The Stains of Watergate

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On June 17, 1972, security guard Frank Wills became a national hero. At twenty four years old, he was working the midnight shift at the Democratic National Committee (DNC) headquarters at the Watergate complex in Washington, D.C. He discovered tape over a basement door lock and thinking none of it, he removed the tape. On another inspection round, he found the lock taped over again and called the police. They locked the doors, turned off the elevators, and started checking darkened offices. At 2:30 a.m. on the 6th floor of the Watergate complex, the police discovered five men who were identified as the Plumbers Unit on orders by The Committee to Re-elect the President (CREEP) to burglarize the DNC. The men, one who was an ex-CIA agent, were convicted of conspiracy, burglary, and illegal wiretapping. However, what started as a third-rate burglary unravelled into a broad network of political corruption and espionage within the Nixon administration that became known as Watergate. Before the summer of 1972, the term “Watergate” meant nothing more than a luxurious complex in Washington, D.C., but because five highly cunning men were somehow caught by an average, $80-per-week security guard, it became associated with the greatest political scandal of the century and many more after that. The Watergate scandal proliferated public skepticism of and mistrust in the federal government, and an angry American public called for immediate response. The widespread public mistrust and

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