Compared: Nixon/Watergate vs. Obama/Spygate
By June of 1972, virtually every pollster with enough breath to fog a mirror predicted President Nixon was going to win reelection in November, 1972. So why did five men, working for the committee to reelect President Nixon, break into the Watergate headquarters of the Democratic National Committee on June 17, 1972? Who sent them and why are still debated. But, for sure, President Nixon tried to use the FBI and the CIA to cover-up any connection between his reelection campaign and the Watergate crime.
In November, 1972, President Nixon ended up winning the Electoral College over his Democrat opponent, Senator George McGovern, by a margin of 520 to 17 and by a popular vote margin of 60.7-percent to 37.5-percent. So, why Watergate?
Fate is fickle and Fate may have decided the demise of President Nixon. If FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover. (No friend of Richard Nixon) had still been alive and functioning on June 17, 1972, Nixon would probably have known better than try to suborn a Hoover-led investigation. But Hoover died on May 2, 1972, throwing the leadership of the FBI into disarray.
To replace Hoover, acting Attorney General, Richard Kleindienst, passed over Hoover’s number-two man, Mark Felt. Instead, Kleindienst appointed his own assistant, L. Patrick Gray, -- a law enforcement novice -- to head the FBI. Later, Mark Felt became the "deep throat" who revealed to Washington Post reporters, Robert Woodward and Carl Bernstein, each step Nixon was taking to cover-up the Watergate crime. Mark Felt, for whatever his personal reasons, righteously exposed President Nixon’s attempts to obstruct justice.
So, what is the difference between Nixon/Watergate and the unraveling Obama/Spygate? While both scandals involved their respective Departments of Justice and FBI officials, Nixon was never able to get the CIA to provide "national security" cover for the Watergate break-in. Despite pressure from Nixon’s domestic policy chief, John Ehrlichman, acting CIA director, Lt. General Vernon Walters, and Clandestine Service chief, Richard Helms, refused to involve the CIA in the cover-up.
But from what we are learning from the House Intelligence Committee and from the Department of Justice Inspector General, Obama/Spygate may reveal attempts by the Obama White House to: 1. Suborn FBI investigations of Hillary Clinton’s handling of classified documents and of the Clinton Foundation. 2. Undermine the presidential campaign of Donald J. Thump and 3. Prevent President Trump from governing effectively.
According to published reports, the source of most of the government skullduggery was John Brennan; President Obama’s pick to head the CIA. Apparently, Brennan organized an anti-Trump "working group" at CIA headquarters that included then Director of National Intelligence, James Clapper, then FBI Director, James Comey, and FBI agents Peter Strzok, and Lisa Page.
Another difference between Nixon/Watergate and Obama/Spygate is that Nixon fired Archibald Cox, the special counsel appointed by Congress to investigate the Watergate break-in. Thus far, President Trump has refused to fire special counsel Robert Mueller.
While there are differences between Nixon/Watergate and Obama/Spygate, the two scandals are similar in that both of them involve attacks on the fundamental processes of a free society, the way we go about the election of those entrusted with the government of the United States of America.
©2018. William Hamilton.
Nationally syndicated columnist, William Hamilton, is a laureate of the Oklahoma Journalism Hall of Fame, the Nebraska Aviation Hall of Fame, the Colorado Aviation Hall of Fame, and the Oklahoma University Army ROTC Wall of Fame. In 2015, he was named an Outstanding Alumnus of the University of Nebraska. Dr. Hamilton is the author of The Wit and Wisdom of William Hamilton: the Sage of Sheepdog Hill, Pegasus Imprimis Press (2017). "Central View," can also be seen at: www.central-view.com.
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