New Technology Takes Aim at Notorious Watergate Tape Gap

Friday, November 20, 2009
President Nixon's secretary, Rose Mary Woods, pretending to show how she erased 18 1/2 minutes of audio tape

Specialists at the National Archives believe they may be able to finally fill the “gap” left on a key Watergate tape made by President Richard Nixon’s secret recording system. Three days after the infamous June 1972 break-in of the Democratic National Committee’s office in Washington, DC, Nixon and his chief of staff, Bob Haldeman, held a meeting in the Oval Office. More than 18 minutes of the tape recording of that meeting were erased by the White House, and a large chunk of Haldeman’s handwritten notes also were lost.

But now forensic experts are planning to employ the latest technology capable of locating “ghosts” hidden in Haldeman’s other notes that were taken after those that disappeared. Using hyperspectral imaging, experts can examine pieces of paper that originally were on the same pad as those sheets preceding them and determine what was written on the pages no longer in existence. Some believe the technology could recover as much as 10 to 12 pages of missing notes, and better inform historians and the public about what was said between the president and his top aide.
-Noel Brinkerhoff
Watergate 'Gap' Mystery to be Solved? (By Clayton Sandell and Huma Khan, ABC News)


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