The Watergate Bug, 1970's
And The Watergate Audio Tapes

The hardware material comes from the collection of James Greenwold owner of Tactical Surveillance Inc of Chippewa Falls, WI. Through several sources, he has verified that this is the type of bug (rumored to be one of three actual units) used by the Watergate burglars in their planting of bugs in the Democratic National Headquarters. It has been acquired by Ralph Thomas and the Spy And Private-Eye Museum as a historical relic. Although the bug is in nonworking condition, it's quite interesting.

If you can recall, the burglars went back in because the bugs where not working (so the story goes). Anyway, the top photo is close ups of the actual unit, (The transceiver and control shell) and the below is a photo of all of the receiver and tone control module positioned at the listening post. The “on” button was pushed on the tone control to activate the bug. The “off” button was used to shut it down to save battery and avoid sweep detection. It's hard to believe, but the planting of this type of equipment brought down the Nixon administration.

You Can Click Here To See Close Up Photos Of The
Watergate Bug Along With It's History And How It Worked

Aside from the actual bug, President Nixon was covertly recording conversations in the oval office with his staff and others. The recordings were secret and very few people knew about them. The Nixon secret recordings were revealed by Alexander Porter Butterfield who was a White House staff member when he gave testimony about the secret taping system during the televised US Senate Watergate hearings. The senate hearings mesmerized the nation and they were covered by television gavel to gavel. By happenstance Ralph Thomas, owner and developer of the Spy And Private-Eye Museum, was setting in the audience of the hearing room the day Butterfield testified that there was a secret tape recording system in the White House. At the time, Thomas was in his 20's. The tapes were of course, subpoenaed and Nixon quickly refused to release them. The Nixon administration fought a legal battle on the release of the tapes recordings and it went all the way to the US Supreme Court. The US Supreme Court ruled that Nixon must release the tapes. The tapes revealed Nixon's knowledge and cover up of Watergate and brought down his Presidency. You can listen to key Nixon Watergate Tapes by clicking on the links below.

The Watergate Tapes
Audio Links From The Spy And Private-Eye Museum

Discussion Of Bugs Tape

Friday, September 15, 1972
White House Oval Office
President Nixon, H.R.Haldeman, John W. Dean III
About 34 Minutes
Click Here To Play The Wave Recording
A discussion of press treatment of the break-in and lawsuits; discovery of another bug in the DNC; bugs in other political campaigns; DNC lawsuits; Edward Bennett Williams; RNC countersuits; election law violations; Congress; the burglars' civil rights; the Washington Post's TV & Radio licenses; depositions on sex-lives of DNC members.

The Smoking Gun Tape
Friday, June 23, 1972
White House Oval Office
President Nixon And H. R. Haleman
About Eight Minutes
Click Here To Play Wave File of Recording
"The Smoking Gun" conversation: Haldeman and Nixon discuss the progress of the FBI's investigation especially the tracing of the source of money found on the burglars. They propose having the CIA ask the FBI to halt their investigation of the Watergate break-in by claiming that the break-in was a national security operation. This was the final tape release in the final days of the Nixon Presidency that triggered his resignation speech. After this type was released, almost all support for Nixon for an impeachment in the US Senate was gone.

"Cancer on the Presidency" Tape
Wednesday, March 21, 1973
White House Oval Office
President Nixon. H.R.Haldeman. John W. Dean
About 37 Minutes
Click Here To Play Wave File Of Recording
The "Cancer on the Presidency" conversation: Dean recaps the history of the Watergate break-in and subsequent cover-up for the President. They guess at who was responsible for setting the break-in in motion. Dean tells the President that the cover-up is "a cancer on the Presidency" that must be excised or his Presidency would be in danger. Also discussed: references to blackmail, perjury; discussion of paying the burglars off with one million dollars. This tape has John Dean talking about hush money paid to the Watergate burglars to keep them quite. Dean tells Nixon that there is a "cancer" growing around the his Presidency and that these people are going to want a lot more money to remain quite. Nixon asks how much Dean thinks it would cost and dean states that it could cost a million dollars. Nixon is recorded stating that he knew where a million dollars could be obtained.

The Nixon Resignation Speech
Listen to a complete Real Audio tape of Nixon's resignation speech.

The FBI Investigation of Watergate
This is a 126 page FBI report of the FBI Investigation of Watergate in a PDF file.

Other Watergate/Nixon Related Exhibits

Government Exhibit: Security Officer's Log of the Watergate Office Building Showing Entry for June 17, 1972.
Below is a close up of the 1:47 AM log about calling the police from the above book.

Government Exhibit: Address Book of Watergate Burglar Bernard Barker,
Discovered in a Room at the Watergate Hotel, June 18, 1972

In fighting to keep from releasing the tapes, Nixon first released a transcript of the tapes
and went on national TV to explain that. It didn't work.

To The Left Is NIxon's Official Resignation Letter Addressed To The Secretary Of State
On The Right Is The Gerald Ford Pardon Of Richard Nixon
Click Here To See Larger Images Of These Documents

President Nixon meeting with Vice President Ford in the Oval Office informing him
that he was resigning as President the following day.

Almost every newspaper in the country ran huge headlines about Nixon resigning the day of his
television speech and the day after when Ford became President. These newspapers pictured above
are on display in the Spy And Private-eye Museum along with the Watergate bug which you can
see in person in Austin, Texas.

Nixon giving his farewell speech to his staff from the East room of the
White House before leaving the last time as President.

Government Exhibit: The Watergate Complex
Note: The building on the other side of the street was the Howard Johnson's Hotel at the time.

A copy of the original court file charging key members of the Nixon administration with conspiracy,
false statements to a governmental agency, and obstruction of justice.

Aside from the original Watergate Burglars, the top staff of Nixon went to jail. Nixon resigned and Gerald Ford became President. President Ford quickly found that he was spending way to much time on Watergate and Nixon after he took office. There was much talk of bringing criminal charges upon President Nixon. Ford determined that it was best for the nation to issue a full pardon for President Nixon. Below is a photo of President Ford announcing the Pardon to the public on nationwide television.

Signed Nixon Photo, Nixon Inaugural Invitation and Presidential Seal. Materials given to
Ralph Thomas, the developer of the Spy and Private-Eye Museum; in the 1960's after his position
as youth chairman for the Nixon For President Campaign in Central Florida. Thomas was still in high
school at the time. The signed photo was signed in the Oval office. The Invitation is the original invitation
that was mailed to him.

An Ashtray From The Watergate Hotel


This ashtray was in use at the Watergate Hotel during the time period of the Watergate Affair. No one knows who's cigarettes were put out in it!

All The President's Men, the book and the movie by Bob Woodward And Carl Bernstein is about these Washington Post investigative reporter story of how they cracking the case of the Watergate Affair. The above book is a photo of a book once owned by Washington DC private Investigator Nick Beltrante who was called in to debug the offices of the Democratic national Headquarters in the Watergate Building after the burglars where caught. The book is signed by Bob Woodward.

A rather rare collection of Richard Nixon campaign buttons in the Ralph Thomas
collection and part of the Spy And Private-Eye Museum.

Nixon Business Card While President.

G. Gordon Liddy signed photo and a copy of his book, Will G. Gordon Liddy was one of those indicted
and served a prison term for his part in the Watergate Break-in. Today, he has a highly popular radio show.

Nixon The Movie
Nixon was played by Anthony Hopkins in the movie which you can still obtain on video and DVD.

Nixon Elvis Photo-The Most Requested Photograph from The Federal Government

While Nixon was President, Elvis Presley went to the White House, handed a guard at the
gate a hand written letter and then got in to see the President. What Elvis was after was a DEA agent
badge as he was a collector of police badges and generally got them issued with his name on it.
During the meeting Nixon commented, "Why do you dress like that?" Elvis's answer was, "Mr. President,
you have your show and I have mine." Despite the bizarreness of the meeting between the two, the
above photograph quickly became the most requested official governmental photograph from citizens ever.
(Many call the meeting the meeting between Mr. Cool And Mr. Square.) Nixon, by executive order, had Elvis Presley made an honorary DEA agent and his badge was issued to him. You can read more about this and see copies of Elvis's hand-written letters to Nixon as well as a lot of other photos by clicking here.

You can see all this and much more in person by stopping by in Austin, Texas at the Spy And Private-Eye Museum in rooms behind the main showroom of the Spy Exchange And Security Center.

Other Links And Files

News Reels Of The Watergate Affair
Source: The film reels are drawn from contemporary television network news coverage of the events. From The Gerald R, Ford Library and Museum.

Washington Post Achieves Of Published Watergate Stories
If it was not for Carl Bernstein and Bob Woodward and the Washington Post, Watergate and it's cover up might not have come to attention. At first, no one paid much attention to the Watergate Stories than ran in the Washington Post. Slowly, people started paying attention as the rookie new reporters developed more and more facts. In the end, it brought down the Nixon Presidency.

Watergate Tapes Online- A Listener's Guide
A Washington Post page. This site has major Nixon tapes you can listen to.

Watergate Scandal
In depth information on the scandal. Includes a timeline, speech transcripts and other related information.

The Watergate Scandal
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.
Information regarding the Watergate scandal and the presidency of Richard M. Nixon including Deep Throat, Bob Woodward and other information regarding the ...

A Chronology of the Watergate Crisis
Timeline of the Watergate Affair

The Watergate Decade
Photo essay about the Watergate decade.

National Security Archives
Nixon and the FBI: The White House Tapes

Richard M. Nixon And The Watergate Tapes
Selected audio files including the smoking gun tapes. This page has both the audio files
you can listen to as well as transcripts.

The Watergate Affair
Presentation from Information Please Encyclopedia

The Richard Nixon Library And Birthplace
The Richard Nixon Library And Birthplace is the presidential library of President Nixon. His birthplace home is also on the grounds as well as his final resting place. Be sure to take the museum tour. Although the Watergate Affair was a scandal in it's time that brought down the President, Nixon did a lot of good during his administration.

The Watergate Files Exhibit From The Gerald Ford Library And Museum
This is a very good and easy to follow presentation on the Watergate Affair with graphics and great organization.



From The Ralph D. Thomas PI Vintage Collection
P O Box 82148, Austin, Texas 78708
Showroom: 9513 Burnet Road, Austin, Texas 78758
Phone 512.719.3595 Fax 512.719.3594


Go To The Front Page Of The Countermeasures Gear Shop
What's New In Countermeasures Gear Inexpensive Econo Countermeasures
Bug And RF Detection Gear Wiretap Detection/Phone Privacy
Sound Masking/Jamming And Scrambling Computer Countermeasures
Countermeasures TSCM Sweep Kits UV Light And Other Detection Aids
Video Camera Detection Books And Manuals On Countermeasures


What's New Books Equipment Software Links
NAIS Find A PI Certifications Resources Clothing
Badges ID Cards Cop Shop Members Our Staff
PI News PI Daily PI Radio Show Gift Ideas Become A PI

Return To The Spy And Private-Eye Museum Front Page

Copyright: 2006, Thomas Investigative Publications, Inc. All rights reserved.
Thomas Investigative Publications, Trademark, 1981.
National Association Of Investigative Specialists, Inc, Trademark, 1986.
Spy Exchange, Trademark, 1999