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'Holy cow!' - CSI: Watergate - Has an amateur historian found the key to the lost 18 ½ minutes? [View All]

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kpete Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jul-28-09 11:39 PM
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'Holy cow!' - CSI: Watergate - Has an amateur historian found the key to the lost 18 ½ minutes?
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Edited on Tue Jul-28-09 11:41 PM by kpete
CSI: Watergate
Has an amateur historian found the key to the lost 18 ½ minutes?
—By David Corn


"I went, 'Holy cow!'" Mellinger recalls. There were only two possibilities: Either Haldeman had sat through a long stretch of discussion with Nixon and had written nothing down until the last minute or so, or he had taken notes for the rest of the time, and they had somehow gone missing. (Stanley Kutler, a prominent Watergate historian, says that a conversation of this length would normally have caused Haldeman to produce several pages of notes.) Mellinger took a close look at the two pages. There were four sets of staple marks at one corner—as if the pages had been taken apart and put back together several times.

A gap in the notes matching the gap in the tape? Had no researcher, historian, or archivist noticed this before? (Apparently not.)
And if there were missing pages, was there a way to find out what had once been on them? Mellinger had an idea: electrostatic detection analysis. That's a proven forensic technique used to capture indentations and impressions on a piece of paper—such as the marks made on a page in a pad by a pen writing on the pages above it. As the book Forensics Demystified describes the procedure, a sheet of paper is subjected to an electrostatic field: "Charged electrons from this static field are attracted to the damaged or impressed fibers in the paper where the indentations have been made." Then toner can be placed on the paper—or on a thin cellophane sheet—and it will adhere to areas that have indentations: "The writing becomes pronounced." Voilà, notes can return from the shredder. The original is not harmed.

Days after his eureka moment, Mellinger emailed David Paynter, the archivist in charge of the Watergate records, requesting that the Archives submit the two pages of Haldeman notes to this procedure. Attached was a nine-page analysis laying out his case. "I believe we now may have an approach to resolving the infamous 18 ½ minute gap," Mellinger wrote.


Now the Archives, thanks to Mellinger, is once again hopeful. After he filed his request, a document forensics expert at the Archives examined the Haldeman notes, found indented writing on the second page, and concluded that electrostatic detection analysis could work on this document, according to Paynter. So Paynter recommended to higher-ups at the Archives that the Haldeman notes be tested. At press time, Paynter was awaiting the green light from his superiors. "The reason we're going forward with this," Paynter says, "is that we've already tried with the tape itself. Here's another avenue to shed light on an important episode in history. It's very exciting."

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  -'Holy cow!' - CSI: Watergate - Has an amateur historian found the key to the lost 18 ½ minutes? kpete  Jul-28-09 11:39 PM   #0 
  - That is a truly amazing story! -nt-  ContinentalOp   Jul-28-09 11:43 PM   #1 
  - You mean this 18.5 minute gap?  BlooInBloo   Jul-28-09 11:44 PM   #2 
  - Wasn't that called the "Rosemary Reach"?  kath   Jul-28-09 11:48 PM   #3 
  - Another view of the "reach" ...  ColbertWatcher   Jul-29-09 04:13 AM   #22 
  - I don't get it.  Drunken Irishman   Jul-28-09 11:49 PM   #4 
  - Nixon's loyal secretary, Rosemary Woods (?) demonstrated for the press  trackfan   Jul-28-09 11:53 PM   #5 
  - That's Nixon's secretary. There's some piece of tape that was claimed to be "accidentally" erased...  BlooInBloo   Jul-28-09 11:53 PM   #6 
     - I figured it was his sec...but didn't know the full story.  Drunken Irishman   Jul-28-09 11:54 PM   #7 
     - But "But a panel of audio experts appointed by US District Court Judge John Sirica found there had  kath   Jul-29-09 02:30 AM   #21 
        - Great catch! Such coincidence however is not suspicious in a post 911 world! n/t  ControlledDemolition   Jul-29-09 11:53 PM   #45 
  - The very one--because everyone puts their foot on the 'record' pedal while they answer the phone! nt  MADem   Jul-29-09 12:33 AM   #10 
  - Is she a time piece or what?  The Backlash Cometh   Jul-29-09 07:57 AM   #27 
  - that is fascinating....  hlthe2b   Jul-28-09 11:56 PM   #8 
  - This is TOO COOL. We won't get the racist swearing or the nasty comments,  MADem   Jul-29-09 12:31 AM   #9 
  - Rose Mary Woods  TacticalPeek   Jul-29-09 12:48 AM   #11 
  - Ripped out the tape AND the notes?  aquart   Jul-29-09 12:59 AM   #12 
  - It'll be nothing compared to what the Republicans do now.  readmoreoften   Jul-29-09 01:04 AM   #13 
  - It Will Be the Basis for Everything They Do Now  Demeter   Jul-29-09 06:15 AM   #23 
  - they deleted all their email records  Johonny   Jul-29-09 10:56 AM   #29 
     - ... and "snuffed' their own IT guru! Another mysterious light aircraft 'accident'! n/t  ControlledDemolition   Jul-29-09 11:56 PM   #46 
  - popcorn worthy?  kpete   Jul-29-09 10:10 AM   #28 
  - holy cow, indeed!  nilram   Jul-29-09 01:06 AM   #14 
  - Hooray for Archives and Archivists!  Sophree   Jul-29-09 01:12 AM   #15 
  - Is there anyone still around who might not want this exposed?  Kablooie   Jul-29-09 01:17 AM   #16 
  - Cheney, Rumsfeld, both Bushes, Fidel Castro, and the Washington Post  sofa king   Jul-29-09 01:30 AM   #17 
     - E. Howard Hunt doesn't care anymore! GHWB does!!! Therefore...  ControlledDemolition   Jul-30-09 12:16 AM   #47 
  - Includes Pat Buchanan arguing that white paper is fine, and built this nation without carbon paper,  bleever   Jul-29-09 01:36 AM   #18 
  - I love white paper - I use white paper - yaaaay white paper!  BlooInBloo   Jul-29-09 01:55 AM   #19 
  - But what color of ink does he use? If it's not white, he's just being a hypocrite.  eppur_se_muova   Jul-29-09 05:49 PM   #33 
  - I sure hope he can recover the notes -  TaffyMoon   Jul-29-09 01:57 AM   #20 
  - More on Cubans and the whole Bay of Pigs thing?  gordianot   Jul-29-09 06:55 AM   #24 
  - Maybe some who killed who? Who contributed millions? More felonies, NO DOUBT!  L. Coyote   Jul-29-09 07:02 AM   #25 
  - Haldeman: "Nixon references to Bay of Pigs . . . actually refererring to the Kennedy assassination."  leveymg   Jul-29-09 07:09 AM   #26 
     - Was Nixon at Murchison's 'shindig' the night before 11/22/63? n/t  ControlledDemolition   Jul-30-09 12:18 AM   #48 
     - More background info here...  AntiFascist   Jul-30-09 12:54 AM   #51 
        - In the tapes, I always thought Nixon's references to "the Cuban thing"  truth2power   Jul-30-09 09:24 AM   #52 
           - Yes, thank you for pointing that out!  AntiFascist   Jul-30-09 12:50 PM   #55 
  - This technique works well  formercia   Jul-29-09 11:47 AM   #30 
  - can you get more than one of the prior pages?  nilram   Jul-29-09 05:28 PM   #31 
     - It all depends how much pressure was put on the pen.  formercia   Jul-29-09 05:57 PM   #34 
  - Wow!  H2O Man   Jul-29-09 05:30 PM   #32 
  - I don't know...  theMark   Jul-29-09 06:07 PM   #35 
  - K & R! Can't wait to find out!  robertpaulsen   Jul-29-09 06:18 PM   #36 
  - You mean its not Arlo's Alice's Restaurant?  jimlup   Jul-29-09 07:28 PM   #37 
  - Ah, you beat me to it.  Bette Noir   Jul-29-09 11:27 PM   #41 
     - well, how many things in the world ARE 18.5 minutes long?  gmoney   Jul-29-09 11:49 PM   #44 
  - I'm on pins and needles waiting to find out what was on that missing page.  pleah   Jul-29-09 07:44 PM   #38 
  - Arlo Guthrie revealed years ago what was in that gap.  Bette Noir   Jul-29-09 11:22 PM   #39 
  - Yeah Arlo!  jimlup   Jul-29-09 11:23 PM   #40 
  - Mystery Question  troubledamerican   Jul-29-09 11:29 PM   #42 
  - I have written on many sites  GETPLANING   Jul-29-09 11:47 PM   #43 
  - The assassination story of Lincoln stuck... there is only a slight chance that JFK's won't.  ControlledDemolition   Jul-30-09 12:24 AM   #49 
  - Computer files are much easier to recover because ...  surrealAmerican   Jul-30-09 09:55 AM   #53 
  - They've been saying that some day the tape, itself, might be recoverable .. . ???  defendandprotect   Jul-30-09 12:33 AM   #50 
  - Nixon tells Haldeman, "would you please tell Pat Buchanan to stop blowing Spiro?  yellowcanine   Jul-30-09 10:05 AM   #54 
  - .  havocmom   Jul-30-09 12:57 PM   #56 

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