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This document may not be reprinted without the express written permission of Texarkana Gazette, Inc. I finally realized that what had gone wrong in the Nixon White House was a meltdown in personal integrity. Internet Explorer 9 or earlier. Go to the home page to see the latest top stories.
The common public perception is that Watergate was the principal cause of President Nixon’s downfall. In fact, the seminal cause was a first-rate criminal conspiracy and break-in almost 10 months earlier that led inexorably to Watergate and its subsequent cover-up. In early August 1971, I attended a secret meeting in Room 16, a hideaway office in the basement of the Old Executive Office Building, across the street from the White House. Huddled around the table were G. Gordon Liddy, a former F. Howard Hunt, a former C.
I was deputy assistant to the president. Two months earlier, The New York Times had published the classified Pentagon Papers, which had been provided by Daniel Ellsberg. President Nixon had told me he viewed the leak as a matter of critical importance to national security. Ells-berg’s mental state, to discredit him, by breaking into the office of his psychiatrist, Dr. Liddy told us the F. At no time did I or anyone else there question whether the operation was necessary, legal or moral.
Convinced that we were responding legitimately to a national security crisis, we focused instead on the operational details: who would do what, when and where. 3, 1971, burglars broke into Dr. Fielding’s Beverly Hills office to photograph the files, but found nothing related to Mr. Please verify you’re not a robot by clicking the box. You must select a newsletter to subscribe to. You agree to receive occasional updates and special offers for The New York Times’s products and services. You are already subscribed to this email.