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Watergate Chronology


John Simkin
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I thought it might be useful to add a Watergate Chronology to the forum. Please feel free to add other relevant events to this list. I think a full chronology will give us a better understanding of the subject. I am especially interested at looking at the role the CIA played in these events.

Watergate

9th September, 1971: John N. Mitchell and Gordon Liddy organizes the break-in of a psychiatrist's office to find files on Daniel Ellsberg.

20th March, 1971: Frederick LaRue and Gordon Liddy attend a meeting of the Committee to Re-Elect the President (CREEP) where it was agreed to spend $250,000 "intelligence gathering" operation against the Democratic Party.

8th May, 1972: Gordon Liddy and E. Howard Hunt arrange for the "Plumbers Unit" to install bugging equipment in the office at the Democratic National Committee headquarters at the Watergate Hotel.

17th June, 1972: Frank Sturgis, Virgilio Gonzalez, Eugenio Martinez, Bernard L. Barker and James W. McCord are arrested at 2.30am during a break-in at the Watergate Hotel.

19th June, 1972: Richard Helms, Cord Meyer and William Colby meet to discuss possible CIA involvement in the Watergate break-in.

19th June, 1972: Bob Woodward has his first meeting with Deep Throat.

6th July, 1972: Richard Helms informs the FBI that the CIA will not be damaged by a full investigation into the Watergate break-in.

1st August , 1972: The Washington Post reports that a $25,000 cashier's check intended for the the Committee to Reelect the President (CREEP) has been found in the bank account of a Watergate burglar.

30th August, 1972: Richard Nixon announces that John Dean had conducted an investigation into the Watergate affair and found that no-one from the White House was involved.

15th September, 1972: The first indictments in Watergate are made against: Frank Sturgis, Virgilio Gonzalez, Eugenio Martinez, Bernard L. Barker, James W. McCord, E. Howard Hunt and Gordon Liddy.

29th September, 1972: Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein of the Washington Post report that John N. Mitchell, while serving as Attorney-General, controlled a secret Republican fund used to finance widespread intelligence-gathering operations against the Democrats (Operation Gemstone).

11th November, 1972: Richard Nixon is relected as president after defeating Democratic nominee, George McGovern.

15th November, 1972: Richard Nixon, Charles Colson, H. R. Haldeman and John Ehrlichman meet at Camp David to discuss Howard Hunt's blackmail threat.

20th November, 1972: Richard Nixon summons Richard Helms to Camp David and demands he resigns as Director of the CIA.

8th December, 1972: Dorothy Hunt, the wife of E. Howard Hunt, is killed in a plane crash.

8th January, 1973: The trial of Frank Sturgis, Virgilio Gonzalez, Eugenio Martinez, Bernard L. Barker, James W. McCord, E. Howard Hunt and Gordon Liddy begins in Washington. It is presided over by Judge John J. Sirica.

11th January, 1973: E. Howard Hunt pleads guilty.

15th January, 1973: Frank Sturgis, Virgilio Gonzalez, Eugenio Martinez and Bernard L. Barker, plead guilty.

13th January, 1973: James W. McCord and Gordon Liddy are convicted of conspiracy, burglary and wiretapping in the Watergate incident.

7th February, 1973: The Senate votes to create a Select Committee on Presidential Campaign Activities. The Committee is chaired by Sam Ervin.

9th February, 1973: John Dean phones James Schlesinger and requests his help to extricate FBI files on E. Howard Hunt.

19th March, 1973: James W. McCord writes a letter to Judge John J. Sirica claiming that the defendants had pleaded guilty under pressure (from John Dean and John N. Mitchell) and that perjury had been committed during the trial.

6th April, 1973: John Dean, the White House Counsel, agrees to co-operate with the Watergate prosecutors.

17th April, 1973: Richard Nixon releases an official statement claiming that he had no prior knowledge of the Watergate affair.

30th April, 1973: Richard Nixon announces that he has dismissed John Dean and accepted the resignations of H. R. Haldeman and John Ehrlichman, to resign.

9th May, 1973: James Schlesinger issues a directive to all CIA employees calling on them to report on "any activities now going on, or that have gone on in the past, which might be construed to be outside the legislative charter of this Agency".

16th May, 1973: Bob Woodward sends a memo to Ben Bradlee that contains the latest information received from Deep Throat. This confirms that Richard Nixon, H. R. Haldeman, John Ehrlichman, John Dean, Frederick LaRue and John N. Mitchell are all involved in the cover-up of the Watergate scandal. He also points out that E. Howard Hunt has been blackmailing Nixon.

13th June, 1973: Watergate prosecutors find a memo addressed to John Ehrlichman describing in detail the plans to burglarize the office of psychiatrist's office to find files on Daniel Ellsberg.

25th June, 1973: John Dean claims that Richard Nixon participated in the cover-up. Dean also confirmed that Nixon had tape-recordings of meetings where these issues were discussed.

7th July, 1973: Richard Nixon tells the Senate Committee that he will not testify before it and will not grant access to Presidential documents.

13th July, 1973: Alexander P. Butterfield, a former presidential appointments secretary, informs the Senate Committee of the White House taping system.

23rd July, 1973: Archibald Cox and the Ervin Senate Committee demand that Richard Nixon hand over a range of White House tapes and documents.

25th July, 1973: Richard Nixon refuses to surrender any documents or tapes.

25th July, 1973: The Ervin Senate Committee subpoenas several White House tapes.

15th August, 1973: Archibald Cox and the Ervin Senate Committee request the Supreme Court instruct Richard Nixon to surrender his tapes.

10th October, 1973: Vice-President Spiro T. Agnew resigns after pleading no contest to a charge of income tax evasion.

12th October, 1973: Richard Nixon nominates Gerald Ford as vice-president.

20th October, 1973: Richard Nixon orders his Attorney-General, Elliot Richardson, to fire Archibald Cox. Richardson refuses and resigns in protest. Nixon orders the deputy Attorney-General, William Ruckelshaus, to fire Cox. Ruckelshaus refuses and is sacked. Robert Bork, the Solicitor-General, now acting as Attorney-General, fires Cox.

23rd October, 1973: Richard Nixon agrees to comply with the subpoena and begins releasing some of the tapes.

21st November, 1973: A gap of over 18 minutes is discovered on the tape of the conversation between Richard Nixon and H. R. Haldeman on June 20, 1972. Nixon's secretary, Rose Mary Woods, denies deliberately erasing the tape.

6th February, 1974: The House of Representatives votes to authorize the House Judiciary Committee to investigate whether grounds exist for the impeachment of President Richard Nixon.

30th April, 1974: Richard Nixon appears on national television to announce his decision to release edited transcripts of his conversations.

24th July, 1974: The Supreme Court, by a unanimous vote of 8-0 upholds the Special Prosecutor's subpoena, ordering Richard Nixon to make the tapes available for the Watergate trials of his former subordinates.

27th July, 1974: The House Judiciary Committee adopts the first Article of Impeachment by a vote of 27-11. The Article charges Richard Nixon with obstruction of the investigation of the Watergate break-in.

5th August, 1974: Richard Nixon releases transcripts of conversations he had with H. R. Haldeman. These tapes prove he ordered a cover-up of the Watergate burglary, six days after the break-in.

7th August, 1974: Three senior Republican congressmen Barry Goldwater, Hugh Scott, John Rhodes meet with Richard Nixon, to tell him that they are going to vote for his impeachment. Nixon is now convinced that he has to resign.

8th August, 1974: In a televised address to the nation at 9pm, Richard Nixon announces that he will resign as president of the United States.

8th September, 1974: President Gerald Ford announces a "full free and absolute" pardon to Richard Nixon for "all offenses against the United States" committed between January 20, 1969 and August 9, 1974.

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Latest version of the Watergate Chronology

20th March, 1971: Frederick LaRue and Gordon Liddy attend a meeting of the Committee to Re-Elect the President (CREEP) where it was agreed to spend $250,000 "intelligence gathering" operation against the Democratic Party.

27th June, 1971: Donald Segretti attempts to persuade Alex Shipley to join the espionage campaign against leading Democratic Party candidates, Edward Kennedy and Edmund Muskie.

9th September, 1971: John N. Mitchell and Gordon Liddy organizes the break-in of a psychiatrist's office to find files on Daniel Ellsberg.

24th February, 1972: William Loeb, the owner of the Manchester Union Leader newspaper, publishes an article claiming that Edmund Muskie had made derogatory comments about Americans of French-Canadian ancestry (the Canuck Letter).

25th February, 1972: William Loeb publishes an article attacking Muskie's wife. While defending his wife he breaks down in tears and it is believed marks the end of his chances to become the Democratic Party's presidential candidate.

20th March, 1972: John N. Mitchell and Jeb Magruder discuss the proposal made by Gordon Liddy to bug the telephone of the chairman of the national Democratic Party, Larry O'Brien. Magruder phones H. R. Haldeman and he confirms that Richard Nixon wants the operation carried out.

15th April, 1972: William Haddad, sent a letter to Jack Anderson that agents of CREEP were intending to tap the telephones of Larry O'Brien at the Democratic National Committee headquarters at the Watergate Hotel. Anderson ignores the message.

8th May, 1972: Gordon Liddy and E. Howard Hunt arrange for the "Plumbers Unit" to install bugging equipment in the office at the Democratic National Committee headquarters at the Watergate Hotel.

15th May, 1972. Arthur Bremer attempts to assassinate George Wallace. It was later claimed by Bob Woodward that an attorney told him that Charles Colson ordered E. Howard Hunt to break into Bremer's apartment to remove incriminating documents. According to Howard Simons of The Washington Post, this could have been the "ultimate dirty trick".

17th June, 1972: Frank Sturgis, Virgilio Gonzalez, Eugenio Martinez, Bernard L. Barker and James W. McCord are arrested at 2.30 am during a break-in at the Watergate Hotel.

19th June, 1972: Richard Helms, Cord Meyer and William Colby meet to discuss possible CIA involvement in the Watergate break-in.

19th June, 1972: Bob Woodward has his first meeting with Deep Throat.

20th June, 1972: Richard Nixon tells H. R. Haldeman that the Watergate burglars "are going to need money".

23rd June, 1972: H. R. Haldeman suggests to Richard Helms that Richard Nixon has information on the CIA involvement in the assassination of John F. Kennedy.

6th July, 1972: Richard Helms informs the FBI that the CIA will not be damaged by a full investigation into the Watergate break-in.

22nd July, 1972: Newsday reports that Gordon Liddy had been sacked by John N. Mitchell because he refused to answer FBI questions about Watergate.

1st August , 1972: The Washington Post reports that a $25,000 cashier's check intended for the the Committee to Reelect the President (CREEP) has been found in the bank account of a Watergate burglar.

30th August, 1972: Richard Nixon announces that John Dean had conducted an investigation into the Watergate affair and found that no-one from the White House was involved.

15th September, 1972: The first indictments in Watergate are made against: Frank Sturgis, Virgilio Gonzalez, Eugenio Martinez, Bernard L. Barker, James W. McCord, E. Howard Hunt and Gordon Liddy.

29th September, 1972: Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein of the Washington Post report that John N. Mitchell, while serving as Attorney-General, controlled a secret Republican fund used to finance widespread intelligence-gathering operations against the Democrats (Operation Gemstone).

7th October, 1972: Deep Throat tells Bob Woodward that the "Canuck Letter" that destroyed the presidential campaign of Edmund Muskie was a White House operation.

12th October, 1972: Carl Bernstein publishes a story in the Washington Post about the sabotage of the Edmund Muskie campaign.

15th October, 1972: Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein of the Washington Post report that Donald Segretti was being paid $20,000 a year to run the White House operation to sabotage the Democratic Party campaign.

18th October, 1972: Seymour Hersh of the New York Times publishes details of Donald Segretti's phone calls to E. Howard Hunt.

26th October, 1972: Deep Throat tells Bob Woodward that H. R. Haldeman is a key figure in the cover-up.

27th October, 1972: Time Magazine publishes an article claiming that it had obtained information from FBI files that Dwight Chaplin had hired Donald Segretti to disrupt the Democratic campaign.

11th November, 1972: Richard Nixon is relected as president after defeating Democratic nominee, George McGovern.

11th November, 1972: Carl Bernstein interviews Donald Segretti who admits that E. Howard Hunt and Gordon Liddy were behind the dirty tricks campaign against the Democratic Party.

15th November, 1972: Richard Nixon, Charles Colson, H. R. Haldeman and John Ehrlichman meet at Camp David to discuss Howard Hunt's blackmail threat.

20th November, 1972: Richard Nixon summons Richard Helms to Camp David and demands he resigns as Director of the CIA.

6th January, 1972: Jack Anderson reports that E. Howard Hunt had arranged for fellow defendants to be paid up to $1000 for each month they spent in jail.

8th December, 1972: Dorothy Hunt, the wife of E. Howard Hunt, is killed in a plane crash.

8th January, 1973: The trial of Frank Sturgis, Virgilio Gonzalez, Eugenio Martinez, Bernard L. Barker, James W. McCord, E. Howard Hunt and Gordon Liddy begins in Washington. It is presided over by Judge John J. Sirica.

10th January, 1973: E. Howard Hunt tells Frank Sturgis, Virgilio Gonzalez, Eugenio Martinez, Bernard L. Barker at a meeting at the Arlington Towers Hotel where he tells them that the White House would take care of their families while in prison if they pleaded guilty and kept quiet about the Watergate operation.

11th January, 1973: E. Howard Hunt pleads guilty.

13th January, 1973: James W. McCord and Gordon Liddy are convicted of conspiracy, burglary and wiretapping in the Watergate incident.

15th January, 1973: Frank Sturgis, Virgilio Gonzalez, Eugenio Martinez and Bernard L. Barker, plead guilty.

23rd January, 1973: Jeb Magruder claims that Gordon Liddy once threatened to kill him. Hugh Sloan tells Judge John J. Sirica that he paid out about $199,000 in cash to Liddy. He questioned John N. Mitchell about this but was told that Liddy should be given the cash.

24th January, 1973: Deep Throat tells Bob Woodward that Charles Colson and John N. Mitchell were behind the Watergate operation.

7th February, 1973: The Senate votes to create a Select Committee on Presidential Campaign Activities. The Committee is chaired by Sam Ervin.

9th February, 1973: John Dean phones James Schlesinger and requests his help to extricate FBI files on E. Howard Hunt.

10th February, 1973: The Washington Post reveals that E. Howard Hunt had been investigating Edward Kennedy during the summer of 1972.

19th March, 1973: James W. McCord writes a letter to Judge John J. Sirica claiming that the defendants had pleaded guilty under pressure (from John Dean and John N. Mitchell) and that perjury had been committed during the trial.

28th March, 1973: James W. McCord testifies that Gordon Liddy told him that the Watergate operation had been approved by John N. Mitchell when he was still Attorney General.

6th April, 1973: John Dean, the White House Counsel, agrees to co-operate with the Watergate prosecutors.

14th April, 1973: Jeb Magruder claims that John Dean and John N. Mitchell organized the "bugging plans and the payoff scheme".

17th April, 1973: Richard Nixon releases an official statement claiming that he had no prior knowledge of the Watergate affair.

26th April, 1973: The New York Daily News claims that L. Patrick Gray had destroyed documents taken from a safe in Howard Hunt's White House office. These documents included cables fabricated by Hunt to implicate President John F. Kennedy in the 1963 assassination of President Ngo Dinh Diem of South Vietnam. Other documents were about Edward Kennedy. Gray later admitted that these documents were destroyed at his home in December, 1972.

27th April, 1973: Deep Throat confirms the story about the documents in Hunt's safe. He tells Bob Woodward that they were "political dynamite" and on 28th June, 1972, John Ehrlichman and John Dean told L. Patrick Gray that the documents should "never see the light of day".

30th April, 1973: Richard Nixon announces that he has dismissed John Dean and accepted the resignations of H. R. Haldeman and John Ehrlichman, to resign.

5th May, 1973: Newsweek claims that John Dean is about to announce that Richard Nixon knew about the Watergate cover-up.

9th May, 1973: James Schlesinger issues a directive to all CIA employees calling on them to report on "any activities now going on, or that have gone on in the past, which might be construed to be outside the legislative charter of this Agency".

16th May, 1973: Bob Woodward sends a memo to Ben Bradlee that contains the latest information received from Deep Throat. This confirms that Richard Nixon, H. R. Haldeman, John Ehrlichman, John Dean, Frederick LaRue and John N. Mitchell are all involved in the cover-up of the Watergate scandal. He also points out that E. Howard Hunt has been blackmailing Nixon.

13th June, 1973: Watergate prosecutors find a memo addressed to John Ehrlichman describing in detail the plans to burglarize the office of psychiatrist's office to find files on Daniel Ellsberg.

25th June, 1973: John Dean claims that Richard Nixon participated in the cover-up. Dean also confirmed that Nixon had tape-recordings of meetings where these issues were discussed.

7th July, 1973: Richard Nixon tells the Senate Committee that he will not testify before it and will not grant access to Presidential documents.

13th July, 1973: Alexander P. Butterfield, a former presidential appointments secretary, informs the Senate Committee of the White House taping system.

23rd July, 1973: Archibald Cox and the Ervin Senate Committee demand that Richard Nixon hand over a range of White House tapes and documents.

25th July, 1973: Richard Nixon refuses to surrender any documents or tapes.

25th July, 1973: The Ervin Senate Committee subpoenas several White House tapes.

15th August, 1973: Archibald Cox and the Ervin Senate Committee request the Supreme Court instruct Richard Nixon to surrender his tapes.

10th October, 1973: Vice-President Spiro T. Agnew resigns after pleading no contest to a charge of income tax evasion.

12th October, 1973: Richard Nixon nominates Gerald Ford as vice-president.

20th October, 1973: Richard Nixon orders his Attorney-General, Elliot Richardson, to fire Archibald Cox. Richardson refuses and resigns in protest. Nixon orders the deputy Attorney-General, William Ruckelshaus, to fire Cox. Ruckelshaus refuses and is sacked. Robert Bork, the Solicitor-General, now acting as Attorney-General, fires Cox.

23rd October, 1973: Richard Nixon agrees to comply with the subpoena and begins releasing some of the tapes.

21st November, 1973: A gap of over 18 minutes is discovered on the tape of the conversation between Richard Nixon and H. R. Haldeman on June 20, 1972. Nixon's secretary, Rose Mary Woods, denies deliberately erasing the tape.

6th February, 1974: The House of Representatives votes to authorize the House Judiciary Committee to investigate whether grounds exist for the impeachment of President Richard Nixon.

30th April, 1974: Richard Nixon appears on national television to announce his decision to release edited transcripts of his conversations.

24th July, 1974: The Supreme Court, by a unanimous vote of 8-0 upholds the Special Prosecutor's subpoena, ordering Richard Nixon to make the tapes available for the Watergate trials of his former subordinates.

27th July, 1974: The House Judiciary Committee adopts the first Article of Impeachment by a vote of 27-11. The Article charges Richard Nixon with obstruction of the investigation of the Watergate break-in.

5th August, 1974: Richard Nixon releases transcripts of conversations he had with H. R. Haldeman. These tapes prove he ordered a cover-up of the Watergate burglary, six days after the break-in.

7th August, 1974: Three senior Republican congressmen Barry Goldwater, Hugh Scott, John Rhodes meet with Richard Nixon, to tell him that they are going to vote for his impeachment. Nixon is now convinced that he has to resign.

8th August, 1974: In a televised address to the nation at 9 p.m., Richard Nixon announces that he will resign as president of the United States.

8th September, 1974: President Gerald Ford announces a "full free and absolute" pardon to Richard Nixon for "all offenses against the United States" committed between January 20, 1969 and August 9, 1974.

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Here is a blog in which the bloggist, who claims himself to a journalist from India, covered the watergate. He has traced the events, which it seems, he has collected from the media reports.

The address of the blog is as follows: http://valhallaviking.blogspot.com/2005/04...te-scandal.html

He has identified the effects of the scandal on the American legislation and judiciary also.

Further on another posting at the following address http://valhallaviking.blogspot.com/2005/04...ious-gates.html

he has written a write up. Well it is not directly related to Watergate, but it has something in it, which may help the commentators to explore different aspects of the influence of media over the general perception.

I hope that effect of media, the activitism of journalists and its effect on the body politic will also come under scanner during this debate.

As a teacher, I feel the role of media in contemporary history should be studied as a separate subject. It is just an opinion. I will appreciate if some comments and criticism also come up on this aspect as Watergate scandal, as I understand, was work of media and kept alive through media.

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Here is a blog in which the bloggist, who claims himself to a journalist from India, covered the watergate. He has traced the events, which it seems, he has collected from the media reports.

The address of the blog is as follows: http://valhallaviking.blogspot.com/2005/04...te-scandal.html

He has identified the effects of the scandal on the American legislation and judiciary also.

Further on another posting at the following address http://valhallaviking.blogspot.com/2005/04...ious-gates.html

he has written a write up. Well it is not directly related to Watergate, but it has something in it, which may help the commentators to explore different aspects of the influence of media over the general perception.

I hope that effect of media, the activitism of journalists and its effect on the body politic will also come under scanner during this debate.

As a teacher, I feel the role of media in contemporary history should be studied as a separate subject. It is just an opinion. I will appreciate if some comments and criticism also come up on this aspect as Watergate scandal, as I understand, was work of media and kept alive through media.

Thank you very much for these links.

It is an excellent idea to look at Watergate as a critique of democracy. The United States has led the way in showing the importance of negative campaigning. In 1971 Nixon arranged for the formation of the Special Investigations Group (SIG). This was run by two former intelligence agents Gordon Liddy (FBI) and Howard Hunt (CIA). The group was informally known as "the Plumbers" because their job was to stop leaks from Nixon's administration. However, it was not long before it was used to shape the 1972 election. This included smearing Democratic candidates who, according to the polls, would defeat Nixon at the polls. In this way they got the candidate that Nixon would find easiest to beat (George McGovern). The SIG was also involved in the plot to get George Wallace to withdraw from the campaign. By May 1972, public opinion polls were showing Wallace with 21% of the vote and posing a serious problem for Nixon. The assassination attempt by Arthur Bremer ended Wallace’s participation in the 1972 election.

http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/JFKbremer.htm

It seems to me that the removal of George Wallace from the 1972 presidential campaign was far more important than bugging Larry O’Brien’s phone.

I have long suspected that the Watergate break-in was not the real reason why Nixon was being blackmailed. Was this just Howard Hunt’s way of applying pressure on both Nixon and the CIA. It was only when they murdered his wife did he realize that this time he had taken on more than he could cope with.

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