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The Tapes That Destroyed Nixon
[FINAL Edition]
The Washington Post - Washington, D.C.
Subjects: Audio recordings; Watergate affair; Scandals
Author: Hughes, Ken
Date: Dec 6, 1997
Start Page: A.25
Section: OP/ED

In a recent news story on Richard Nixon's decision to destroy his White House tape recordings, Post reporters George Lardner Jr. and Walter Pincus write: "Until now it has been widely believed that Nixon did not consider destroying his tapes until after White House aide Alexander Butterfield publicly revealed their existence to the Senate Watergate Committee on July 16, 1973" {"Nixon's Fateful Reversal," front page, Oct. 30}.

Lardner and Pincus claim that when Nixon raised the subject of the tapes again on April 16 and 18, 1973, he "had changed his mind. He didn't want to get rid of the tapes just yet. . . ." In fact, on April 18, Nixon asked his closest aide to destroy most of the tapes. The job just didn't get done.

Nixon decided that all three aides would have to step down. He asked Dean to sign a letter of resignation on April 16. Dean, fearing that he would be made the scapegoat for Watergate, refused to do so unless Haldeman and Ehrlichman also resigned. On April 17, Nixon offered Haldeman and Ehrlichman -- the second and third most powerful men in the White House -- part-time jobs with the foundation building the Nixon Library.

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