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18 1/2 Minute Gap in Watergate Tape to Remain Mystery

Gor­don Nov­el in his youth

Richard Nixon

COMMENT: It turns out that the high-tech efforts by inves­ti­ga­tors to restore the mate­r­i­al lost in an 18 1/2 minute gap in one of Nixon’s Water­gate tapes have failed. We will nev­er know, for sure, what was in that sec­tion of tape.

One of the cen­tral con­sid­er­a­tions in ana­lyz­ing Water­gate is the assas­si­na­tion of Pres­i­dent Kennedy–what was referred to as “the whole Bay of Pigs thing” in the Nixon White House. Mis­cel­la­neous Archive Show M59 cov­ers this in detail, as do sev­er­al of the inter­views with Russ Bak­er, the author of Fam­i­ly of Secrets.

In FTR #253, we exam­ined efforts to recruit the enig­mat­ic, for­mi­da­ble Gor­don Nov­el to study the fea­si­bil­i­ty of eras­ing the Water­gate tapes. (Nov­el is a vet­er­an U.S. intel­li­gence offi­cer who was a focal point of Jim Gar­rison’s inves­ti­ga­tion in New Orleans.)

“The 18 1/2 Minute Gap in Water­gate Tape Remains Lost to His­to­ry after High-Tech Detec­tive Work” [AP];  The Wash­ing­ton Post; 6/16/2011.

EXCERPT: High-tech detec­tive work has failed to solve a puz­zle from the Water­gate scan­dal that destroyed Richard Nixon’s pres­i­den­cy.

Foren­sic sci­en­tists assem­bled by the Nation­al Archives have been exam­in­ing two pages of notes from a June 1972 White House meet­ing, look­ing for clues about what was said dur­ing an 18 1/2‑minute gap in a record­ing of the ses­sion.

They explored impres­sions in the paper, ana­lyzed ink and hoped to find evi­dence of miss­ing notes on the con­ver­sa­tion between Nixon and aide H.R. Halde­man.

But the archives said Thurs­day the effort didn’t unrav­el the mys­tery. . . .


Discussion

3 comments for “18 1/2 Minute Gap in Watergate Tape to Remain Mystery”

  1. No doubt that the details of 11/22/1963 was the only rea­son for this. There was noth­ing more at that point of the Water­gate inves­ti­ga­tion that would have made Nixon look any worse. Ford was in place as VP with the intent of grant­i­ng Nixon a full par­don on Water­gate, so there was noth­ing else about the Water­gate break in or cov­er up that would have out­raged the pub­lic on Nixon any more than they were already. There­fore, one must ask, what was so dark about that 18 min­utes that lead to Rose­mary Woods eras­ing the con­tents? I am not sug­gest­ing at all that this would make Nixon look bad, I am sug­gest­ing that Nixon was prob­a­bly shocked and scared by the con­tents of the con­ver­sa­tion and he may have felt that nation­al secu­ri­ty would have been at risk if the truth about JFK’s mur­der came out at that time.

    Posted by Mick | February 6, 2012, 6:09 am
  2. @Mick: Per­haps so. Frankly, I can’t help but won­der if you may be right, that Nixon may have actu­al­ly been rather con­cerned about the con­tents of that tape and the pos­si­ble repre­cus­sions it might have on him if they were to remain intact. We may nev­er know now, but per­haps maybe not all hope is lost. Per­haps a full tran­script exists some­where.........

    Posted by Steven L. | February 7, 2012, 5:10 am
  3. Remem­ber how Michele Bach­mann recent­ly sud­den­ly announced that she won’t be seek­ing reelec­tion and includ­ed in her farewell video ref­er­ences to the var­i­ous staffer inves­ti­ga­tions that she assured us had noth­ing to do with her res­ig­na­tion? Well...there’s anoth­er staffer inves­ti­ga­tion...

    The Hill
    Bach­mann aide arrest­ed in con­nec­tion with House office bur­glar­ies
    By Jonathan Easley — 07/15/13 06:44 PM ET

    The U.S. Capi­tol Police (USCP) announced Mon­day it arrest­ed a leg­isla­tive direc­tor for Rep. Michele Bach­mann (R‑Minn.) in con­nec­tion with a string of bur­glar­ies at the Ray­burn House Office Build­ing.

    Police charged Javier Sanchez, 37, with Theft II.

    Ear­li­er this year the Unit­ed States Capi­tol Police was apprised of thefts that occurred in the Ray­burn House Office Build­ing,” spokesper­son Shen­nell Antro told The Hill in a state­ment.

    “The USCP con­duct­ed an inves­ti­ga­tion and were able to iden­ti­fy a sub­ject. The inves­ti­ga­tion result­ed in the arrest of 37 year old Javier Sanchez of Vir­ginia. The arrest took place on 7/11/2013. Sanchez has been charged with Theft II.”

    Dan Kot­man, a spokesman for Bach­m­man, said in email that “as of 7/12/2013, the per­son in ques­tion is no longer with the office. Any fur­ther ques­tions should be direct­ed to Capi­tol Police.”

    ...

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | July 15, 2013, 6:37 pm

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