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The Watergate Scandal - Essay Example

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The Watergate Complex includes several administrative and hotel building located on the Potomac River in Washington, D.C., but unlike hundreds other complexes of similar caliber the Watergate is known to almost any adult citizen in the US and abroad…
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The Watergate Scandal
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Download file to see previous pages The Watergate Complex includes several administrative and hotel building located on the Potomac River in Washington, D.C., but unlike hundreds other complexes of similar caliber the Watergate is known to almost any adult citizen in the US and abroad. In fact, the event was so important that the term 'Watergate' is more commonly associated with a series of political scandals that culminated in constitutional crisis than with the hotel. The Watergate Scandal occurred during the presidency of Richard Nixon and began with arrest of five burglars at the Watergate hotel complex in Washington, D.C. and ultimately resulted in dramatic resignation of President Nixon on the 9th of August, 1974.In the months preceding the Watergate break-in, Nixon and his administration had been extremely preoccupied with their public image, and took every possible step to avoid negative publicity. The preoccupation was reasonable: Nixon's policies regarding the Vietnam War generated much criticism, and the leaking of the documents concerning the US involvement in the Vietnam War submitted to the New York Times by Daniel Ellsberg in 1971 only fueled the criticism (Bernstein and Woodward 165).In order to prevent further leaks, Nixon established a special unit nicknamed the "Plumbers". The unit led by G. Gordon Liddy and E. Howard Hunt (both of them were close to Nixon) took advantage of the situation to get involved in investigation of the private lives Nixon's critics justifying their actions with national security consideration. Evidently, the true motives underlying many actions of the Plumbers had more to do with protecting the President's public image from criticism and preparing the base for the forthcoming elections (Bernstein and Woodward 207).
The Committee to Re-Elect the President (CREEP) was established in 1972 and in December the same year G. Gordon Liddy, one of the Plumbers, was appointed as general counsel to the Committee. This appointment made CREEP a powerful weapon in the hands of Nixon with Liddy behind most of CREEP's activities. In 1972, Liddy designed a serious intelligence operation against the Democrats. One of the steps within the framework of that operation was a small-scale burglary of the Democratic National Headquarters in the Watergate office complex (Westerfeld 35).
On June 17, 1972, five burglars were arrested by police inside the Democratic National Headquarters in the Watergate office building in Washington DC. Four of the burglars were Cuban anti-Communists and one White House employee: they were caught during an attempt to bug the office. The Washington police convicted James McCord, Virgilo Gonzalez, Bernard Barker, Eugenio Martinez, and Frank Sturgis of 2nd degree burglary (WHT 820). The burglars had an impressive amount of tools and materials, namely a walkie-talkie, two 35-millimeter cameras, lock picks, pen-size teargas guns, advanced bugging devices, and 40 rolls of unexposed film. Besides, they also had $14,000 in hundred dollar bills that could be traced directly to CREEP (Bernstein and Woodward, 15-16). Therefore, it immediately became clear that those people had links to Nixon's Committee to Re-Elect the President. Thus, McCord was a former CIA officer employed by the CREEP as a security director.
However, despite charges filed against Liddy and Hunt for their role in organization of the burglary no serious damage was done to CREEP's reputation. There were at least two reasons for that: firstly, the information disclosed at that moment was too incomplete which resulted in huge underestimation of CREEP's role; secondly, Nixon's leading positions during the pre-election period allowed him to successfully avoid any further investigations and accusations at that time (Westerfeld 45).
Nixon read about the break-in on the 18 of June and the whole thing seemed so weird to him that he did not believe it and initially dismissed it as a political trick (Nixon 625-626). Charles Colson, a ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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