President Nixon kept an "enemies list" of those who criticized him. He had these enemies targeted for tax audits or trailed by private detectives, and hired the "plumbers" to stop leaks.
Narrator: A sense of being under siege pervaded the White House, fueled by the leaks, the constant anti-war demonstrations and intensifying criticism in the press. In this atmosphere of "us versus them," Colson's office began an ever-expanding list of Nixon's critics, the "enemies list."
Its object was to "screw our political enemies." Reporters and politicians, educators and entertainers were barred from the White House. Some were targeted for tax audits, others were trailed by private detectives.
Charles Colson, Special Counsel to the President: And it was very shortly thereafter that Nixon authorized the "plumbers" and the creation of a special group to stop leaks and they began to take extra-legal steps and put into motion the mechanism which ultimately resulted in the downfall of the Administration.
Narrator: In a White House memo regarding the "neutralization" of Daniel Ellsberg, the plumbers discussed how they might "destroy his public image and credibility." In search of damaging information about Ellsberg's private life, they arranged a break-in at the office of his psychiatrist.
Egil Krogh, Jr., White House Aide: They apparently broke a window on the way in and, realizing that it could no longer be viewed as a covert operation, changed courses and decided to make it look as if it had been entered by a burglar looking for drugs or some other substances. Basically, they smashed up the office, took pictures of the damage. I was shocked at these pictures, went to see John Ehrlichman and he was, if anything, more shocked than I was and said, "Shut it down as of now."
Narrator: The plumbers were eventually disbanded, but some of the agents were reassigned to work behind the scenes for the newly-formed Committee to Re-Elect the President.
Forever enshrined in myth by an assassin's bullet, Kennedy's presidency long defied objective appraisal. Part of the award-winning Presidents collection.
The world famous escape artist could escape from everything - except his own mortality.
Mathematician and paranoid schizophrenic John Nash's work became a foundation of modern economic theory.
Dwight D. Eisenhower was one of America's least understood presidents. Part of the award-winning Presidents collection.
The life of the legendary photographer, known best for his black and white images of the wilderness of the American West.
With data compiled from tens of thousands of sex questionnaires, Alfred Kinsey changed America's views about sex with the Kinsey Reports.
The life story of Aimee Semple McPherson, religious evangelist instrumental in bringing conservative Protestantism into mainstream culture.
America's first First Lady defined the role of the President's wife and in the process changed the face of the American presidency.