The Watergate Scandal: Distrust of the White House and Governmental Organizations

On July 17,1972 burglars connected to Richard Nixon’s re-election campaign were arrested after breaking into the office of the Democratic National Committee at the Watergate Complex. Their goal was to steal documents, wiretap phones and other illegal acts. 

Nixon denied the affair was connected to him. His story was believed by the American people and Nixon was re-elected to office by a landslide, winning 60% of the popular and 520 electoral college votes. 

There was one faithless elector, Roger MacBride, of Virgina who cast his ballot for the Libertarian ballot of Hospers/Nathan, marking the first electoral college vote cast for a practicing Jew and woman (Toni Nathan). 

After evidence was brought to light by Washington Post reporters, Nixon resigned in August 1974.  The reporters were leaked information by whistleblower ‘Deepthroat’.

Deep Throat’s identity was maintained in secrecy for over 30 years. In 2005, Deep Throat was revealed to be W. Mark Felt, Associate Director of the FBI. Mark Felt revealed a world of Presidential Powers oversteps, including wiretaps, burglary and money laundering (funds to pay for the operatives conducting the breakin were transferred from Nixon’s re-election campaign, through a Mexican bank).

Mark Felt was no freedom fighter, however, and his motives to turn informant included spitefulness of being passed over for the #1 job at the FBI, in favor of another Nixon loyalist who worked to block the FBI Investigation of the Watergate breakin.

Conclusion: Presidential powers are increasingly likely to be abused, and we cannot trust the Justice Department, FBI or even the CIA to keep abusive President’s in check, as the leaders of these organizations are appointed by the President themselves. 
As discussed in the earlier section of this podcast in reference to the Royal Governors, when such power is concentrated in one person, who appoints those who are supposed to provide oversight ensuring that the law is followed, the government is fundamentally flawed and the rights of citizens are taken away. To have a system in place that relies upon the integrity of an individual, against the awesome power of a sitting US President, is hopelessly optimistic. We must address how political appointees are monitored to make sure that they are not breaking US laws in the process of conducting their duties.

Further Evidence:

June 1975, The Rockefeller Commission uncovered the illegal activities of the CIA, including:

  • Large scale and illegal spying on American Citizens in the US
  • Intercepting and opening mail
  • Illegal wiretaps and break ins
  • Infiltration of domestic dissident groups

April, 1976, The Church committee highlighted the following illegal programs, including:

  • A CIA biological agents program, whereby the CIA intentionally disobeyed direct orders from the President, and in violation of international treaties, continued to store illegal items including:
    • Toxin weapons such as cobra venom, and paralytic shellfish poisons found in a storage room in the Ft. Detrick Army Biological Agents Lab
    • Suicide pills intented to replace the standard issue cyanide capsules used by agents as a final evasion to capture. This was the alleged purpose of the shellfish toxin, and allegedly the only time it was used was by Gary Powers during his U-2 flight over Soviet airspace. He was issued a deadly needle hidden within a coin. When Powers’ plane was shot down by a Soviet Ground to Air Missile, and Power’s parachuted into the hands of the Soviets, he choose to not use his suicide pill, or self destruct the plane. Instead, the incident became an international embarrassment for President Eisenhower, and the United States, when the cover story was proved wrong by the Soviets who recovered evidence from the plane.
    • A device named a Microbionoculator, which was a dart that could be used to deliver a lethal biological agent, and would be difficult to detect later during examination
    • Dart launchers to deliver biologic agents and incapacitate guard dogs and humans (temporarily). 
    • Hallucinogens, narcotics,  riot control agents (such as tear gas and mace), herbicides and animal control materials.
    • The ability to transmit the bacteria causing tuberculosis to a target
    • The CIA claimed that the President’s orders were not followed out of decisions made by by low level personnel, and that higher ranked middle managers had no knowledge that the illicit items were retained in a storage closet.
  • A White House domestic surveillance program initiated by President Nixon on June 5, 1970 to get better information on political dissenters of the Vietnam war. Options developed by J. Edgar Hoover, head of the FBI,  and Richard Helms of the CIA were recommended by White House aid Tom Charles Huston to the President. Recommendations included programs that violated the civil liberties of American Citizens.
    • The Huston Plan would enable the Federal Government to reach all the way to, “every mailbox, every college campus, every telephone, every home”
    • 5 days after it was approved, the President revoked its approval based upon the advice of the FBI Director and Attorney General, however, intelligence agencies paid no attention to the President’s directives.
  • Illegal IRS intelligence activities:
    • Citizens furnish their most private information to the IRS, and further, the IRS can collect more information when conducting an audit without a subpoena, and seize property or money. With such great powers, that possibility to abuse them increase substantially and can be misused to accomplish goals outside of the IRS’s duty to insure everyone pays the correct tax. The Church Committee found
      • The IRS Special Service Staff investigated political activists.
      • IRS investigations of anti-IRS groups, and groups with extremist views and philosophies, anti-draft groups, including those that organize May Day deminstrations, sales of firearms to the IRA, Arab terrorist groups, and those that travel to Cuba, North Vietnam and Algeria in violation of existing acts and those that resist authority by encouraging armed services members to defect to the enemy.
      • IRS investigations of “Rock Festivals”
      • Included on the IRS investigations list were:
        • Nobel Laureate Linus Pauling
        • Mayor John Lindsay
        • US Senators Charles Goodell and Earnest Gruening
        • Congressman Charles Diggs
        • Writer Jimmy Breslin
        • James Brown
        • Shirley McClaine
        • Jesse Jackson
      • As part of its improper investigations, the IRS intercepted mail and communications without probable cause, used paid informants with the object of finding something of interest.
  • The FBI’s program to disrupt the civil rights and anti-Vietnam War movement, known as COINTELPRO
    • The FBI’s illegal activities first came to light as a result of a break in to an FBI office in Media, PA by the Citizens Commission to Investigate the FBI on March 8, 1971. The group sent copies of the files to certain individuals in Congress, and newspapers.
    • The documents highlighted orders from the FBI Commissioner, Herbert Hoover, to infiltrate and spy on student groups, civil rights activists and war resisters.

Conclusion: Governmental intelligence agencies, including the FBI, CIA as well as the IRS and USPS, engaged in illegal activities that deprived US Citizens of their rights. When Governmental agencies ignore the law, direct orders of the President and mislead Congress, distrust of Government is deepened.

© 2022, Paul Kristoffer

Music by Zapsplat

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I want to help the world to discuss the most critical issues of our time with civility, respect and lead to a new understanding.

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