The Nation: Why Those Tapes Were Made

Out of thine own mouth will I judge thee.

—Luke 19: 22

One of the continuing ironies of Watergate is that Richard Nixon has become increasingly entangled in the scandal largely through a needless and voluntary creation of his own: his secret system for recording nearly all of his official conversations. If his clandestine tape recorders had not been silently capturing his words and those of his most intimate aides, he probably would not now be in so imminent a danger of impeachment. If he is finally forced out of office, it may well...

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