Forty Years Later: The Lessons of Watergate

180px-WatergateFromAir220px-Nixon-departToday I will join a distinguished panel to commemorate the 40th anniversary of Watergate. I will be speaking with Liz Holtzman, member of the House Judiciary Committee during Watergate; Daniel Ellsberg, of Pentagon Papers fame; and Fritz Schwarz, Chief Counsel, Brennan Center for Justice and former Chief Counsel to the Church Committee. We will be discussing the legacy of Watergate in terms of our current controversies over FISA, war powers, presidential papers, and other executive abuses.


The event will be held in the National Press Club and is being organized by Common Cause. The panel will be held at 3:30 pm on March 13, 2013 at 529 14th St. NW, Washington DC 20045.

You can register to watch the conference here

69 thoughts on “Forty Years Later: The Lessons of Watergate”

  1. Re: Bettykath

    My and wife have watched those “Bourne” movies where the bad CIA supervisors get arrested in the end. Nobody would be arrested today, it would be legal!

  2. lotta,

    I thought you’d find this article interesting:

    UBS Loses $2.6 Billion In 2012, Hands Out $2.6 Billion In Bonuses
    Posted: 03/14/2013
    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/03/14/ubs-senior-staff-pay_n_2875083.html?utm_hp_ref=business

    Excerpt:
    Looks like UBS has found its magic number.

    The Swiss banking giant paid its top workers $2.6 billion in bonuses in 2012, according to the Swiss Broadcasting Corporation. That’s the same amount the bank lost that year and just slightly more than the $2.1 billion UBS lost in the fourth quarter alone, thanks in large part to scandals and lawsuits.

    The executives made top dollar even as the bank agreed to pay $1.5 billion to settle allegations of Libor rigging. That’s a different approach than that taken one year before, when UBS clawed back bonuses of its top-paid investment bankers after the unit posted a $1.32 billion loss thanks to a $2.3 billion rogue trading scandal, according to the Wall Street Journal.

    And while the loss-to-bonus ratio may be strikingly neat, it’s only one way in which UBS placed pain and pay side by side. UBS announced Thursday that their CEO took home nearly $9 million as part of the bank’s giant payout to senior staff, during the same year UBS said it would cut 10,000 workers in an aim to cut costs, according to Reuters. In addition, UBS welcomed its newest executive, Investment Bank Chief Andrea Orcel, with a “golden hello” of $26 million.

  3. Today, Nixon wouldn’t have to send in the plumbers. He could just order the NSC to provide him with transcripts of the conversations – all obtained legally thru warrantless wiretapping. All that campaign cash lying around? All legal.

  4. John Dean wrote a wonderful book “Conservatives Without Conscience” which is really about authoritariansm. Dean basically dissects how these people (perceiving themselves as the Good Guys) justify crimes and acts of evil. Authoritarian personalities can happen to both parties so it’s really a good read! One of the best books in the past decade in my view and part of the solution.

  5. Elaine, thanks for the Pierce link you posted above. I always appreciate what you bring to the table.

    “Can’t prosecute … because it might have a negative impact on our economy.” Yea, so does no real banking reform and 5 years of obstruction by the Republicans and so does ongoing business subsidy’s for companies to assist off-shoring and (make a list). Srsly, If we are paying literally billions of dollars for theft and collusion I demand a better cover story- the BS they’re shoveling our way with that rationale is just insulting. Lol, I’ve seen better low-budget movie plots…

  6. lottakatz.

    “If you let one of them off the hook the whole bunch of them start thinking it’s an entitlement.”

    Banksters feel entitled. Eric Holder and the DOJ are letting all the corrupt fraudster bankers off the hook. Can’t prosecute big banks for their misdeeds–including laundering money for drug cartels and terrorists–because it might have a negative impact on our economy.

  7. Additionally, Watergate was primarily a criminal operation. Erlichman, Haldemann, Colson, Dean, Liddy (all the President’s men) all served jail time along with hundreds of officials/lobbyists/staff who no one remembers went to jail. Iran-Contra was primarily efforts to subvert the Constitution, rightwingers carrying out their ideology with the knowledge of the American people.

  8. Another important piece about Watergate that seems to get lost is all the slush funds of cold hard cash that Nixon and his cronies had. Thus, leading to campaign reform, which was greatly needed; but, has been undone by Citizens United. Despite what some above say, John Dean was pretty much the only one telling the truth. His Congressional testimony was confirmed by the tapes recorded in Nixon’s office. Any of you who are in the Washington-Metropolitan area should take an opportunity to listen to the tapes at various sites of the National Archives. They reveal much as to who were the bad guys and who were the good guys.

  9. Yeah lottakatz, the next thing you know Scalia will say that a not guilty verdict to a black guy is a racial preference and Uncle Clarence will ask no questions and go along with it.

  10. Frankly, Gene, yep. If you let one of them off the hook the whole bunch of them start thinking it’s an entitlement.

  11. “After hanging Judge Turrentine sentenced me, he asked me if I had anything to say.

    I said “yes judge I do, Thank You.”

    I was facing 35 years (he gave me 3 years) and the “hanging judge” (his reputation) was taken aback.

    I walked out of the courtroom and headed for federal prison, one of about 100 folks who did time in the 1960’s.

    They tried to kill me inside the prison, put me in solitary, and gave a bad report so I would not get parole.

    They also sent a hit squad after me on the way to the halfway house.

    Anyway, the only reason I got paroled was that the Safety Officer, the third in pecking order in a federal prison back then, had taken some sort of liking to me.

    Halderman and Erlickman, of the Nixon admin. had been sentenced there while I was there, but they went to camp.

    I was in max.

    Anyway, he told the warden and the others that he would shut the f***ing place down if I was not paroled.

    At that time only the Safety Officer could shut down a federal joint.

    I got paroled.

    But they sent out a hid squad that stopped the greyhound bus on the way to the halfway house.

    One officer with an assault rifle aimed it at the bus, while the other one went in and took me outside.

    For whatever reason they did not take me out.

    Still on the liberty walk.”

    Who am I quoting?

  12. Malisha: One in a while I throw a ringer in there. Kathryn Graham was very interesting. I just read a long book about Watergate by John Erlichmann. He was quite up front about his own misdeeds yet the book reveals what odd ducks he and his Nixon cronies really were.

    It is interesting how the major media yerks will run from the Manning story and fail to give him any support at all. Even when the army captains are freezing him to death at night and keeping him in solitary just for the sole purpose of torture. HesgaysoitsOK is whattheysay. They say it real fast so that is why I ran the words together. The present publisher of the Washington Post does not have the balls that Martha did. Sorry, ..that Kathryn did.

    I think that this blog should do an article on the topic of the American infatuation with Scions and the related topic of scions who get into Yale because daddy went and scion is therefore a Legacy. Joseph Kennedy was a bootlegger whose pals in Boston political circles got him the cute job as Ambassador to Great Britain. He was pro Hitler and held Prime Minister Chamberlain’s umbrella. That is all swept under the rug and Johnboy, hits the stage. Similar story with Prescott Bush and the Nazi gold. H.W. Bush got into Yale as a Legacy. George W. got into Yale as a Legacy. George Prescott Bush got into Yale as a Legacy and is now running for some office in Texas. Coming soon to a theatre near you. All these kennedy foundations and Bush foundations. Their memories will live on! Scions of crooks.

  13. Dredd,

    Somewhere something truly important is going on . . . like re-runs of Honey Boo Boo.

  14. This panel is winding down.

    Observation: so far a bunch of old fogies have been talking.

    Where are the young people?

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