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The Watergate Scandal involved a number of illegal activities that were designed to help President Richard Nixon win re-election. The scandal involved burglary, wiretapping, campaign financing violations, and the use of government agencies to harm political opponents. A major part of the scandal was also the cover-up of all these illegal actions. "Watergate, however, differed from most previous political scandals because personal greed apparently did not play an important role. Instead Watergate attacked one of the chief features of Democracy - free and open elections" (Worldbook 1).
The Watergate Scandal got its name from the Watergate Complex in Washington D.C. This large office building was the home of the Democratic National Headquarters, and the site of the break-in that began the largest scandal in American Politics. However, even before the break-in, President Nixon had begun illegal operations.
President Nixon had created a special investigation unit to prevent the leaking of confidential documents to the public. He did this after a number of Defense Department papers were released to the public concerning President Nixon's paranoia over the public's criticism of his Vietnam War policies (Owens 1).
The "Plumbers", as they were nicknamed, were headed by two of Nixon's top aides, G. Gordon Liddy and E. Howard Hunt. In order to prevent all information leaks, the "Plumbers" investigated the private lives of Nixon's political enemies and critics. The White House rationalized the actions of the plumbers by saying that they were protecting National Security.
The actual Watergate Scandal began on June 17, 1972, with the arrest of five men for breaking into the Democratic Party's National Headquarters located in the Watergate Complex in Washington D.C. The five men were part of the Committee to Re-Elect the President (CREEP). They were attempting to fix a broken phone tap that they had installed about a month before. The five men were charged with burglary and wiretapping. Throughout the next few months this minor break-in turned into a full blown political scandal.
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