

of the plumbers unit, pleaded guilty to violating Dr.

Fielding's civil rights, saying that he could not in conscience

assert national security as a defense. Colson and Krogh

were imprisoned. Two other persons, including John

Ehrlichman, former chief domestic adviser to Nixon, were

convicted of conspiring to deprive Dr. Fielding of his civil

rights. Ehrlichman, who had approved a "covert entry" into

Dr. Fielding's office, also was imprisoned. The Watergate

Break-in In 1971, H. R. Haldeman, Nixon's chief of staff,

was notified by an assistant, Gordon Strachan, that 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 the

Re-election of the President (CRP). Some of the personnel

and tactics identified with the activities described above

became associated with efforts aimed at the Democrats.

Early in 1972, Mitchell -- both before and after he

assumed his new position as director of CRP -- discussed

political espionage plans with Dean; Jeb Magruder, deputy

director of CRP; and G. Gordon Liddy, counsel to the

Finance Committee to Re-elect the President. Magruder

later testified that on March 30, 1972, Mitchell approved a

proposal by Liddy that included the Watergate break-in.

Mitchell vehemently denied this. Long after the scandal was

revealed, investigators could not determine: (1) who gave

the ultimate order to break into Watergate (2)what the

conspirators hoped to find there. In any event, at 2:30 G 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 those arrested was

James McCord, security coordinator for CRP. Cover-up

Magruder later admitted that he and others began

immediately to cover up WHITE and CRP involvement in

the break-in. He and others destroyed incriminating

documents and testified falsely to official investigators. L.

Patrick Gray later resigned as acting director of the FBI

after admitting that he had destroyed documents given him

by Ehrlichman and Dean. On June 23, 1972, Nixon

learned from Haldeman of Mitchell's possible link with the

operation. Nixon instructed Haldeman to stop an FBI

inquiry into the source of money used by the wiretappers,

using the excuse that the investigation would endanger CIA

operations. Dean and others subsequently sought to induce

CIA officials to cooperate with this plan. On July 1,

Mitchell left CRP, citing personal reasons. 

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