Inside Job: How Nixon Was Taken Down


People can be misled by deliberately distracting them. This fact is basic to all forms of “magic,” meaning prestidigitation. The performer seeks to persuade members of the audience to focus their attention on something peripheral, when the real action lies elsewhere. A skilled performer can do this “as if by magic.”

The mainstream media use a very similar strategy in crucial events. The public is reminded of the official version of what is a turning-point event. Nothing is said of other aspects of the event. It is assumed that the public will forget. Prior to the Internet, this was a safe assumption. It no longer is.

Let me give you an example. We have all heard the analogy of the elephant in the living room. Out of politeness to the host, no guest says anything. If no one says anything for a long enough period, people tend not to notice the beast any more. It becomes background noise (and odor). When they move on to another dinner party, they tend to forget that the elephant was ever there.

I am now going to present three videos. They are videos of the largest documented elephant in the largest living room in human history. Nothing else matches it. Some of you may have seen video #3: it was on national TV. Yet after its broadcast, this elephant was dropped down the memory hole. Memory holes are designed to accept elephants. People have heard about this one, but they have long forgotten it. Only by deliberately ignoring it can those in charge of reminding people to think about certain details be confident that the official version of the event will be believed.

The event took place eight hours after a more famous event. That event was 9/11. But this event was also part of 9/11. It is the event, more than any other event, that does not fit the official explanation. It fits a few of the unofficial explanations.

Watch the video. On my computer, QuickTime is automatically activated.

“Name that event!” What event was it? Do you remember? Can you identify it by name? Probably not.

Don’t tell me Orwell was wrong in Nineteen Eighty-Four. The memory hole strategy works.

Now watch a different video of the same event. Think about what you are watching. How can this be true? How can the sequence have taken place? What’s wrong with this picture?

Then, for the capper, watch the third version. Listen to the verbal comments. The commentator is Dan Rather. Millions of people saw this video and heard what he said. He never said it again. Neither did any other national media commentator. Watch and listen. There is a movable right-left button at the bottom of the image’s screen if you have QuickTime installed. You can rerun the video by using your cursor to move the button to the left. Then click the play button again.

All right, for those of you who are still confused at what this is, I’ll refresh your memory. This is the collapse of Building 7 of the World Towers complex. It took place at 5:20 p.m., over eight hours after the previous collapses. This is the third largest building in history to collapse, yet it is essentially forgotten by the public. Building 7 was a block away from the first two.

As you have seen, the building collapsed from the bottom. It fell straight down — just as North and South towers did. This caught Rather’s attention. In a moment of extreme indiscretion, he said this:

It’s reminiscent of those pictures we’ve all seen too much on television before, when a building was deliberately destroyed by well-placed dynamite to knock it down.

He only said it once. But, because of the Web, we can hear him say it over and over.

Why did it collapse? Because it was deliberately demolished. Despite all the chaos of that day, there was time to “pull it.” Evidence? Click this for a recording.

In the midst of that day’s chaos, a team of highly skilled professionals was assembled in less than eight hours to demolish the building. How? This time frame in itself is remarkable: hours, not days. How? There were fires on the upper floors.

The team clearly had the protection of the authorities. They blew out the foundations of an insured building. By common law, a fire department can legally destroy property to keep a fire from spreading. I ask: “To where?” For more details and an amazing video, click here.

[You will probably not be able to turn off the first video if you watch the first five minutes. If you’re at work, you are now forewarned. The report is from Alex Jones, or as he is known by cognoscenti on the Left, “Rush Limbaugh’s Rush Limbaugh.”]

This is not the sort of thing that the American public wants to hear. So, they do not hear it in the mainstream media.

Enough of this information was made public by mainstream media sources so that it’s not easy to call this a systematic cover-up. But because people have very short memories, it is not necessary to engineer a complete blackout to cover up something very big — in this case, 47 stories. It is only necessary to ignore certain evidence and refrain from asking certain questions. Like the dog that Sherlock Holmes observed in retrospect — the dog that did not bark — so is the question that never gets asked by investigators. Why doesn’t it get asked?

I am making a simple point. An event seen by millions of people so recently can still be dropped down the memory hole. Embarrassing questions are not aired before the general public. No one asks: “What is that elephant doing here?”

It is time to consider a far less visible elephant.

Part 1


The identity of Deep Throat is modern journalism’s greatest unsolved mystery. It has been said that he may be the most famous anonymous person in U.S. history.

This is the assessment of John O’Connor, author of the July, 2005 Vanity Fair article, “I’m the Guy they Called Deep Throat.” If this really was modern journalism’s greatest unsolved mystery, then modern journalists have got way too much time on their hands.

Deep Throat. For days after Vanity Fair‘s story appeared (May 31), the media were filled with Deep Throat stories. “Washington’s oldest mystery is solved!”

This shows that Washington is still as dumb as a post, and has a newspaper to prove it: The Washington Post.

Deep Throat was a sideshow in 1973, and still is.

Deep Throat never had what it took to unseat Richard Nixon. Neither did Woodward and Bernstein. One man did. He remains anonymous.

In the initial contacts with Woodward, Deep Throat merely confirmed what W&B had dug up on their own. He was not a supplier of new information until much later.

The real supplier of new information never talked with Woodward or Bernstein. They never knew he was the reason why all the President’s men sank with the Good Ship R. M. Nixon. He was buried so deeply in the bowels of the government that I call him Deep Sphincter.


W. Mark Felt was on target when he told Woodward to follow the money. He did historians a great favor by getting this phrase into the English language — not that most salaried historians are willing to do this. But anyone who is trying to uncover the source of crucial decisions ought to begin with the trail of digits in our era that we call money.

Nevertheless, this is only one avenue from the here and now back to square one. The other major trail is the loyalty trail. This procedure is what I have called “follow the oath.” When we discover to whom or to what a man has sworn allegiance, we learn a great deal about him. We must also look carefully at the sanctions, both positive and negative, that is imposed to maintain his allegiance.

When men keep their mouths shut about a really big secret, there has to be fear in the picture. Men love to brag about the big deals they have been a part of. Eventually, they feel compelled to take credit. W. Mark Felt held back for over three decades, but finally he went public. “Yes, I did it. I’m the one!” It is the cry of the four-year-old on the day care playground: “Look at me!” Call it a Felt need.

The man who takes his biggest secret to the grave was a serious player, or at least a serious observer.

He who exposes a damaging secret is hailed by the enemies of his victim and is vilified by the victim’s supporters. Mr. Felt is now experiencing both traditional responses, which come with the territory. His critics cry:

“Disloyalty!” Nixon’s enemies cry: “Higher duty!”

Different strokes from different folks.

But the person who actually made the difference — the one who brought Nixon down — says nothing. The press says nothing. The greatest Watergate secret of all remains a secret.


Woodward and Bernstein kept writing stories about the Committee to Re-Elect the President. Nixon’s team was not very forward-looking when they chose this name for their organization. Its acronym later became CREEP. (The other possible acronym, CRP, also created PR problems.) I challenge readers to come up with a real-world organization with a negative acronym to match CREEP. CREEP crept on behalf of a man universally regarded by his enemies as a creep. CREEP was perfect for the newspapers.

Nevertheless, tracing money into CREEP and back out to one of the burglars was not the same as tracing anything illegal to Nixon. Nixon could always say that he had nothing to do with the minions at CREEP. This is what every senior decision-maker says whenever some unsavory machination hits the headlines. It works most of the time.

The minions are either loyal or afraid. When threatened with serious negative sanctions, they may reply:

“I was just following orders!” But these unwritten orders always seem to have originated no higher than the rank of staff sergeant or its organizational equivalent. Somehow, with the exception of My Lai, such orders do not originate at the commissioned officer level, and never at the field-grade officer level. There is always a break in the chain of command, usually quite low on the chain. The only exception is when a nation loses a war. The Nuremburg trials followed the orders all the way up. But these post-World War II trials were unique in the history of peacetime.

Nixon lost the Watergate war. Yet in the midst of that war, he was in a safe position with respect to CREEP’s flow of funds. Here, he knew what he was doing. He was out of the loop. The Democrats had almost succeeded in scuttling him on the payola issue in the 1952 Presidential campaign, and only his deservedly famous “Checkers” speech saved him. Overnight, Checkers became the most famous dog in American political history, the dog that saved Nixon’s career. Eisenhower had been prepared to drop Nixon from the ticket, but that speech went to the hearts of Republicans in the heartland. Nixon survived. Never again would he let himself be implicated in wrongdoing by this sign on his desk: “The bucks stop here.”

Yet in August, 1974, Nixon resigned. How did this happen?


Two events led to Nixon’s removal: one public, one private.

The first event was the televised admission by Alexander Butterfield, under questioning by a Republican Senate staff lawyer, Fred Dalton Thompson (later to become an actor who often played a Senator, then a U.S. Senator, and now an actor who plays the New York City District Attorney on Law and Order), that Nixon had bugged the White House. The Secret Service had tape-recorded all of Nixon’s conversations, beginning in early 1971. By this public admission, he became the most important of all the public players.

Butterfield had been Deputy Assistant to the President. He had been recommended by Haldeman. He worked with the Secret Service on security matters. He had been in charge of secretly taping the Cabinet meetings.

In late 1972, he had been appointed the head of the Federal Aviation Administration. He remained the head of the FAA after Nixon resigned.

The recording system went on and off automatically throughout the Executive Office Building (1) whenever it detected a voice, if (2) the system previously detected Nixon’s electronic locator, which the Secret Service made him wear. When he was in a room and someone started speaking, a tape recorder came on. Again, this is according to the official site. It is also what Butterfield told a conference in 2003. A transcript is posted on-line, and it is a fascinating document.

This automated system was not the recording system used in the Cabinet Room. There, the system had to be activated manually. Butterfield had been in charge of the manual taping system until he went to the FAA.

On July 13, 1973, he told Senate staff committee members about the tapes. He testified in public on July 16, 1973. He was of course asked about the tapes. He admitted everything.

Chief of Staff Alexander Haig ordered the Secret Service to remove the system on July 18. Let me check my calendar: testimony on July 16; removal on July 18 . . . lighting-fast thinking by a retired 4-star general!

Think about this chronology:

The first bug was planted in the Democrats’ office on May 28, 1972.

The bungled break-in took place on June 17.

On August 1, the Washington Post reported a $25,000 check, earmarked for the Nixon campaign, that had been deposited in the bank account of one of the burglars.

On October 10, the Post reported that the FBI had determined that the break-in was part of a campaign of spying conducted by the President’s re-election effort.

The tape-recording system was removed on July 18, 1973, at Haig’s request, not Nixon’s, according to the government’s official site for the tapes.

Somehow, it had not occurred to Nixon that the tapes might be incriminating. “Let the good tapes roll!”

Men later went to jail because of what was on those tapes. Some of them knew that the tape machine was running when they spoke the words that sent them to jail. Haldeman knew. Others may have known. Yet we are supposed to believe that they never told Nixon, “Turn off the tape recorder.”

I have my choice of conclusions: (1) Nixon and his assistants simply forgot about the recorders; (2) they thought that no one would gain access to the tapes before the statute of limitations ran out for them, and they cared nothing about future historians’ assessments of their personal integrity; (3) Nixon did not have control over the recordings.

Most commentators say #2 was the reason: Nixon’s desire for accurate records for writing his memoirs. It turns out that recorders had been installed by Eisenhower, Kennedy, and Johnson. We have learned that Roosevelt had a primitive recording system installed. Johnson had advised Nixon to start recording his conversations. He told him that he was using tapes to write his memoirs, which were published in 1971. Nixon at first resisted the suggestion, but in early 1971, he asked Butterfield install the system.

From the day he had the system installed, he lost control over his Presidency. He was leaving a record of everything he said.

Butterfield and others have pointed out that Nixon was incapable of operating any mechanical device. This was why Butterfield had to turn on the recorder in the Cabinet room. This was also why Rose Mary Woods got blamed for the missing 18« minutes. No one close to the President believed that Nixon could have erased it by himself.

This means that Nixon from the beginning knew that he would have to have the tapes transcribed by a third party. Whatever was on them, a third party would know.

Also, he would have to listen to a staggering number of tapes before getting any section transcribed. In less than three years, there were 3,700 hours of tapes. There would have been over three more years of taping on the day Haig removed the system.

In his post-Presidency writing, how could he identify the tape of a specific meeting? By coordinating his appointments calendar with the dates on the tapes. If he could do this, so could the person in charge of the tapes, if he had access to the appointments calendar. The Secret Service controlled the tapes, which were stored in a room under the Oval office. Nixon did not personally control the tapes.

There was one simple way that he could get away with “I am not a crook”: remove all the tape recorders and destroy all the tapes — assuming there was only one copy. Haig finally pulled the plug. Too late. At that point, destroying the tapes would have been obstruction of justice. On June 18, 1972, it would not have been.

Someone was determined to keep those tapes rolling. Nixon did not remove the system; Haig did, on his own authority, the official version says. But, by then, it was legally too late to destroy the tapes.


Beginning no later than Nixon’s resignation, a competent reporter would have followed more than the money.

He would have pursued these questions:

Who had something to gain from the tapes?

What did he have to gain?

Who had the power to leave the tapes running?

How did he gain this power?

To whom was he loyal? Why?

What sanctions were over him?

Why did Nixon’s senior staff talk on tape?

Why didn’t they say: “The tapes go or I do”?

What sanctions did they face for quitting?

To whom were they loyal?

The tapes provided enormous leverage against Nixon.

The question is: For whom? And this: Starting when?

After Butterfield’s testimony, Nixon’s opponents had far more leverage than before, but it was still insufficient leverage. They had to get access to all of the tapes, but the courts refused to grant this. Congress was not allowed to go on a fishing expedition. In effect, the prosecutors had to have a warrant issued by the court, meaning Judge Sirica. They had to be able to identify specific discussions related to suspected crimes, not discussions in general.

Nixon soon invoked “executive privilege.” The courts were unwilling to give carte blanche to the two Watergate committees to turn their staffs loose on those tapes — not unless the Supreme Court authorized this. The Supreme Court did not do this until after the lower courts and Congress had access to the crucial segments of the tapes.


We come now to the second event, which was a connected series of events: the heart of the Watergate investigation.

This is not the heart of Watergate as such. We still do not know for sure why the Plumbers installed bugs in the office of the Democratic National Committee. We do not know why they came back weeks later.

But the most important thing we do not know is the name of the inside man at the White House.

There was an inside man. On him, the outcome of the investigation pivoted. Yet I know of only three people who have ever raised this issue in print. I am one of them: third in a row.

I first wrote about this in 1987. That was 14 years after the event, or, more accurately, a related series of events. A copy of my brief discussion is on-line. It is a section from the bibliography of my book, Conspiracy: A Biblical View.

I have never been contacted by any historian or any journalist regarding what you are about to read. I sent it to the professor whose journalism students did the famous investigation of Deep Throat a few years ago. They jointly concluded that he was Fred Fielding. The professor never replied.

Here is the story that Woodward and Bernstein somehow missed, though it was the central fact — not Deep Throat’s revelations — in Nixon’s defeat and their subsequent fame. Here is what I wrote in the 1996 revised edition of my 1987 book.

The Watergate investigation became a media extravaganza that seemed to elevate the reporter’s calling to national status. Yet some of the details of the Watergate investigation raise questions that only hard-core conspiracy buffs ever ask. For instance, we all know that Nixon was brought down because of the White House audiotapes. But he refused to give up these tapes in one fell swoop. In fact, not until 1996 were scholars given access to these tapes. Only under specific demands by government prosecutors did Nixon turn over limited sections of those tapes. Gary Allen in 1976 summarized the findings of Susan Huck’s February, 1975, article in American Opinion, the publication of the John Birch Society. Allen wrote in The Kissinger File (p. 179):

Consider the fantastic detail involved in the requests. On August 14th, [1973] for example, Judge Sirica demanded the “entire segment of tape on the reel identified as ‘White House telephone start 5/25/72 (2:00 P.M.) (skipping 8 lines) 6/2:3/72 (2:50 P.M.) (832) complete.'” I don’t know what all the identifying numbers mean — but you have to agree that only somebody very familiar with the tapes would know. These boys knew precisely what to look for! Here is another sample request:

January 8, 1973 from 4:05 to 5:34 P.M. (E.O.B.)

at approximately 10 minutes and 15 seconds into the conversation, a segment lasting 6 minutes and 31 seconds:at approximately 67 minutes into the conversation, a segment lasting 11 minutes;at approximately 82 minutes and 15 seconds into the conversation, a segment lasting 5 minutes and 31 seconds.

Only Susan Huck asked the obvious question: How did the prosecutors know precisely when these incriminating discussions took place? There are only two possible answers: (1) someone with access to the tapes inside the White House was leaking the information; (2) there was a secret back-up set of the tapes in the hands of someone who was leaking the information. Leaked information would have been illegal for prosecutors to use in court, yet this was how they brought Nixon down.

To my knowledge, no reporter or professional historian has ever bothered to follow up on this remarkable oddity, or even mention it. Nobody ever asked: “What person was in charge of storing those tapes?” It took one of the least known and most diligent conspiracy historians (Ph.D. in geography) even to mention the problem. Strange? Not at all. Normal, in fact. Such is the nature of history and the writing of history whenever the events in question point to the operation of powerful people whose private interests are advanced by what appear to be honorable public activities that cost a lot of money.

This is the elephant in the West Wing. This is what no one discussed at the time, let alone now.

More to come in my next article.

June 8, 2005

Gary North [send him mail] is the author of Mises on Money. Visit He is also the author of a free multi-volume series, An Economic Commentary on the Bible.

Copyright © 2005

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