WASHINGTON (CBS Washington/AP) — In long-secret testimony, Richard Nixon swore to grand jurors that the famous gap in a White House tape was merely an accident.

The 18½ missing minutes of a conversation between Nixon and his chief of staff were considered crucial in determining the president’s role in covering up the Watergate scandal that drove him from office. Under oath, after he left office, he was no help to investigators probing what was said during the gap.

The National Archives and its Nixon Presidential Library released a transcript of the testimony Thursday, a rare look inside grand jury proceedings.

Nixon told grand jurors that in his view, it was simply an accident that some of the tape got erased. He claimed “I practically blew my stack” when he found out how much.

During his deposition, the former president was concerned that his testimony would be “terribly damaging to the United States” if it was made public.

” … I will reveal for the first time information with regard to why wire taps were proposed, information which, if it is made public, will be terribly damaging to the United States.”

(TM and © Copyright 2011 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

Comments (62)
  1. Mark says:

    Let’s live in the current and concentrate on Obama’s scandals.

    1. Earl Nash says:

      @Mike, I think you will find that we are BOTH right about Nixon AND LBJ, if you read LEGACY OF SECRECY…

    2. Dave says:

      “Those who do not learn from history are condemned to repeat it.” — Santayana

    3. Suzy says:

      That’s exactly why they are being released now. To distract us.

    4. matt says:

      Theirs a bigger story brewing under the Obama administration. Solyunra ,, Fast & Furious, Also war..etc etc. where they media. Nixon was a boy scout compared to Obama.

      1. Rich says:

        Evidently you were not alive at that time to post such an uninformed comment. And remind me, now, who was it that attacked Iraq and Afganistan? Oh, yeah, it WAS President Obama. Sorry, I must have been asleep during those 8 Bush years. Forgive me and all my friends who didn’t make it back from Nam like I did. Now, where were you, again?

      2. Chad says:

        The sad thing is you think there is a difference between Obama and Bush beyond the color of their skin. There isn’t. Yes Bush invaded but you do not see Obama actually pulling out. In fact he as stepped up operations and expanded to Libya and is eyeing Iran. What will be scary is when we finally wake up and realize they are both the same as Nixon.

  2. StandingO says:

    Mr. Nixon made some mistakes, but there was never any question but that he was a patriot. There are serious questions on that point about today’s leftists.

    1. Joe says:

      actually conspiring to fix an election is the most unpatriotic thing you could ever do

      1. Dave says:

        Actually the late election returns from Texas and Chicago stole the election from Nixon during the 1960 election. But hey, they elected Kennedy. A present from Mayor Daley and LBJ, yee ha.

        Perhaps Nixon needed a babysitter to prevent him from self destruction but he seems much better than our current crop of candidates. (with the exception of the failed war on drugs)

  3. CP Norton says:

    The left just cannot get enough of rehashing Nixon. Yeah, he lied, was part of a cover-up and earned the label “crook.”. However, the lessons of Watergate are now being ignored and Obama better hope that if he is reelected that the Dems control the Senate. Fast and furious and Recovery Act funds granted to Democratic allies are ripe for investigation and grand juries. Coupled with a dysfunctional Department of Justice, seems like the ghosts of John Mitchel and H.R. Halderman are still working the White House.

    1. Casper says:

      According to Mr. Liddy, the break-in and attempted wire–tapping of the DNC’s headquarters at The Watergate were to gather dirt (alleged call-girl ring being run from there) to use against them in upcoming election. Compared to the ‘shenanigans’ of the subsequent Dem Presidents, current one certainly included, his transgressions seem very petty. Their overkill in persuing what amounts to the ‘Death Penalty’ for a sitting President – Impeachment- , and forcing him to resign, is less than what is called for right now. Obama still will never be able to hold Nixon’s jockstrap.

  4. Earl Nash says:

    Nixon was a “patriot”?
    Patriots defend the Constitution, the Bill of Rights and the Laws of the land. Patriots obey the Laws of the United States. Nixon was a liar and deserved to be impeached. He arrogantly manipulated the laws and the government to cover up his lies and crimes. His covert black ops gang not only broke into the Watergate, they were, with Nixon’s approval, also involved in the assassination of the President of the United States. Some patriot!

    1. Roland says:

      Nixon was not Impeached! but Clinton was, Nixon felt it would be too much of a dishonor to be impeached so he resigned… didn’t bother Billy Bob one bit!… and you mention the assassination of the President?.. you must be confusing Nixon with Johnson.. Read some history Earl!

      1. Earl Nash says:

        Read a little history and found that Bill Clinton, President of the United States, was impeached by the House of Representatives on charges of perjury and obstruction of justice on December 19, 1998, but acquitted by the Senate on February 12, 1999.
        While Nixon “got out of Dodge” before he was impeached–it seemed a foregone conclusion and he cut a deal with Ford to avoid criminal charges for perjury.
        May I suggest a good read? LEGACY OF SECRECY…Nixon AND LBJ were in on the JFK murder…

      2. Roland says:

        Yep Thats right Earl. Clinton was impeached and Nixon wasn’t..
        “Jacqueline Kennedy-Onassis believed Vice President Lyndon B. Johnson was behind the assassination of her husband, according to tapes recorded by the former first lady just months after President John F. Kennedy’s death,”

    2. Jon Samuel says:

      yep Nixon was a patriot who made some bad mistakes. You can get sanctimonious if you want but by your standards then all modern Presidents except Jimmy Carter and the Bushes should have been impeached.

      1. Earl Nash says:

        Jon, It is not sanctimonious to state the facts about the past Presidents; Reagan ran an illegal war with drug money; Nixon subverted the Constitutions; Bush and Cheney approve torture and sacrificed blood and treasure on a lie. If the shoe fits…

    3. Craig Brockman says:

      Earl – Clinton WAS NOT acquitted. Though impeached by one house the other house just didn’t go forward. In other words – CLINTON was impeached, Nixon never was. Nothing more, nothing less as you are trying to insinuate – you lefties are a funny bunch – if you say things enough you figure everyone is as ignorant as you and will buy into it. Here’s a t-shirt and a bumper sticker, now go vote for YOUR Obama again!

  5. Stan says:

    Kids stuff compared to what Clinton pulled off. Especially the blatant stealing from the National Archives. The late night park killings, the bribes, lies … yup, BJ Willy was the best.

    1. Htos1 says:

      Clinton:36 SGI supercomputers illegaly transferred to China,Loralle Soace systems proprietary rom cde for guidance systems chipsets used in ICBM missles,I could go on,but you get the message,

  6. bill says:

    I will second what Nash brought up in that, Nixon was involved with assasinating JFK.
    Nixon was a globalist and an operative of the new world order.

  7. Mike says:

    @Earl Nash- If you think Nixon was behing the Kennedy assassination you’re deluded. More than likely LBJ was involved. Nixon? No chance. Google LBJ on this subject and do some actual research… Now about Nixon’s lies… no one will argue that, however, as was said above, the media and Congress are 100% in IGNORE mode with regards to Obama and this administration. Apparently, whats good for the (R) goose is simply not important for the (D) Gander.

    1. Earl Nash says:

      I will not defend Clinton, but Nixon committed more than “kid stuff.” RE: facts about the past Presidents; Reagan ran an illegal war with drug money; Nixon subverted the Constitutions; Bush and Cheney approve torture and sacrificed blood and treasure on a lie. If the shoe fits…

      1. Casper says:

        Explain to the rest of the class, please, 1 or 2 of Nixon’s, or his worst (in any kind of relavent way) transgression and compare to subsequent Dem Presidents extemely unconstitutional behavior, such as Clinton selling secret satellite technology to the Red Chinese, or Obama’s public refusal to enforce immigration laws, for example.

      2. Craig Brockman says:

        Wow Earl – do you usually manipulate history so it suits your needs? Apparently you never served a day in your life, do not understand what it takes to be free, have lived in your parents basement for 40-years, and are yet to actually touch a naked woman!

      3. CWWJ says:

        Earl, you are apparently the victim of some of those left wing books that try hard to find conspiracies at the highest levels when none exist. Nixon lied about a trivial matter but did in fact attempt to thwart the FBI’s investigation into Watergate. He deserved impeachment and was urged to resign by members of his own party. The Kennedy assassination was carried out by a single person, Lee Harvey Oswald, and there is absolutely no evidence of a plot by LBJ, the CIA, the Mafia or anyone other than Oswald. Reagan ran no “illegal war with drug money” if you are referring to the adminnistration’s support for the Contras in Nicaragua. The funds that went to support the Contras were approved by the Democrat-controlled U.S. Congress. The so-called “Iran-Contra” scandal was about the selling of obsolete weapons to Iran to support the Contras during the brief period when Congress denied them money. No laws were broken other than the routine “lying to Congress” by the Iran-Contra conspirators, and the Contras susequently won a free election that ousted the Communist dictatorship in Nicaragua. Bush and Cheney may have authorized “torture” as defined by some people on the left, but the war in Iraq was not based on a lie. It was authorized by Congress based upon the best intelligence of the time that Iraq possessed WMD. Nobody lied about anything; that was a mantra used by the left to discredit the war (a mantra that was quite successful in driving down Bush’s approval ratings). Hitler’s propaganda minister, Joseph Goebbels, said that a lie that is repeated over and over becomes the truth in the minds of many. That’s what you are trying to do, Earl, in repeating these baseless allegations.

  8. UrsusRexx says:

    Currently, America has over twice as many dead, in ‘Iraq, etc.’ as Ronald Reagan’s ‘Freedom Fighter, O. Bin_Ladin, ‘achieved’ on 11.Sept.’01.
    One can only speculate, but…
    If Nixon had gone to jail over ‘Cambodia’, along with Kissinger, (the
    ‘CondiSleeza, “mushroom clouds over U.S Cities”, Rice’ of the 1970’s), would Geo. ‘what-me-worry?’ Bush have DARED to invade Iraq, plausibly denying a mineral-resource pillage, via an (invented), ‘search’, for (imaginary) W.M.D.’s?

    …359 former co-workers of mine will spend tonight, (and every night), in a Staten Island, NY, dump, where the twisted girders upon which their remains are sprayed all over are being left to rot…
    Would former British P/M Tony Blair, a (then) newly-scavenged-from-Anglican-belief, (to the more, so-called ‘prolife’ Catholic church), have had the, (‘you-know-what’ portion of male H. Sapiens’s anatomy…), to state he’d do ‘Iraq, etc.’, with / without W.M.D.’s?
    As it seems obvious that the war instigated by Bush & Blair was a criminal act, why is it that Christian churches are only too happy to host these dangerously foolish persons of a Sunday morning?
    {Note: I was seriously tempted to write ‘$unday’ instead of ‘Sunday’ in the sentence above, reflecting that portion of evengelical_theology known as the

    To hear ‘Nixon, from-the-grave’, would be farcical, if NOT for the damage his (unpunished) crimes did to the United States.
    It is NO accident that, in pardoning Nixon, Ford gave up ALL hope of a ‘continuing’ political career!
    I’m specifically noting that Ford’s replacing, then pardoning, Nixon, was NOT what I’d like to tell my grand-children about, if I were either of these ‘Expletives – Deleted’.
    (Note: since I have a vasectomy, I will be spared the indignity of attempting to explain why Richard ‘Mr. Law & Order’ Nixon was allowed to be a petty law-breaker!
    On the other hand…
    The ‘personhood’ movement, fresh from It’s 3rd. straight defeat, (with 6-8 further defeats in the political-pipeline), may win some day…In some alternate universe!
    Perhaps, I’ll be arrested, as a ‘Mass Murderer’, for admitting to a vasectomy!

    1. Earl Nash says:

      Tru dat, brother!

    2. Steve Hodgkiss says:

      Naivete is rampant. Our “historians” are biased.

  9. jeff6times7 says:

    I scanned this pdf thoroughly and found only part of the transcript in the referenced PDF. The part that was included in the PDF was the portion before the first recess and it included mostly discussions about ambassador appointments.

    I was “lucky” when I tried changing the 19 in the href to a 20 and found what appears to be more of the transcript. In fact, it is #20 that contains the q&a regarding the missing 18.5 minutes.

    This whole “report stuff as fast as possible” method of journalism is a big mistake. It sure seems to me that when the author of this piece put it together, the wrong href was placed into this page. Sloppy, really sloppy.

  10. Travis Busbar says:

    This is certainly timely. I’m sure that Obama can learn a lot from Nixon to spin his “I am not a crook” spiel over Solyndra. Monkey see, Monkey do.

    1. Earl Nash says:

      I will not defend Obama, but Nixon committed more than “kid stuff.” RE: facts about the past Presidents; Reagan ran an illegal war with drug money; Nixon subverted the Constitutions; Bush and Cheney approve torture and sacrificed blood and treasure on a lie. If the shoe fits…

      1. Casper says:

        Which “Constituions” did Nixon subvert, and how exactly? I may have glossed over some arcane connection. Try to keep to the subject of Nixon when breing only referring to him with my question, or is your failure Bush’s fault, too, ya nut?

  11. Scott A says:

    Too bad Clinton didn’t follow the same ideals and resign before he was impeached.

    1. Roland says:

      actually it would have served no purpose for Clinton to resign, he was at the end of his term and a lame duck and thats why the senate spared the people the pain and money of going any further… I guess it might have been a matter of honor if he had resigned, to be the second president ever to be impeached would not set well with some people, but like I said, it didn’t bother him a bit.– I’m a big fan of Calvin Coolidge, if you ever have some spare reading time Coolidge is a interesting man.

  12. Charles says:

    Nixon’s greatest crime was taking away gold backing from the dollar.

    1. Roland says:

      @Charles.. I agree, we would have been a better and stronger country under the gold standard… I

  13. dano says:

    I fail to see any significant news in this article, it’s what was stated even back then. Whats the point?

  14. dano says:

    No explanation needed, backed and saw that the AP contributed to this article, thats why it was meaningless.

  15. Hollywood Hick says:

    Ahh CBS – if there is no republican president in the white house, bash a dead one.

  16. Daniel Staggers says:

    For all you Nixon supporter I can only say; apparently you were too young to be there. A Patriot? Sure, he took us off the gold standard, a patriot? He is the reason that the federal government can gold state own money (road use funds) captive to use politically against them and that’s the ONLY reason that was passed. That’s treason folks, forget about LBJ of JFK. Treason IS treason. (by the way, I’m a republican who at one time actually was foolish enough to support Nixon)

  17. Frank says:

    This is just the White House’s way of trying to paint the GOP in a bad light by Nixon’s affiliation with the Republican party despite the gross and epic failure that the democrats have reflected in creating the subprime mortgage crisis, driving the housing bubble and creating the economic collapse.

  18. Dennis D says:

    Nobody died from Watergate unlike Obama’s Fast and Furious.

  19. Leland Williams Jr. says:

    LIB Media still resurrecting NIXON. Would do better to focus on the Chicago Style gutter politics of Obama, Axelrod, Blago, Daily, RahmEmmanuel, and the Clinton gang. But they know their audience eh? http://www.endtimesurvivalguide.com

  20. fredrfp@gmail.com says:

    Its ironic that CBS here is ‘missing’ the actual transcript the article references. (CBS needs to copy the link and insert 20 instead of 19 in .pdf link) In it Nixon comments that bugging was common during the 1960s; he was bugged by Jerry Brown in 1962, Hoover bugged VP Agnews office and Plane w/o permission. A ‘government Agency’ bugged his own (Nixons) Congressional and Gubernatiorial campaign offices. Nixon also states he was never in posession of the tape with the 18 1/2 minutes gone and that it was from the Executive Office Building (EBO) group of tapes, one of 3 systems (control log records show that true). Nearly all the EBO tapes are very, very poor quality. Nixons comment for the erasure is that it was simply a mistake. One had to press one of the three adjacenct buttons for ‘play’, rewind’, ‘record’ but the actual speed of those functions was controlled by the typists foot pedal because she had to have her hands on the typewriter. Simply hitting ‘record’ instead of ‘play and pressing hard on the foot pedal would erase the tape by recording over it.

  21. bubba says:

    Liddy says it was to protect John Dans fiancé

  22. Rich says:

    Sure. Crimes the right commits aren’t really crimes. They are just pranks, I guess. Breaking and entering, etc. Just pranks.

    So, when did the law get changed? Even at Penn State they finally got around to enforcing the law of the land. Naturally, if you are on the right, laws on the books do not apply to you. I get it. We all get it. Long live NIXON!!

  23. greenmtnpunter says:

    Liberals are still getting their revenge over Alger Hiss being outed as a Soviet agent by Nixon when he sat on HUAC in 1948-50. A great story the Hiss-Chambers affair. Read Allen Weinstein’s book on it called “Perjury”.

    Then there was the Joe MCcarthy flap. Liberals were the McCarthyites then and are still the McCarthy-ites now. How damn clever of them! Read Stanton Evans book on the subject. I keep thinking that the American people will finally realize that the Libs/Progs are “Too clever by half” and their support will collapse. KA-BOOM!

  24. Suzy says:

    So, wait – is it possible that Nixon wasn’t the evil creep that the Left (and many on the “right”) have painted him as?

    Hmmm. Makes you wonder what we “know” as historically accurate.

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