Chasing Shadows: The Nixon Tapes, the Chennault Affair, and the Origins of Watergate

Chasing Shadows: The Nixon Tapes, the Chennault Affair, and the Origins of Watergate

by Ken Hughes
Chasing Shadows: The Nixon Tapes, the Chennault Affair, and the Origins of Watergate


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Chasing Shadows: The Nixon Tapes, the Chennault Affair, and the Origins of Watergate by Ken Hughes

The break-in at Watergate and the cover-up that followed brought about the resignation of Richard Nixon, creating a political shockwave that reverberates to this day. But as Ken Hughes reveals in his powerful new book, in all the thousands of hours of declassified White House tapes, the president orders a single break-in--and it is not at the Watergate complex. Hughes’s examination of this earlier break-in, plans for which the White House ultimately scrapped, provides a shocking new perspective on a long history of illegal activity that prolonged the Vietnam War and was only partly exposed by the Watergate scandal.

As a key player in the University of Virginia’s Miller Center Presidential Recordings Program, Hughes has spent more than a decade developing and mining the largest extant collection of transcribed tapes from the Johnson and Nixon White Houses. Hughes’s unparalleled investigation has allowed him to unearth a pattern of actions by Nixon going back long before 1972, to the final months of the Johnson administration. Hughes identified a clear narrative line that begins during the 1968 campaign, when Nixon, concerned about the impact on his presidential bid of the Paris peace talks with the Vietnamese, secretly undermined the negotiations through a Republican fundraiser named Anna Chennault. Three years after the election, in an atmosphere of paranoia brought on by the explosive appearance of the Pentagon Papers, Nixon feared that his treasonous--and politically damaging--manipulation of the Vietnam talks would be exposed. Hughes shows how this fear led to the creation of the Secret Investigations Unit, the "White House Plumbers," and Nixon’s initiation of illegal covert operations guided by the Oval Office. Hughes’s unrivaled command of the White House tapes has allowed him to build an argument about Nixon that goes far beyond what we think we know about Watergate.

Chasing Shadows is also available as a special e-book that links to the massive collection of White House tapes published by the Miller Center through Rotunda, the electronic imprint of the University of Virginia Press. This unique edition allows the reader to move seamlessly from the book to the recordings’ expertly rendered transcripts and to listen to audio files of the remarkable--and occasionally shocking--conversations on which this dark chapter in American history would ultimately turn.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780813937830
Publisher: University of Virginia Press
Publication date: 08/18/2015
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 240
Sales rank: 670,044
Product dimensions: 5.90(w) x 8.90(h) x 1.30(d)
Age Range: 18 Years

About the Author

Ken Hughes is a researcher at the University of Virginia’s Miller Center Presidential Recordings Program. His work as a journalist has appeared in the New York Times Magazine, the Washington Post, the Boston Globe Magazine, and Salon.

Table of Contents

Introduction ix

Chasing Shadows 1

The Chennault Affair 4

Johnson v. Humphrey 19

Nixon v. Nixon 25

On the Case 37

"Hold On" 45

Election Eve 52

"I Let You Down" 55

"Time to Blow the Whistle" 57

The United Front 62

"Candid and Forthright" 63

The Man Who Knew Too Little 65

"All the Documents" 67

The Huston Plan 71

Nixon Tapes 78

Tricias Wedding 79

The Pentagon Papers 81

The Secret Bombing of Cambodia 83

Leaks 92

The Wrong Men 94

"Charge Gelb" 96

LBJ Cracks the Case 98

Ellsberg's Decision 99

Fear of a Damaging Disclosure 104

Legal Action 105

The Diem Chapter 110

"Destroy the Times" 112

Illegal Action 113

"A Natural Enemy" 114

Lord High Executioner 116

Supreme Court Rules 117

1969 Documents 118

"Break In and Take It Out" 120

"Rumors and Reports of a Conspiracy" 121

Imitation of the Enemy 126

Special Investigations Unit 127

"All These Harvard People" 131

The Economic Conspiracy Theory 133

"Are They All Jews?" 137

"They're All Over" 139

"Somebody Sits on High" 140

Counting Ivy Leaguers 141

Counting Jews 142

Above the Law 145

"Pretty Much Carte Blanche" 147

"One Little Operation" 150

The CIA Bluff 150

The Smoking Gun 152

"I Don't Kiss and Tell" 157

Dean Testifies 158

The X Envelope 160

The White House Tapes 162

Acknowledgments 173

Notes 175

Index 219

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