Watergate was one of the greatest scandals which happened during the presidency of Richard Nixon. The scandal started when five men were arrested for burglary when tried to break into the Democratic National Committee headquarters of Watergate complex on June 17, 1972. These men were the “Plumbers”, former members of secret agencies.
The story began with the former defense analyst Daniel Ellsberg, who was disappointed with the progress of the Vietnam War. He believed that the public should know about the facts of the Vietnam War. Daniel Ellsberg, therefore, handed over the Pentagon papers to the Washington Post, who refused to publish the content of the document. Daniel Ellsberg now approached the Newyork Times and they began to publish the matter. Many people in the administration did not like this publication including President Richard Nixon. When the President found that he was unable to stop the publication of the Pentagon papers, he turned towards other direction for help. The next step would be to discredit Daniel Ellsberg who had handed over the papers for publication to Newyork Times. The secret group who fixed the leaks in the administration, Plumbers, was given the charge to break open Ellensburg’s psychiatrist’s office to find out anything against him.
The secret organization who worked against Ellensburg was given another charge during the next year to derail the Democratic ticket. When they tried to break into DNC office, the security personal that was in charge noticed this and they were arrested for trying to bug the office. Enquiry by the FBI brought to light the role of Nixon’s staff and that these secret men were associated with the Nixon’s committee to Re-elect the President. During the congressional investigation, it was revealed that white house had hand in the matter. It was found that listening devices were fixed in the oval office
John Mitchell was the Attorney General and later in 1972 was appointed as the Director of the Committee to Re-elect the President (CREEP). Gordon Liddy, the member of the Special Investigation group (SIG) presented an action plan to Mitchell known as the Operation Gemstone. Mitchell cut down the expense of the plan to $25, 000 aimed at intelligence gathering against the Democratic Party. They decided to fix listening devices at the office of the Democratic Party. Mitchell resigned from CREEP in 1972 as a result of the Watergate Scandal.
During the Operation Gemstone, Gordon Liddy wanted to place listening devices of the Democratic campaign offices in order to tap the phone calls of the Chairman, Larry O’Brien. Liddy appointed James McCord and his team to do this. McCord and his team were able to place electronic devices in the telephones of Larry O’Brien.
When Richard Nixon, the Republican President was re-reelected in 1972, Washington post claimed that Nixon’s officials were involved in the scandal. FBI director Patrick Gray testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee regarding his appointment as the Director of FBI in place of Edgar Hoover. He admitted that he had discussed the investigation matters with John Dean. The nomination of Gray failed and it was clear that John Dean tried to hide the matter from the public.
When the scandal became public, Nixon dismissed John Dean and accepted the resignations of H. R. Haldeman and John Ehrlichman.
The Watergate scandal was followed by the senate investigations in 1973. In July, it was revealed to the Senate that Nixon had placed advanced electronic systems to bug the conversations of the oval office. When the Senate committee and Special Prosecutor requested Nixon to hand over the tapes, it was objected on the basis of executive privileges. As the case become strong, pressure began to mount on the President. Nixon decided to fire the Special Public Persecutor Archibald Cox. Nixon called upon the Attorney General, Elliot Richardson to fire Cox, but he refused to do so. Nixon then sought the help of the Assistant Attorney General but he also refused. Finally, Nixon fired Cox but found himself under mounding pressure to appoint a new Public Prosecutor. Nixon tried to delay the handing over the tapes by saying many excuses. One excuse was that the key tape had a gap of 18 ½ minutes. When Nixon continued to refuse to hand over the original tapes to the prosecutors, the new Public Prosecutor had no other way other than to declare Nixon as obstructing the justice in the Watergate scandal.
Nixon continued to obstruct the investigations by refusing to hand over the original tapes by citing the executive privileges. During this period, the Supreme Court intervened on the matter. The Supreme Court turned down the arguments of the President and instructed him to immediately hand over the tapes. When Nixon again refused to do so, the House of Representatives voted to impeach the President. Nixon realized that there was no other way but to resign. On August 8, 1974 Nixon submitted his resignation from the Presidency. He became the first American President to resign. Gerald Ford, the Vice President became the next President of United States. Richard Nixon was the 37th President of United States. He was the only President who resigned from the office. He had to submit resignation due to his involvement in the Watergate scandal.
HR Haldman was the Chief of Staff of the Presidential campaign. In return, the President appointed Haldman as the Chief of Staff. When the Watergate scandal became public, Haldaman tried his best to cover it up. President demanded him to submit his resignation. Later he was pardoned by the President but he was convicted for the cover up of the Watergate scandal.
John Ehrlichman was the Presidential Assistant for domestic affairs. Ehrlichman knew very well of the plans to break into the office of Daniel Ellsberg’s psychiatrist. He approved the plans of the “Plumbers” to discredit the political enemies of Nixon. During the investigation, Ehrilchman tried to cover up the matters, but Nixon forced him to resign. Later he was convicted for cover up, obstruction of justice and perjury.
Richard Gordon Kleindienst was at first appointed as the Assistant Attorney general and later promoted to the post of Attorney General under Nixon administration. When burglars were arrested he was asked by Gordon Liddy to release the burglars. Kleindienst refused to do so. Liddy also told him that the origin of the operation was white house but he failed to report his confession. Eventhough, Kleindienst resigned his post, he was convicted of perjury by the court.
Archibald Cox was appointed as the Special Prosecutor to investigate the Watergate scandal. During the investigation, the Senate Committee and Cox requested the President to hand over the tapes. Nixon refused to hand over it citing the executive privilege. During this period, Cox appealed the case to the Supreme Court. When the pressure to hand over the tapes was increased due to Cox, President fired him from the post.
Edward Howard Hunt was working with the CIA. After his retirement, he was appointed as a staff in the white house. He became a member of the Special Investigations Group (SIG). The group was known as the “Plumbers.” During the 1971, the burglary was planned and executed by Hunt and Gordon Liddy. The Watergate investigators found the phone number of Edward Hunt in the book of the burglars. Hunt threatened to divulge the details of the Watergate Scandal. Later Howard Hunt accepted his guilt and he was sentenced to 33 months in prison.
Gordon Liddy was the white house staff and later became the member of the Special Investigations Group. When the SIG was concerned at the activities of Ellsberg, Liddy and Hunt gad planned the burglary to discredit Ellsberg.
John Dean was working under Nixon administration as counsel to the President. During the investigation, FBI director Patrick Gray testified before the Senate Judicial Committee that he had discussed the investigation matter with Dean. It was clear that Dean tried to cover up the scandal.
John Mitchell was the Attorney General and later in 1972 was appointed as the Director of the Committee to Re-elect the President (CREEP). Gordon Liddy, the member of the Special Investigation group (SIG) presented an action plan to Mitchell known as the Operation Gemstone. Mitchell cut down the expense of the plan to $25, 000 aimed at intelligence gathering against the Democratic Party. They decided to fix listening devices at the office of the Democratic Party. Mitchell resigned from CREEP in 1972 as a result of the Watergate Scandal. Mitchell was convicted of obstruction of Justice and conspiracy.
In 1972, James McCord was appointed as the Security Director of CREEP. At the instance of Gordon Liddy, he broke into the offices of Democratic Party and placed bugs in the telephones of the Chairman of the Democratic Party, Larry O’ Brien. The second attempt to break into the Democratic office premises was a failure. They were arrested by the police.
Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein were journalists who investigated the Watergate scandal. Woodward had a government source known as “Deep Throat”. With the help of the Deep throat, he was able to reveal the Watergate scandal. Deep throat was Mark Felt, the mysterious FBI source who helped Washington Post to uncover the abuses of President Nixon.
The long term effects of these types of break-ins are that people will loose belief in the political parties and their agendas. It also reveals the necessarily to put everyone under the purview of law regardless of his position.
Yes, it is right on the part of the Nixon to resign. No political leader could remain in office based on the moral grounds. If Nixon did not resign, it would have ended in impeachment