Tapes Will Shed Light on Nixon White House

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NEW YORK: After a 20-year court fight, more than 3,000 hours of secretly recorded Nixon White House tapes may be soon be made public. The first 200 hours to be released at the settlement of litigation will deal with Watergate, misuse of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Central Intelligence Agency and the Internal Revenue Service, reports the New York Times. Some 63 hours of the tapes have already been released as part of the Watergate inquiry. But Nixon had for years sought to block the release of the rest until all passages that might violate his privacy were cut out. After a decade logging the tapes, National Archives workers eventually cut 775 hours of passages deemed too personal, leaving some 3,200 hours to be made public. The release was prompted by a 1992 suit by University of Wisconsin historian Stanley Kutler. The Times reports that a settlement between Kutler, the National Archives, the Justice Department and Mr. Nixon's legal executors may be reached as early as next month. The tapes should shed light on the political intrigues which led to president Nixon's downfall. Christopher Beam, an archivist at the National Archives who spent five years logging hundreds of tapes, says they "are fascinating, the best record of the Nixon administration, and a godsend for historians, not only of Watergate, but domestic politics, the 1972 election, the whole area of foreign policy and diplomacy."