The Watergate Scandal

The Watergate Scandal

The Watergate scandal was a political scandal that took place during the early 1970’s after five men broke into the Democratic National Committee (DNC) headquarters in the capital (Caniano, 2007). The five men broke into the Watergate complex with the intention of wiretapping phones and stealing documents therefrom so as to use them to secure president Nixon’s reelection as president of the United States (Caniano, 2007). In the wake of a hostile political climate that was partly as a result of the Vietnam War that the US was involved in, it seemed to some that a forceful presidential campaign was required in order to secure the presidency (history.com, 2018). With the help of President Nixon, members of the committee to reelect the president actively took part in burglaries by attempting to wiretap phones and steal documents from various offices in the Watergate complex (history.com).

The plumbers were individuals who were responsible for the burglaries (Caniano, 2007). Among other things, the plumbers burglarized the offices of Ellsberg’s psychiatrist (Caniano, 2007). Daniel Ellsberg had been involved in leaking classified information to the press; including the Pentagon Papers (Caniano, 2007). During that burglary, they hoped to find something that would discredit Ellsberg (Caniano, 2007). Their attempt in this regard failed. They were also meant to prevent the leaking of classified information to the press, but they to an extent also failed in this (Caniano, 2007). 

‘Deep throat’ was a pseudo name for the individual who secretly acted as an informant during the Watergate scandal. His name was Mark Felt. He was an FBI agent who provided the Washington Post with classified information which lead to a groundbreaking coverage regarding the Watergate scandal (Caniano, 2007). The information he provided was pivotal in determining the perpetrators of the Watergate scandal, as well as the allies thereto.

Although it is quite arguable that President Nixon did not actively participate in planning and executing the Watergate scandal, the contention is that he was involved in cover-ups afterwards which amounted to obstruction of justice (Caniano, 2007). Based on the evidence of a wire-tapped conversation, it was apparent that he lied to the FBI so as to prevent them from investigating his staff. He also approved funds issued to the Watergate conspirators (Caniano, 2007).

The importance of the Watergate scandal is that the American people became more particular about being aware of the conduct of their leaders. The role of the media in checking the government also became very apparent.

References

Caniano, W. (2007). The Powers That Be: America’s Dirtiest Secrets. PublishAmerica Baltimore.

History.com. (2018). The Watergate Scandal. Retrieved from

https://www.history.com/topics/1970s/watergate