In a startling tape recording of a conversation between Richard Nixon and his chief of staff H R Haldeman, with Henry Kissinger present, the president ordered Haldeman to clean out the Brookings Institute safe. The date of the conversation is July 1, 1971.
In a tirade against the press and lawyers, Nixon ordered Haldeman to find a lawyer by noon, and one who is a "son of a bitch" who is just as "tough as I am." He instructed him not to use a "high minded" lawyer like Ehrlichman - they couldn't get the job done.
In vintage Nixon paranoia, he vented against lawyers who were worried about "legal niceties" and who had no idea about how to handle politics and public relations, of which John Mitchell was an example.
At the end of the brief conversation he made it very clear that he wanted "the Brookings Institute safe cleaned out." While out of context Nixon's orders could be misconstrued as burglary, we believe that he was looking for legal means to get access to its contents. He ranted about a conspiracy and winning a case in the press. We are not certain what it was in the safe which so annoyed him, but we surmise that it was related to leaks.
Nixon Tapes, Conversation Number 534-2(3), July 1, 1971, nixonlibrary.gov, accessed 5/25/2015
Copyright 2015 Tony Bonn. All rights reserved.