Sunday 20 June 2021

the rose mary stretch

While later reviewing tape recording of a conversation held on this day in 1972 between White House chief-of-staff H.R. Haldeman and Richard Nixon three days after the Watergate break-in occurred, presidential secretary Ms. Woods admitted to a terrible clerical error during replay when she took a telephone call and held the combination of buttons and pedals that caused a portion of the tape to be re-recorded. Obliging Ms. Woods later demonstrated the pose that would have allowed for this accident to happen to a doubtful press, making her story all the more incredulous once it was revealed that the gap in the transcript was not the five-minute duration of the call but rather eighteen and a half minutes long. Three days after those lost conversations were held, the “smoking gun” reel documented—between the same two interlocutors—the plans to cover-up the bungled burglary and to curtail investigations by directing the Central Intelligence Agency to falsely assert to the FBI and local police that it was a matter of National Security. Once this tape became public, all remaining political support for Nixon, including fifteen Republican senators favouring acquittal, evaporated—though Nixon resigned in lieu of impeachment.