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WATERGATE SCANDAL On the early morning of June 17 1972 five burglars were caught inside the Democratic National Headquarters in the Watergate office building in Washington DC The burglars who had been attempting to tap the headquarters phones were linked to President Richard Nixons Committee to Re-elect the President The Nixon administration long before the Watergate break-in had been very careful almost paranoid about their public image and did everything they could to avoid unfavorable publicity In fact paranoia was a habitual characteristic of Nixon furthered by the publics criticism of his policies regarding the veitnam War according to Nixon White House official Jeb Stuart Magruder That atmosphere of paranoia and suspicion was fueled by the leaking of the Pentagon Papers defense department documents concerning the United States involvement in the Vietnam War These highly secret papers were leaked by Daniel Ellsberg to the New York Times Shortly after Nixon established a White House special investigations unit to trace and stop any further leaks to the press This special investigations unit was nicknamed the Plumbers It was headed by two of the Presidents men G Gordon Liddy and E Howard Hunt In an attempt to stop new leaks the Plumbers investigated the private lives of Nixons enemies and critics G Gordon Liddy was the mastermind behind most of CREEPs committee to re-elect the president political tricks and illegal activities and proposed a huge intelligence operation against the Democrats Included in the intelligence operation were plans for a small-scale burglary of the Democratic National Headquarters located in the Watergate office complex When Liddy proposed the operation Muskie presidential candidate was ahead of Nixon in some opinion polls and CREEP was pressured to act John Mitchell gave the authority to Magruder who gave Liddy the approval to perform the break-in There was enough evidence from Haldeman to indicate the President knew of the plans for the break-in before it occurred although Nixon never
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