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Truth in a Lie: Forty Years After the 18½ Minute Gap

[1] Richard M. Nixon, RN: The Memoirs of Richard Nixon (New York: Grosset & Dunlap, 1978), 918-919.

[2] Philip Houston, Michael Floyd, Susan Carnicero with Don Tennant, Spy the Lie: Former CIA Officers Teach You How to Detect Deception (New York: St. Martin’s Press, 2012), 103.

[3] Ronald J. Ostrow and Robert L. Jackson, “Caused Only Part of Gap—Miss Woods,” Los Angeles Times, 28 November 1973; George Lardner, Jr., “Prosecutor: ‘No Reason for Silences’,” Washington Post, 29 November 1973.

[4] George Lardner, Jr., “Experts Report on Tape Gap,” Washington Post, 5 June 1974.

[5] Interview with Doug Blackwell, 21 August 2013; John Saar, “Expert Shows Possible Tape Erasure,” Washington Post, 28 November 1973. The title of this article suggests that an expert demonstrated in November 1973 how the erasure might have occurred, but in fact he was unable to duplicate the buzz on the tape in the manner described by Rose Mary Woods. The closest approximation was apparently achieved by White House counsel Buzhardt working together with a National Security Agency technician. By pressing the Uher’s “Start” and “Record” buttons simultaneously, and keeping a Tensor desk lamp nearby turned on, they were able to replicate the two-toned hum. George Lardner, Jr., “Buzhardt on ‘Gap’,”Washington Post, 30 November 1973.

[6] H. R. Haldeman, The Haldeman Diaries: Inside the Nixon White House (New York: G. P. Putnam’s Sons, 1994), 473.

[7] In early 1974, when WSPF prosecutors were still trying to get to the bottom of the 18½ minute mystery, they came to believe the long weekend of October 4-7, 1973—when the tapes were in Key Biscayne, Florida, along with the president, Haig, Bull, and Woods—was likely when the deliberate, extended erasure occurred. George Lardner, Jr., “Prosecutors Eye October Weekend in Erasure Probe,” Washington Post, 20 January 1974. 

[8] George Lardner, Jr., “Haig Tells of Theories on Erasure,” Washington Post, 7 December 1973.

[9] Walter Pincus, then executive editor of The New Republic, was a notable exception to the widespread belief that Rose Mary Woods was the chief culprit. Writing in The Washington Post, Pincus presented a theory that absolved her of personally redacting the tape, and pointed instead to the president and Stephen Bull. Pincus, however, put Woods squarely inside the subsequent cover-up. Her story was crafted to “confuse Judge Sirica, the prosecutors and the public, and perhaps take the spotlight away from whomever did the actual erasing.” Walter Pincus, “A Tape Erasure Theory,” Washington Post, 26 January 1974.

Read entire article at Washington Decoded