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Carl Bernstein

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40 Years After Watergate, Nixon Was Far Worse than We Thought

The Watergate reporters look back.

In the course of his five-and-a-half-year presidency, beginning in 1969, Nixon launched and managed five successive and overlapping wars — against the anti-Vietnam War movement, the news media, the Democrats, the justice system and, finally, against history itself. All reflected a mind-set and a pattern of behavior that were uniquely and pervasively Nixon’s: a willingness to disregard the law for political advantage, and a quest for dirt and secrets about his opponents as an organizing principle of his presidency.

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The CIA and the Media

Throughout the ’50s and ’60s, media outlets including the New York Times and CBS News provided the CIA with information and cover for agents. Then everyone decided to pretend it had never happened.