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Reporters Woodward and Bernstein uncover the details of the Watergate scandal that leads to President Nixon's resignation.
[last lines] [last lines excluding archive footage] Ben Bradlee: You know the results of the latest Gallup Poll? Half the country never even heard of the word Watergate. Nobody gives a shit. You guys are probably pretty tired, right? Well, you should be. Go on home, get a nice hot bath. Rest up... 15 minutes. Then get your asses back in gear. We're under a lot of pressure, you know, and you put us there. Nothing's riding on this except the, uh, first amendment to the Constitution, freedom of the press, and maybe the future of the country. Not that any of that matters, but if you guys fuck up again, I'm going to get mad. Goodnight.
Howard Simons: Then can we use their names? Carl Bernstein: No. Ben Bradlee: Goddammit, when is somebody going to go on the record in this story? You guys are about to write a story that says the former Attorney General, the highest-ranking law enforcement officer in this country, is a crook! Just be sure you're right.
Ben Bradlee: Where's the goddamn story? Bob Woodward: The money's the key to whatever this is. Ben Bradlee: Says who? Howard Simons: Deep Throat. Ben Bradlee: Who? Howard Simons: Oh, that's Woodward's garage freak; his source in the executive department. Ben Bradlee: Garage Freak? Jesus, what kind of a crazy fucking story is this? Who did you say? Howard Simons: He's on deep background, I call him deep... throat.
Deep Throat: [angry tone] You let Haldeman slip away. Bob Woodward: Yes. Deep Throat: You've done worse than let Haldeman slip away: you've got people feeling sorry for him. I didn't think that was possible. In a conspiracy like this, you build from the outer edges and go step by step. If you shoot too high and miss, everybody feels more secure. You've put the investigation back months. Bob Woodward: Yes, we know that. And if we're wrong, we're resigning. Were we wrong?
Scott, Foreign Editor: It's a dangerous story for this paper. Ben Bradlee: How dangerous? Scott, Foreign Editor: Well, it's not that we're using nameless sources that bothers me. Or that everything we print, the White House denies. Or that no other papers are reprinting our stuff. Howard Simons: What then? Scott, Foreign Editor: Look, there are two thousand reporters in this town, are there five on Watergate? When did the Washington Post suddenly get the monopoly on wisdom? Why would the Republicans do it? McGovern's self-destructed just like Humphrey, Muskie, the bunch of them. I don't believe this story. It doesn't make sense.
Ben Bradlee: All non-denial denials. They doubt our ancestry, but they don't say the story isn't accurate.
John Mitchell: [on phone] You tell your publisher, tell Katie Graham she's gonna get her tit caught in a big wringer if that's published. Ben Bradlee: [later] He really said that about Mrs. Graham? Carl Bernstein: [nods] Ben Bradlee: Well, I'd cut the words "her tit" and print it. Carl Bernstein: Why? Ben Bradlee: This is a family newspaper.
Howard Simons: Did you call the White House press office? Bob Woodward: I went over there; I talked to them. They said Hunt hadn't worked there for three months. Then a PR guy said this weird thing to me. He said, "I am convinced that neither Mr. Colson nor anyone else at the White House had any knowledge of, or participation in, this deplorable incident at the Democratic National Committee." Howard Simons: Isn't that what you expect them to say? Bob Woodward: Absolutely. Howard Simons: So? Bob Woodward: I never asked about Watergate. I simply asked what were Hunt's duties at the White House.
Bob Woodward: Well, who is Charles Colson? Harry Rosenfeld: The most powerful man in the United States is President Nixon. You've heard of him? Charles Colson is special counsel to the President. There's a cartoon on his wall. The caption reads, "When you've got 'em by the balls, their hearts and minds will follow."
Bob Woodward: The story is dry. All we've got are pieces. We can't seem to figure out what the puzzle is supposed to look like. John Mitchell resigns as the head of CREEP, and says that he wants to spend more time with his family. I mean, it sounds like bullshit, we don't exactly believe that... Deep Throat: No, heh, but it's touching. Forget the myths the media's created about the White House. The truth is, these are not very bright guys, and things got out of hand. Bob Woodward: Hunt's come in from the cold. Supposedly he's got a lawyer with $25,000 in a brown paper bag. Deep Throat: Follow the money. Bob Woodward: What do you mean? Where? Deep Throat: Oh, I can't tell you that. Bob Woodward: But you could tell me that. Deep Throat: No, I have to do this my way. You tell me what you know, and I'll confirm. I'll keep you in the right direction if I can, but that's all. Just... follow the money.
Deep Throat: You'll have to figure that on your own. Bob Woodward: Look, I'm tired of your chicken shit games! I don't want hints! I need to know what you know! [pause] Deep Throat: [very reluctant tone] The Watergate burglary... it was a Haldeman operation. The whole business was run by Haldeman, the money... everything. It won't be easy getting at him. He was insulated somehow, you'll have to find out how. Mitchell started doing covert stuff before anyone else. The list of the people involved is longer than anyone can imagine. It involves the entire U.S. Intelligence Community. FBI... CIA... Justice... it's incredible. The cover-up had little to do with the Watergate foul-up. It was mainly to protect the covert operations. It leads everywhere. Get out your notebook. There's more. Your lives are in danger.
Carl Bernstein: I think it's Magruder. Bob Woodward: I think it's Magruder too. Carl Bernstein: Why do you think it's Magruder? Bob Woodward: Because he was second in command under Mitchell. Why do you think it's Magruder? Carl Bernstein: [Carl gets up and goes to open a jar of cookies] I think it's Magruder because at one time he was the temporary head of the Committee to Re-Elect before Mitchell. [he flings one at Bob who, still furiously typing away, catches it without missing a beat] Bob Woodward: I don't want a cookie.
Carl Bernstein: Bob, listen, I think I've got something, I don't know what it is. But somewhere in this world there is a Kenneth H. Dahlberg, and we gotta get to him before the New York Times does, because I think they've got the same information.
[Bernstein has taken one of Woodward's stories off his desk and turned it in] Bob Woodward: If you're gonna do it, do it right. If you're gonna hype it, hype it with the facts. I don't mind what you did. I mind the way you did it.
Ken Clawson: Please, listen, now, if you're going to refer to that alleged conversation with Sally Aiken, you can't print that it took place in her apartment. I have a wife and a family and a dog and a cat. Ben Bradlee: A wife and a family and a dog and a cat. Right, Ken, right, yeah. Uh, Ken, I don't want to print that you were in Sally's apartment... Ken Clawson: Thank God. Ben Bradlee: I just want to know what you said, in Sally's apartment.
Sally Aiken: Ken Clawson told me he wrote the Canuck letter. Carl Bernstein: The letter that said Muskie was slurring the Canadians. Bob Woodward: Clawson. Carl Bernstein: The deputy director of White House communications wrote the Canuck letter. When'd he tell you this? Sally Aiken: When we were having drinks. Carl Bernstein: Where were you? Sally Aiken: My apartment. Carl Bernstein: When did you say he told you? Sally Aiken: Two weeks ago. Carl Bernstein: What else did he say? He didn't say anything? Come on, you're hedging. Bob Woodward: Do you think he said it to impress you, to try to get you to go to bed with him? Carl Bernstein: Jesus! Bob Woodward: No, I want to hear her say it. Do you think he said that to impress you, to try to get you to go to bed with him? Carl Bernstein: Why did it take you two weeks to tell us this, Sally? Sally Aiken: I guess I don't have the taste for the jugular you guys have.
Bob Woodward: Segretti crisscrossed the country, at least a dozen times. And always stayed in cities where there were Democratic primaries. Carl Bernstein: So if the break-in was just one incident in a campaign of sabotage that began a whole year before Watergate... Bob Woodward: Then for the first time the break-in makes sense. Carl Bernstein: This isn't so crazy. This whole thing didn't start with the bugging of the headquarters. Bob Woodward: Segretti was doing this a year before the bugging. Carl Bernstein: And a year before, Nixon wasn't slaughtering Muskie, he was running behind Muskie, before Muskie self-destructed. Bob Woodward: *If* he self-destructed!
[the arraignment of the burglars begins] Judge: Your names, please, and state your professions. Barker: Bernard Barker, anti-communist. Judge: Anti-communist? That, sir, is not your average profession. McCord: James McCord, security consultant. Judge: With? McCord: Government, uh, recently, uh, retired. Judge: Where in the government? McCord: [quietly] Central Intelligence Agency.
Bob Woodward: Gordon Liddy was fired by Mitchell because he wouldn't talk to the F.B.I. Deep Throat: You'll hear more. Bob Woodward: Will he talk? Deep Throat: I was at a party once, and, uh, Liddy put his hand over a candle, and he kept it there. He kept it right in the flame until his flesh was burned. Somebody said, "What's the trick?" And Liddy said, "The trick is not minding."
Bob Woodward: Who's Charles Colson? Harry Rosenfeld: Sit down. You know I'm glad you asked me that question. The reason I'm glad you asked me is because if you had asked Simons or Bradlee they woulda said, "You know we're gonna have to fire this schmuck at once because he's so *dumb*."
Ben Bradlee: Now hold it, hold it. We're about to accuse Haldeman, who only happens to be the second most important man in this country, of conducting a criminal conspiracy from inside the White House. It would be nice if we were right.
[while waiting for the arraignment of the burglars] Bob Woodward: Excuse me, what is your name? I'm Bob Woodward, of the Washington Post. Markham: Markham. Bob Woodward: Markham. Mr. Markham, are you here in connection with the Watergate burglary? Markham: I'm not here.
Carl Bernstein: Boy, that woman was paranoid! At one point I - I suddenly wondered how high up this thing goes, and her paranoia finally got to me, and I thought what we had was so hot that any minute CBS or NBC were going to come in through the windows and take the story away. Bob Woodward: You're both paranoid. She's afraid of John Mitchell, and you're afraid of Walter Cronkite.
Bob Woodward: Who told them not to investigate the break-in? Deep Throat: Don't you understand what you're on to? Bob Woodward: Mitchell knew? Deep Throat: Of course Mitchell knew. You think something this size just happens? Bob Woodward: Halderman had to know too. Deep Throat: You'll hear nothing from me about Haldeman. Bob Woodward: Segretti told me and Bernstein that... Deep Throat: [interrupting] Don't concentrate on Segretti. You'll miss the overall. Bob Woodward: The letter that destroyed the Muskie candidates... did that come from inside the White House? Deep Throat: You're missing the overall. Bob Woodward: What overall? Deep Throat: The people behind all of this were frightened of Muskie and that's what got him destroyed. They wanted to run against McGovern. Look who they're running against. They bugged offices, they followed people, planted false press leaks, passed fake letters... they canceled Democratic campaign rallies, they investigated Democratic private lives, they planted spies, they stole documents... and now don't tell me that all of this was the work of one Donald Segretti. Bob Woodward: Do your associates in the FBI and the Justice Department know about this? [Woodward turns when a lone car passes by, when he turns back, Deep Throat is gone]
Ben Bradlee: How much can you tell me about Deep Throat? Bob Woodward: How much do you need to know? Ben Bradlee: Do you trust him? Bob Woodward: Yeah. Ben Bradlee: I can't do the reporting for my reporters, which means I have to trust them. And I hate trusting anybody. Run that baby.
Carl Bernstein: What was that term you used when you screwed up something? Donald H. Segretti: We're rat-fuckin'.
Ben Bradlee: Look, McGovern's dropped to nothing, Nixon's guaranteed the renomination, the Post is stuck with a story no one else wants, it'll sink the goddamn paper. Everyone says, "Get off it, Ben", and I come on very sage and I say, uh, "Well, you'll see, you wait till this bottoms out." But the truth is, I can't figure out WHAT we've got.
Clark MacGregor: I don't know. You're implying that I should know. If you print that, our relationship will be terminated. Bob Woodward: Sir, we don't have a relationship!
Debbie Sloan: This is an honest house. Bob Woodward: That's why we'd like to see your husband. Carl Bernstein: Facing certain criminal charges that might be brought against some people that are innocent, we just feel that it would be... Bob Woodward: It's really for his benefit. Debbie Sloan: No, it's not. Bob Woodward: No, it's not. Hugh Sloan Jr.: Debbie, tell them to come in.
Bob Woodward: How do you think your check got into the bank account of a Watergate burglar? Kenneth H. Dahlberg: I'm, uh, a proper citizen. What I do is proper. Bob Woodward: Well, I - I understand. Kenneth H. Dahlberg: I've just been through a terrible ordeal. My neighbor's wife has been kidnapped!
[after seeing Bernstein light up a cigarette in an elevator] Bob Woodward: Is there any place you *don't* smoke?
Harry Rosenfeld: Bernstein, why don't you finish one story before trying to get on another? Carl Bernstein: I finished it. Harry Rosenfeld: The Virginia legislature story? Carl Bernstein: I finished it. Harry Rosenfeld: All right, give it to me. Carl Bernstein: I'm just polishing it.
Harry Rosenfeld: Woodward. Bernstein. You're both on the story. Now don't fuck it up.
Bob Woodward: We haven't had any luck yet. Ben Bradlee: Get some.
[first lines] [first lines excluding archive footage] Voice of police dispatcher: Car 727, car 727, open door at the Watergate office building, possible burglary, see the security guard.
Carl Bernstein: All these checks from Mexico? Dardis: See? Carl Bernstein: How come? Did the money originate there? Dardis: Well, I doubt it started off as pesos.
[first lines] [first lines including archive footage] Walter Cronkite: Now here comes the president's helicopter, Marine Helicopter Number One, landing on the plaza on the east side of the east front of the Capitol.
[Asking for background information about Howard Hunt] Bob Woodward: It's just profile information, mostly. We know, for example, that he works for Mullen and Company, or did work for Mullen and Company, as a writer. He's also a novelist; we know that he works in the office of Charles Colson at the White House... Bennett: ...and the CIA. Bob Woodward: And the CIA. Bennett: Well, if you're conducting that kind of investigation, certainly it comes as no surprise to you that Howard was with the CIA. Bob Woodward: No, no surprise at all.
Bachinski: There's a strange entry in two of the burglars' address books. Bob Woodward: Yeh? Bachinski: One says "H.H. at W.H."; the other says "Howard Hunt, W. House".
Carl Bernstein: [Walking up to the Sloans' house] All these neat, little houses and all these nice, little streets... It's hard to believe that something's wrong with some of those little houses. Bob Woodward: No, it isn't.
Deep Throat: What's the topic for tonight? Bob Woodward: Rat-fucking. Deep Throat: [lights a cigarette] In my day it was called double-cross. In simple context, it means infiltration of the Democrats. Bob Woodward: Segretti wouldn't cooperate, but if he would we know he would implicate Chapin. Deep Throat: And that will put you inside the White House. Bob Woodward: Be specific. How high up? Deep Throat: You'll have to find that out for yourself. I'm taking great risk meeting you here. I don't like newspapers. I don't care for any exact aptitude then shallowness. Bob Woodward: CREEP's slush fund... we've just about got that down nailed town with the rat-fucking, I don't know how... [footsteps are heard in the distance] Deep Throat: Did you remember to change cabs before coming here? Bob Woodward: Yeah. Does the FBI know what we know? Does the Justice Department? Why haven't they done anything? Deep Throat: If it didn't deal directly with the Watergate break-in, they didn't pursue.
[Woodward is woken up by a call from Bernstein] Carl Bernstein: Woodward, What did you find out? What did he say? Bob Woodward: What time is it? Carl Bernstein: You fell asleep? Bob Woodward: Oh God dammit! [Woodward hangs up and runs out the door, realizing that he forgot about his secret meeting with Deep Throat]
Ben Bradlee: Bernstein, are you sure on this story? Carl Bernstein: Absolutely. Ben Bradlee: Woodward? Carl Bernstein: I'm sure. Ben Bradlee: I'm not. It still seems thin. Howard Simons: Get another source.
[last lines including archive footage] Warren Burger: Preserve, protect and defend the constitution of the United States, Richard Nixon: Preserve and protect and defend the constitution of the United States, Warren Burger: So help me God. Richard Nixon: So help me God.