Did Any Good Come of Watergate?
On June 17, 1972, when a security guard found five men in an office at the Watergate complex in Washington, he opened a door not just on a break-in by Nixon operatives at Democratic National Committee headquarters, but also on a network of presidential criminality and deceit that shocked the world.
There were slush funds and hush money, wiretaps and burglars, cover-ups and corruption, an “enemies list” and “dirty tricks.” These tactics were used in the name of national security to fight antiwar activists and attack political enemies.
After the Watergate scandal, there were calls for greater regulation of political fund-raising, stricter ethical codes, more aggressive news media and more independent prosecution of official misconduct, as well as scorn for government secrecy and surveillance. But have those notions survived the last four decades?