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.