The Kissinger and Nixon Tapes

Richard M. Nixon and Henry A. Kissinger did their share of underhanded, deceitful things during their time in the White House. Does the term “Watergate cover-up” ring a bell? Or the “secret” war in Laos? We have know since the Watergate scandal that Nixon secretly taped all of his incoming and outgoing telephone calls, and we subsequently found out that Kissinger, his National Security Adviser and later Secretary of State, did as well.

Kissinger had all of his phone conversations taped and then had his secretary transcribe them. He had the tapes destroyed, but kept the transcripts when he left Washington with the end of the Ford Administration in January 1977. In 2001, the National Security Archive, a Washington, D.C. nonprofit research group, brought a successful lawsuit to force the government to recover the transcripts, and used the Freedom of Information Act to declassify most of them.

The group has been working on indexing and cataloging the transcripts for three years. On December 23, the National Security Archive published an online edition of transcripts of some 15, 000 phone calls Kissinger made from 1969-77. They are a rich vein of primary source material for historians, researchers and anyone else interesting in how Nixon and Kissinger ran the Vietnam War. To see what’s on line, go to

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