Who or What caused the 18½ Minute Gap?

June 16, 2015
  • Rose Woods admitted to accidentally erasing the beginning of the June 20th tape, when it was not thought to be part of the original subpoena – but not a full 18 minutes.
  • When the full gap was discovered, Buzhardt informed Jaworski and asked for time to investigate. Jaworski, however, insisted on informing Sirica – who chose to make the gap public that very afternoon. (This sequence is described in Jaworski’s own book). Sirica’s action certainly ended any chance of the defense team finding the culprit before the act became known.
  • The records indicate that Nixon was never near that particular tape. The only ones with access were Buzhardt, Woods and Steve Bull.
  • Technicians have reported since that the tape shows evidence of eight or possibly nine specific erasures.
  • The tape recorder, a Uher 5000, had a broken bridge rectifier, which certainly caused it to buzz and some believe could have caused the erasure(s). We got two letters from Hi-Fi clubs saying they had had the same “tape destroying” experience with their models.
  • While there was an Evidentiary Hearing before Judge Sirica lasting seventy-eight days, followed by a grand jury investigation, no one was ever indicted. One reason is that the so-called tape experts sent the machine out for repairs, where it was cleaned and the bridge rectifier replaced. When it was returned, the buzz was no longer evident –so the evidence necessary for any prosecution had been destroyed.
  • It is noteworthy, however, that Dean devoted Appendix A in his latest book to trying to explain why the gap became such a cause celebre. He dismisses it as “historically insignificant” and says whatever was said could have been reconstructed from contemporaneous sources, mainly the President’s and Haldeman’s daily diaries, which indicate nothing of significance happening that day.
  • We will never know for sure, since almost everyone who could possibly have been involved has passed away. That said, I agree with Dean: It really doesn’t matter anyway.

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