The Nixon White House Tape Recorders
Now With Key Video Presentations Of The Watergate Story
And Audio Presentations Of What Was On The White HouseTapes
In 1971 President Nixon installed secret audio recording systems in the Oval Office, his hide-out office in the Executive Office Building, the Cabinet Room and at Camp David . Conversations were recorded between February 16th, 1971 through July 18th, 1973. The recorders where installed and maintained by the US Secret Service. There were a total of seven hidden microphones in the Oval Office. Five where in the President's desk and one each on each side of the fireplace mantle. Two microphones were installed under the cabinet room table in front of the President's chair. These hidden mics ran to a place in the basement of the West Wing and connected to a voice activated tape recorder hidden in a locker. Four microphones where also placed in Nixon's Old Executive Office Building Office which connected to another tape recorder in another room. The desk phones in the Oval Office, The Executive Office Building Office and the one in the Lincoln Bedroom in the residence of the White House were connected to tape recording systems and telephone calls where automatically recorded. The recordings were tied to the US Secret Service Presidential Locator system. This was a system that knew where the President was at all times. The voice activated automatic tape recording system only worked when the President was in the room. However, it recorded automatically when Nixon was present. Nixon was not the first President to use a secret recording system. Both Kennedy and Johnson secretly recorded some meetings and phone calls. In fact, secret audio recording goes all the way back to President Franklin D. Roosevelt. The Nixon tapes consist of 2,019 hours of audio recordings.
|Oval Office/White House Recorder |
Sony TC-800B Audio Recorder
The secret White House taping system used a Sony TC-800B audio recording machine like the one on the right. It was a simple machine that was not expensive and cheap tiny Lavalier mics were used that were hidden throughout the Oval office and Nixon's hideout office in the OEB. The recordings were made on thin 0.5-mm tape running at the unusual speed of 15é16 inch per second - half the speed of a cassette recorder. The slow tape speed degrades the recording's already poor signal-to-noise ratio.This accounts for the poor quality of the tapes.
|Nixon's Uher 5000 Tape Recorder |
And The 18.5 Minute Gap
While the recordings were recorded on the Sony TC-800B, Nixon played them back and reviewed them on a Uher 5000. The famous 18.5 minute gap was determined to be caused, not by Rosemary Woods in a transcribing accident, but caused by eight separate erasers.
The Watergate Tapes
The Smoking Gun Tape
"Cancer on the Presidency" Tape
The Nixon Resignation Speech
The FBI Investigation of Watergate
A Close-Up Of The Sony Recorder Model That Was Used To Record White House
Oval Office Conversations In A Locker Below The Oval Office. (See Map Below)
Above photo shows the location of the oval office and the Nixon hide out office where he bugged himself
and the residence where he sat in the Lincoln bedroom and listened to the tapes.
A Photo Of Rose Mary Woods shown how she might have erased the tapes.
A Close-Up Of The Model Of The Uhler Tape Recorder/ Player That Rose Mary Woods
Used That Produced the 18.5 Minute Gap. This Is Also The Same Model Rumored To
Be That Nixon Would Set Alone In The Lincoln Setting Room Upstairs In The White
House To Listen To The Evidence Of The Bugging He Did Of Himself And Others.
The 18 And 1/2 Minute Gap
On the first tape requested from Nixon's secret taping system
The 18 and 1/2 minute gap in the Nixon tapes occurs on tape 342, a meeting on June 20th, 1972 between H.R. Haldeman and President Nixon in the Executive Office Building. This is just three days after the Watergate break-in. As the two talk about assorted matters of concern to the President, there is suddenly an 18 and 1/2 minute gap on the tape. The White House claims the gaps was made accidentally by Rose Marry Woods when she answered the telephone during a period of time she was typing transcripts of the tape. It was later determined that the eraser was made by hitting the erase button nine times.
Watch the YouTube video of Alexander Butterfield
testifying before the senate committee
A Close-up of the Uher 500 Reel-to-Reel Tape Recorder Opened.
Video Presentation By Alexander Butterfield
Alexander Butterfield was The White House assistant That Revealed The
Existence Of The White House Taping System To The Senate Committee
Gives A Presentation On His Events While Working For Nixon
Rose Mary Woods, President Nixon's secretary making the cover of
Time Magazine, Decemeber14, 1973 with a line drawing of the Uhler recorder.
Watch A Video Of The Richard Nixon Funeral
You Can Learn More About The Nixon Tape Recordings from:
The Nixon Presidential Materials Web Site
From The Ralph D. Thomas PI Vintage Collection
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