The Political Disaster of Watergate Essay

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The political disaster of Watergate in the early 1970s marked the first time a president resigned. Essentially, it began when a former Marine, Daniel Ellsberg, who no longer supported war in Vietnam, leaked an analysis of American involvement there to The New York Times, starting in 1971. President Richard Nixon, a very private man, demanded that these Pentagon Papers be kept secret in order to prevent the public from finding out exactly what was going on. The scandal that followed ruined Nixon and led Americans to be more critical of the politicians they put in power and to question their leadership. Nixon wanted to prevent news articles from being published about the papers and their conclusions for reasons of “national security”. He is…show more content…
His identity was not revealed until 2005 , although there had been many suspicions. He told the reporters about the federal government’s role in the cover-up of the scandal. Woodward was able to discover, through conversations with CREEP employees, that $70,000 of funds had been used as payoffs to the burglars. In March 1973, one of the burglars and a former CIA agent James McCord, reported a list of those in the government who were involved with the break-in and cover-up. Two of them were John Dean, who had been previously mentioned by FBI Director L. Patrick Gray, and Jeb Magruder, who had been involved with Nixon’s campaign. The Los Angeles Times and The Washington Post both ran the story, facing lawsuits from Dean’s lawyer. Dean testified that Nixon knew about the cover-up, and then Nixon refused to appear before the Senate Judicial Committee based on executive privilege, which allows officials to keep information private if releasing it would disrupt the function of the government. He had previously said that he would not invoke executive privilege. In the court case, one of Nixon’s aides testified that there was a taping system in the Oval Office that the president used to record all his conversations. Immediately afterwards, Nixon had the recorder removed, and refused to submit the existing tapes as evidence. On August 15,

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