Rosemary Woods
Rosemary Woods - At first glance, a lowly Secretary - On closer inspection; a fang-bearing gatekeeper. (photo: Richard Avedon)

November 6, 1973 – Watergate And The Tale Of Rosemary Woods – The Not-So-Secret-Secret-Tapes

Rosemary Woods

Rosemary Woods – At first glance, a lowly Secretary – On closer inspection; a fang-bearing gatekeeper. (photo: Richard Avedon)

November 6, 1973 – NBC Nightly News (Audio) – Gordon Skene Sound Collection –

November 6, 1973 – A year after his re-election, President Nixon was knee-deep in Watergate wreckage. On this particular day, it was about maneuvering of the so-called “Secret Tapes”. Federal Judge John Sirica was closeted with two of the Presidents lawyers, but no one at that was saying what went on. There was a report that the President might ask Judge Sirica to listen to the tapes and to make summaries of them public. Later on in the day it was learned that Rosemary Woods, President Nixon’s trusted and longtime secretary had some 14 of the tapes in her possession, including six that had been given to her only the day before. Reports also indicated these so-called “Secret Tapes” actually had wide distribution. Despite assurances that the tapes in question remained snugly locked up in the White House vault, it turned out in Court that the tapes had been shuttled back and forth repeatedly between The White House, Maryland and Florida. And that eight of the most important tape delivered by Woods in September had never been returned and that she got six more of them from the vaults only the day before.

Sources close to the White House said the President had been hard at work for over a month going over the tapes and having them reduced to transcribing on paper. When the President went to Key Biscayne, the tapes went with him, placed under armed guard around the clock. Woods was asked by Prosectors if she was hiding the tapes. Woods replied that she thought it in the best interest of all that they not advertise what they doing; there was no chicanery, there were no missing tapes and that the reason for the missing tapes was completely logical.

Judge Sirica commented that perhaps the best person to ask about the tapes and their contents was Rosemary Woods, since she was busy transcribing the recordings for Nixon at the time. Observers felt that if anyone knew anything about the tapes and their contents, it would be Rosemary Woods, and so a movement was afoot to get Woods to testify. And also if it was useful to release all the tapes to the Public. That would remain to be seen.

And that’s just a small portion of what went on, this Tuesday November 6, 1973 as reported by NBC Nightly News.


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