'The rules' based on Watergate

  1. #1

    Join Date
    Apr 07
    Bluegrass Region

    'The rules' based on Watergate

    There has been various discussion various threads about whether any of the current scandals/conspiracies rises to Watergate level. That is good material for debate. But 'the rules' for both those conducting the activities from within the government and those trying to find out the truth seem to parallel how Watergate went. The movie All The Presidents Men was on Sundance last night and it was interesting watching it and mapping the parallels to the current issues that are in play.

    Using All The Presidents Men to establish 'the rules' here is a list for both sides. Please add and discuss.

    Source link here for below - link.

    The government rules

    1. Cauterize scandal when it is exposed.

    Bob Woodward: Yeah. Does the FBI know what we know? Does the Justice Department? Why haven't they done anything?

    Deep Throat: If it didn't deal directly with the Watergate break-in, they didn't presume.

    2. Deny - carefully.

    Ben Bradlee: All non-denial denials. They doubt our ancestry, but they don't say the story isn't accurate.

    From movie but not in link - Bernstein ask what a real denial is. Bradlee: 'If the start call us .... liars we better circle the wagons.'

    3. Attack the attackers (when the details are wrong).

    From this link - link.

    In the past, the White House had been forced to waffle on most of its explanations about the Post's stories. This time, Nixon's spokesmen jumped all over the Post with both feet. No, said Ron Ziegler at his regular morning press conference, the story wasn’t true. "I personally feel," he said, "that this is shabby journalism by The Washington Post…. It is a blatant effort at character assassination that I do not think has been witnessed in the political process in come time."

    As it turned out, Bernstein and Woodward had the main point right–Haldeman was deeply involved with the slush fund. But they had the details wrong. For this, they paid a heavy price.

    4. Leverage the spooks or ex-spooks.

    Bob Woodward: It's just profile information, mostly. We know, for example, that he works for Mullen and Company, or did work for Mullen and Company, as a writer. He's also a novelist; we know that he works in the office of Charles Colson at the White House...

    Bennett: ...and the CIA.

    Bob Woodward: And the CIA.

    Bennett: Well, if you're conducting that kind of investigation, certainly it comes as no surprise to you that Howard was with the CIA.

    Bob Woodward: No, no surprise at all.

    5. Leverage the Attorney General.

    Deep Throat: [very reluctant tone] The Watergate burglary... it was a Haldeman operation. The whole business was run by Haldeman, the money... everything. It won't be easy getting at him. He was insulated somehow, you'll have to find out how. Mitchell started doing covert stuff before anyone else. The list of the people involved is longer than anyone can imagine. It involves the entire U.S. Intelligence Community. FBI... CIA... Justice... it's incredible.

    6. When the heat is on - resign (for personal reasons).

    Bob Woodward: The story is dry. All we've got are pieces. We can't seem to figure out what the puzzle is supposed to look like. John Mitchell resigns as the head of CREEP, and says that he wants to spend more time with his family. I mean, it sounds like ....., we don't exactly believe that...

    Deep Throat: No, heh, but it's touching. Forget the myths the media's created about the White House. The truth is, these are not very bright guys, and things got out of hand.

    The rules for those investigating:

    1. Follow the money

    Deep Throat: Follow the money.

    Bob Woodward: What do you mean? Where?
    Deep Throat: Oh, I can't tell you that.
    Bob Woodward: But you could tell me that.
    Deep Throat: No, I have to do this my way. You tell me what you know, and I'll confirm. I'll keep you in the right direction if I can, but that's all. Just... follow the money.

    2. Build from the bottom and work up

    Deep Throat: You've done worse than let Haldeman slip away: you've got people feeling sorry for him. I didn't think that was possible. In a conspiracy like this, you build from the outer edges and go step by step. If you shoot too high and miss, everybody feels more secure. You've put the investigation back months.

    Many of these 'rules' are fairly easy to see in the IRS and Rosen/AP scandals so far.

    Are these Watergate-level scandals? Maybe, maybe not. But the actions look a lot like a script from a movie. A movie whose script was almost written verbatim over time in the Washington Post.

  2. #2

    Join Date
    Nov 01
    Martinsville, Virginia

    Great piece. And I loved the book and movie. Always have.

    But it doesn't tell the whole story on Watergate. A LOT of people uncovered the story and from the inside as well. Nice read from 1974 that noted the Prosecutors, Grand Jury and others that helped start the downfall by leaking CREP and the Burglary.

    Woodward, Bernstein and Watergate

    Here is a timeline that gives due diligence to Woodstein but also notes the Judiciary Committee's pursuit of the trail in public hearings. It also helped to have John Dean's testimony. Sam Ervin's pursuit in the hearings was a large part of it and Archibald Cox's willingness to subpoena the tapes. Lots of people came together to get to the truth.

    I wish it were so now.

  3. #3

    Join Date
    Apr 07
    Bluegrass Region

    You mean Woodward and Bernstein did not take out Tricky Dick and the gang all by themselves?

    Sort of reminds you of the movie Charlie Wilson's War where Charlie took down the Russians in Afghanistan all by himself...

    Woodward and Bernstein, along with Bradlee and the Post, did keep the story alive long enough for the pressure to build. The ability to wait these things out past the normal news cycle and attention span of the general public is a powerful way to get away with a conspiracy/scandal and associated cover-up. A tactic in full play now.

    I think the doggedness of the investigative functions of the media or congress or even bloggers and internet today is a problem to those committing the acts. It takes a lot of energy to maintain the 'cloaking' of the actions. Hence Cummings saying the IRS scandal was 'done' and isolated to the Cincinnati office and they should move on. It was an obligatory attempt to shut down the prying eyes quickly.

    Cummings: Cincinnati employees say their actions started IRS targeting efforts - The Washington Post