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USM's Chris Beam recalls Watergate tapes in Portland Press Herald

photo of Chris Beam

USM's Chris Beam, an adjunct professor of history, talked about his own experience processing vast amounts of the Watergate tapes for the National Archives in on opinion piece for the Portland Press Herald.

The op-ed was published on June 17, the 45th anniversary of the Watergrate break-in.

"For 4½ years, I sat at a tape playing machine essentially eavesdropping on the daily conversations that Richard Nixon had with all those he met in the Oval Office and a couple of other White House locations," Beam wrote. "In all, I estimate I have listened to about 1,500 hours of the estimated 3,700 hours of conversations in the entire collection.

If President Trump records his White House meetings, any recordings will be valuable, Beam wrote. After all, the Nixon tapes turned Watergate "from a suspicious set of events into a full-blown constitutional crisis."

The centrality of the Nixon tapes to the investigation of the Watergate scandal underscores the importance of determining whether President Trump recorded his conversations – something investigators will no doubt look into," wrote Beam.

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