Miller Center

Everybody bugs everybody else

This recording is presented as part of the Watergate Collection.
Date: Friday, September 15, 1972 - 5:24pm - 6:17pm
Participants: Richard Nixon, John Dean, Bob Haldeman
Location: Oval Office


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John Dean: The resources that have been put against this whole investigation to date are really incredible. It's truly a larger investigation than was conducted against--”after inquiry of the JFK assassination.

President Nixon: Oh.

Dean: And good statistics supporting that. [Richard] Kleindienst is going to have a--“

Bob Haldeman: Isn't that ridiculous, though?

Dean: What is?

Haldeman: This silly ass damn thing.

President Nixon: Yeah.

Haldeman: That that kind of resources against--”

President Nixon: Yeah for Christ's sake [unclear].

Haldeman: Who the hell cares?

President Nixon: [Barry] Goldwater put it in context, he said --œWell, for Christ's sake, everybody bugs everybody else. We know that.--

Dean: That was--”that was priceless.

Haldeman: Yeah. I bugged--”

President Nixon: Well, it's true. It happens to be totally true.

Dean: [Unclear.]

President Nixon: We were bugged in '68 on the plane and bugged in '62, even running for Governor. God damnedest thing you ever saw.

Dean: It was a shame that that evidence, the fact that that happened in '68, was never preserved around. I understand that only the former Director [of the FBI, J. Edgar Hoover] had that information. 

Haldeman: No, that's not true.

Dean: There was direct evidence of it?

President Nixon: Yeah.

Haldeman: There's others who have that information.

President Nixon: Others know it.

Dean: [Cartha--Deke--] DeLoach?

President Nixon: DeLoach, right.

Haldeman: I've got some stuff on it, too, in the bombing halt study. --˜Cause it's all--”that's why, the, the stuff I've got we don't ever use--”

President Nixon: The difficulty with using it, of course, is that it reflects on [Lyndon] Johnson.

Dean: Right.

President Nixon: He ordered it. If it weren't for that, I'd use it. Is there any way we could use it without reflecting on Johnson? How--“could we say that the Democratic National Committee did it? No, the FBI did the bugging, though.

Haldeman: That's the problem.

Dean: Is it going to reflect on Johnson or [Hubert] Humphrey?

Haldeman: Johnson. Humphrey didn't do it.

Dean: Humphrey didn't do it?

President Nixon: Oh, hell no.

Haldeman: He was bugging Humphrey, too.

All three men laugh.

President Nixon: Well, God damn.

Haldeman laughs.