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Behind The Watergate Scandal Essay

1128 words - 5 pages

On June 17, 1972, five burglars broke into the offices of the Democratic National Committee located inside the Watergate Hotel in Washington. Frank Wills, a night security guard, discovered that the break-in was occurring. “Several office doorknob cylinders were covered with masking tape to hold the doors open”(McConnell 11). As soon as Wills made this discovery, he telephoned the police. The five burglars, carrying electronic gear and photographic equipment, were arrested on site at 2:30 A.M. They were suspected of illegal wire tapping. This series of arrests sparked the beginning of what came to be known as the Watergate Scandal. The Watergate Scandal caused several events to occur such as a huge investigation, Nixon winning the reelection, and the first and only U.S. president to resign.
At 3:30 P.M. on June 17, 1972, the five suspects were led into the courtroom to begin their case. The burglars were Bernald L. Baker, Virgilio R. Gonzales, Eugenio R. Martinez, James W. McCord, Jr., and Frank A. Sturgis. “The tallest of the suspects, who had given his name as James W. McCord, Jr. was asked to step forward”(Bernstein 18). The judge asked him what his occupation was. McCord said that he was a security consultant that had recently retired from the CIA; however, he was actually the security coordinator of the Committee to Reelect the President (CRP). John Mitchell, director of the Committee to Reelect the President, provided a statement saying that McCord and the other suspects were not operating on either the CPR’s behalf or with their consent.
The Democratic National Committee requested the Federal Bureau of Investigation to open an investigation on the break-in, which led to the indictment of Richard Nixon’s White House aides, G. Gordon Liddy and E. Howard Hunt, on June 19, 1972. Bob Woodard and Carl Bernstein, reporters from the Washington Post whom had began searching for facts surrounding the break-in, revealed that a $25,000 cashier’s check that should have been deposited into the fund for Nixon’s reelection campaign was diverted to the bank account of one of the Watergate burglars on August 1, 1972. The reporters also revealed that John Mitchell had controlled a secret fund for financing political spying and dirty tricks to weed out the presidential candidates of the Democratic Party. Due to those dirty tactics, Nixon was reelected on November 7, 1972. “However, on February 7, 1973, with questions still remaining regarding the president’s knowledge of the Watergate affair, the Senate voted to establish the Senate Watergate Committee, which was charged with investigating the extent of campaign abuses in the 1972 presidential election”(McConnell 12). McCord, under oath before the Senate Watergate Committee, testified that Jeb Magruder, former Nixon aide, and White House counsel John Dean both were aware of the plans to bug the headquarters of the Democratic National Committee. He also stated Mitchell had approved the plans. FBI Director...

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