We all remember how Nixon resigned from his presidential term in 1974, his resignation speech was broadcasted across all of american in the Oval Office at 9:01PM; in which he said “I have concluded that because of the Watergate matter I might not have the support of the Congress” he said on August 9th in the oval office.
Most of us still don’t know what the Watergate scandal was; during the election campaign of 1972, the Democratic National Committee had offices inside the Watergate building. On June 17, 1972, at 2:30 a.m., police found five men in the act of trespassing inside of the hotel. The men were trying to hide bugs, inside these offices. While at the same time, more and more people connected to Nixon had resigned, fired, or were convicted of crimes dealing with the Watergate scandal. When Nixon was asked to hand over these tape recordings, he refused to hand the tapes over because first, saying how in the tapes there was vital information including national security, and how they cant due to executive privilege as President.
While at the time, there was increasing pressure for Nixon’s impeachment. The U.S. Supreme Court ordered Nixon to hand over tapes of 64 White House conversations. Once he handed over the tapes, they soon realized that over 18 minutes of the tape was gone. They then put their eyes on to blame Rose Mary Woods, Nixon’s personal secretary.Rose Mary Woods was born in Ohio on December 26, 1917; she went to work for Royal China, Inc.
, one of the city’s largest employer, right after high school. She then decided to move to Washington, D.C, in 1943, working in different federal offices until she met Nixon when she was secretary for the Select House Committee on Foreign Aid. Impressed by his neatness, kindness and efficiency of what he was trying to do for America, she accepted the offer he made for her for a job in 1951.
She developed a close relationship with the Nixon family, including the First Lady Pat Nixon. As soon as the watergate scandal erupted, she was called to the stand for her testimony. She said that she had notified Nixon of the erasure as soon as it had happened and that he said to her that, “there’s no problem because that’s not one of the subpoenaed tapes.” he said to her.
As strange as Woods’ explanation was, she also said how her error would only have erased only around five minutes of tape, and could not be said for the eighteen minutestime. During a testimony “I am most dreadfully sorry,” she said in November of 1973 she then began explaining that through some “terrible mistake,” she had pressed the button on the pedal and accidentally recorded over the tape. Woods at first said she “must have” done it. But in later years, she tried to avoid responsibility. Chief of Staff Alex Haig said the reason behind the 18 1/2 minute gap was on a “sinister force. Then in 2003, the National Archives said a panel of audio specialists had analyzed the tape and been unable to recapture the lost conversation.
In response to her testimony, a photo was set up where Woods recreatedthe move, to show how she could have deleted the tape, stretching backward to answer the phone with her left hand while inadvertently hitting the “record” button and keeping her right foot on the tape recorder pedal became a searing image of the scandal.Nixon moved forward to implement his alternative to turning over the tapes; Mary Woods would type transcripts of all the tapes. Nixon would remove portionswhich he considered irrelevant to the subpoenas.Mississippi Senator John Stennis would listen to the tapes, to verify that the transcripts were accurate.Woods will be remembered for the infamous 18.5-minute gap in one of the Watergate tapes,not because she erased it, but because she said she had deleted only part of it by accident.