1972 Watergate Break-in Woke a Nation of Watchdogs

Break-in further eroded the trust of a nation in its leaders.

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On September 15, 1972, a federal grand jury indicted the five burglars, Hunt, and Liddy on a series of charges. Liddy had planned the operation with the assistance of Hunt, and they were at Watergate during the break-in but not in the office of the DNC. 

And the rest is a history lesson, constantly being retaught.

In the name of national security, President George W. Bush presided over an administration that ordered covert telephone wiretaps, imprisoned "enemy combatants" without due process, tortured prisoners, and misled the public. To Bush, he was acting to keep Americans safe, and so how he did it was nobody's business but that of his administration.

As he left office, President Nixon admitted that some of his judgments were wrong, but claimed that whatever actions he took were in the nation's interest. President Bush and, especially, his vice president, Dick Cheney, have made no such admissions, defiantly defending their status as the keepers of national security.

History will be the only judge in their case. But sixty-five years ago, Learned Hand, one of this country's most important judges who never sat on the Supreme Court, reminded Americans that "Liberty lies in the hearts of men and women; when it dies there, no constitution, no law, no courts can save it...."