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Problem solving and decision making


“ You must prosecute this probe of Watergate even if it leads to the President. I ‘m guiltless. You ‘ve got to believe I ‘m guiltless. If you do n’t, take my occupation. ” ( Richard. M. Nixon ) ( 2009 )

On June 16th 1972, seven work forces prepared to interrupt in to the offices of the Democratic National Committee, based in the Watergate Office Complex in Washington D.C.

Through assorted bad lucks, and bad determinations, five of these work forces would be arrested. This would be the first event in a series of dirts that would take to indictments and strong beliefs of several cardinal staff members and advisers, and the surrender of the President of the United States ; Richard. M. Nixon.

The apprehensions of the five persons that had broken into the Democratic National Committee, based in the Watergate Hotel composite, would take to Probes by the FBI, The Senate Watergate Committee, The House Judiciary Committee and the imperativeness, which would uncover that the interruption in was merely one of many illegal activities that were authorized and carried out by Nixon ‘s staff.

This study will dig into the determination doing procedure that surrounded President Nixon and the Watergate Scandal, and ascertain, with mentions why he made the picks that he did.

The administration

Nixon and the Presidency

In 1952, Richard Nixon was selected by General Eisenhower to go the Vice President. Throughout Eisenhower ‘s Presidency, Nixon took on major responsibilities within the disposal until 1960, when he was nominated to run for the Presidency, which he lost to John F. Kennedy.

After Kennedy ‘s blackwash, in 1968 Nixon once more ran for the Presidency, this clip winning against Vice President Hubert H. Humphrey and third-party campaigner George C. Wallace.

As President, Nixon achieved a great trade of success ; so his command to stop combat in Vietnam was one of the issues that he had stated he would stop, for which came to fruition. Other successes included anti offense Torahs and environmental plans.

“ His achievements while in office included gross sharing, the terminal of the bill of exchange, new anticrime Torahs, and a wide environmental plan. As he had promised, he appointed Justices of conservative doctrine to the Supreme Court. One of the most dramatic events of his first term occurred in 1969, when American spacemans made the first Moon landing.

Some of his most acclaimed accomplishments came in his pursuit for universe stableness. During visits in 1972 to Beijing and Moscow, he reduced tensenesss with China and the U.S.S.R. His acme meetings with Russian leader Leonid I. Brezhnev produced a pact to restrict strategic atomic arms. In January 1973, he announced an agreement with North Viet Nam to stop American engagement in Indochina. In 1974, his Secretary of State, Henry Kissinger, negotiated disengagement understandings between Israel and its oppositions, Egypt and Syria. ” ( hypertext transfer protocol: //, N.D )

In 1972, Nixon once more command for the office of President, this clip get the better ofing Democratic hopeful George McGovern by a really big border. Within months of the rhenium – election, his Committee to Re – elect the President, and cardinal members of his disposal would be found to hold engagement with and would associate the President to the Watergate Scandal.


The Citizens Committee to re – elect the President, ( originally called CRP, so renamed CREEP for the Committee for the rhenium – election of the President ) , was established in 1970 by members of Nixon ‘s disposal for the planning of Nixon ‘s run.

“ Attorney General John Mitchell, who had headed Nixon ‘s 1968 run, was to head up the commission as its run manager. Jeb Magruder would be appointed as moving manager until Mitchell resigned as Attorney General in 1972. During that clip Magruder would get down be aftering of a national run, which was independent of the Republican National Committee. Francis Dale was named as the run president and his commission comprised of eight carbon monoxides – presidents. Maurice Stans was appointed as the finance president. ” ( Pollick, M. 2009 )

Prior to Campaign Laws, administrations such as CREEP could raise every bit much money as they liked, and besides spend it anyhow they saw tantrum. The intent of CREEP, on the surface would be seen as a legal commission to re – elect the President, nevertheless, underneath outstanding members would transport out illicit activities ; of which the orders came from Nixon himself. Money that was laundered through CREEP would be used to back up these illicit activities and a figure of CREEPs ‘ secret agents were known as ‘plumbers ‘ , called so because they were used to repair any ‘leaks ‘ to the media.

These illegal activities would non hold been known and merely came to light because of the burglary at Watergate, entirely because the burglars that were apprehended were cardinal members of CREEP. These cardinal members were non merely every twenty-four hours burglars or felons, they were cardinal members of administrations such as the CIA ; a fact we can see from the following extract, which clearly shows the quality of people that were involved in the burglary:

“ These work forces were non common stealers. One of the leaders, G. Gordon Liddy, was a former agent of the Federal Bureau of Investigations ( FBI ) . The other leader, E. Howard Hunt, was retired from the Central Intelligence Agency ( CIA ) . Their confederates included James McCord, who carried bugs for telephones. Bernard Baker brought cameras to take exposures of DNC paperss. Virgilio Gonzalez had tools to pick locks. Eugenio Martinez and Frank Sturgis served as guards. ” ( Anderson, D. 2007 )

The Aftermath

The Cover Up

It was straight following the Watergate burglaries that Nixon, and his disposal, tried to cover it up. Even though it was found that some of the burglars had links to the Whitehouse, and to CREEP, Nixon during a media conference, denied all association and continued to deny any allegations of any error. Indeed the American Encyclopaedia of Journalism states that “ During a intelligence conference on June 22nd, President Nixon denied Whitehouse engagement in the burglary. ” ( Vaughn, S. 2008, pg 580 )

One of the chief concerns that Nixon had was that intelligence would acquire out about the Whitehouse ‘Plumbers ‘ and how they were used to non merely plug leaks but were besides used for condemnable activities, such as the sabotaging of operations of any political enemy, illegal interruption Immigration and Naturalization Services and illegal wire tapping.

On June 23rd, Nixon had a conversation with the Whitehouse Chief of staff H.R. ‘Bob ‘ Haldeman, in which he requested that the CIA be used to blockade the FBI, and their probe of the Watergate burglaries. In a command to besides hush the burglars, Nixon organised so called ‘hush money ‘ to be used to guarantee that all of them remained soundless sing their engagements and links to the Whitehouse. This ‘hush money ‘ coincidently came straight from CREEP support.

The Senate Watergate Committee

In February 1973, the Senate Watergate Committee was created to get down probes into non merely the burglaries, but besides the maltreatments of power that were associated with Nixon ‘s 1972 election run. The commission was formed after a 77 – 0 ballot from the Senate and was formed after the FBI ‘s initial probe showed that Watergate went beyond that of simple burglary.

“ When it became clear that Watergate was more than a break – in, the particular prosecuting officer ‘s staff formed five undertaking forces: Watergate, Political Espionage, Plumbers Campaign Contributions, and International Telephone and Telegraph. ” ( Samples, J. 2006 )

The Committee itself would play a polar function in the assemblage of grounds environing Watergate, and its probes would take to the indictments of over 40 cardinal decision makers and the strong beliefs of several of Nixon ‘s cardinal staff.

The Evidence

The hearings of the Senate Committee held were extremely publicised personal businesss and ran on public broadcast from May to August 1973.

During these hearings, one of the most important inquiries to be asked was what precisely did the President know. It was one of the Committee members, Howard Baker, who happened to be a friend of Nixon that would inquire this inquiry repeatedly. Baker believed the President to be guiltless, but shortly changed his head when the grounds mounted against him.

“ During the nationally televised Watergate hearings Baker became best known for his perennial inquiry “ what did thePresident know and when did he cognize it? ” Initially Baker believed Nixon to be guiltless of error, but as grounds to the contrary mounted Baker changed his head. ” ( Howard H Baker Jr. Centre for Public Policy, 2009 )

One of Nixon ‘s cardinal members, John Wesley Dean III, would attest against Nixon and implement him in the attempted screen up of the burglaries. Although Dean would go one of the commission ‘s cardinal informants, it was another of Nixon ‘s staff that would uncover the biggest secret that Nixon had kept. The undermentioned extract explains these disclosures:

“ Although the cardinal informant was John Dean, who implicated Nixon in the screen up, Whitehouse adjutant Alexander Butterfield made the major disclosure. Butterfield reluctantly disclosed that Nixon had taped about all Whitehouse conversations since February 1971, intending that a record of Watergate related conversations must be. ” ( Knight, P. 2003. Pg 726 )

On July 23rd 1973, Nixon was ordered to manus over the tapes, but refused, and began taking tribunal action to retain control over them. On July 26th 1973, Nixon sent a missive to the Senate Watergate Committee declining to let go of the tapes. On August 29th Nixon was ordered to manus over any tapes that had links to Watergate, by Judge John Sirica.

Of the tapes that had been subpoenaed, it was found that an 18? minute spread was losing, and unexplained. Again this was a testimony to the manner Nixon operated, in that it was suggested that ‘sinister forces ‘ were at work and the tapes had been erased. Although throughout the probes Nixon still declared his artlessness.

On April 30, 1974, The Whitehouse released emended transcripts of 1200 pages of Nixon ‘s, although the Senate Watergate Committee still required that he manus over the tapes. This in bend leads to the Supreme Court governing on July 24th 1974 that Nixon must turn over the tape recordings of all of the White House conversations, and hence rejecting any claims Nixon has of executive privilege.

On July 27th 1974 the House Judiciary Committee passes the first of three articles of impeachment, bear downing obstructor of justness.

On August 8th 1974, Richard M Nixon resigns from the Presidency, one of the first in US history to make so. The Vice President at the clip, Gerald Ford, assumes the function of Presidency. In what could merely be described as really controversial, Gerald Ford, will subsequently excuse Nixon of all offenses associating to Watergate.

Judgemental Heuristics

The certitude trap

In the certitude trap people will be given to be cocksure about what they are making and will non accept any cognition that will state anything to the contrary. Certitude may take to bad determinations and bad opinions.

“ Certitude is a prejudice that refers to an single inclination to overrate one ‘s capablenesss, cognition and accomplishments every bit good as to be excessively optimistic about one ‘s hereafter ” ( Alexander, Vermeulen & A ; Curseu ( 2008 ) pg 52 )

We can associate Nixon to this judgmental heuristics in his belief that as President, he was excessively confident that what he was making was right. In the gap quotation mark given in this study, Nixon stated ; “ You must prosecute this probe of Watergate even if it leads to the President. I ‘m guiltless. You ‘ve got to believe I ‘m guiltless. If you do n’t, take my occupation. ” ( 2009 )

Nixon ‘s believed that he was guiltless, and this led him to be so cocksure that he need non flush inquiry whether his occupation was on the line ; he was so, highly optimistic about his hereafter.

Reducing the certitude trap

There was non a great trade Nixon could hold done to cut down his certitude ; he believed that as the President he was above any error. His changeless claim of artlessness led him to non accept anything that said anything to the reverse.

Nixon may hold been able to avoid the certitude trap if he had been able to calculate different possible results of the hereafter, this may hold led him to choose a different way than the 1 he had chosen.

The position quo trap

In the position quo trap people will be given to lodge with the position quo, in other words, they will be given to avoid doing any alterations that affect the current province of personal businesss. Again this trap will do bad determination devising, as whilst maintaining with the manner things have ever been done, any bad determinations that have occurred antecedently are followed through and integrated into the normal operations.

“ In a determination doing context, the position quo refers to the bing province of personal businesss. In concern scenes, it refers to bing ends or aims and the bing programs, schemes, and tactics for achieving those ends. Research has systematically shown that determination shapers prefer to go on with existing ends and programs alternatively of other, better options. As a consequence, administrations avoid doing alterations or interrupting with the position quo despite the chance to those resources to more effectual usage. ” ( Rickles, Wertheimer & A ; Smith, 2009, pg 133 )

This heuristic can be linked to Nixon by looking at what occurred after the burglaries. Nixon and CREEP had been involved in condemnable and sneaky traffics in the yesteryear, and those same activities were used to seek to cover up the burglaries, in fact Nixon even used financess from CREEP for in an effort to corrupt the burglars. Alternatively of looking at new ways of nearing the events of the burglary, Nixon decided to utilize similar, condemnable activities that had been used antecedently. His effort to procrastinate the FBI probe and his effort to corrupt the Watergate burglars could merely be described as lodging with the position quo.

This heuristic can besides be used in respects to Nixon ‘s tape of conversations ; Nixon believed that Presidents were allowed to tape conversations, and had justly done so in the yesteryear, and hence was making nil more than what had been done antecedently.

Reducing the position quo trap

Alternatively of go oning with the position quo, Nixon may hold been able to alter the result of Watergate, by doing alterations to the manner he approached it. That he continued with the same condemnable activities caused him to delve himself a bigger hole. The undermentioned inquiries may propose ways that Nixon may hold avoided, or reduced the position quo trap:

  • What were Nixon ‘s aims, and how were they served by lodging with the position quo?
  • What other options were available to Nixon, and how did they sit against the status-quo?
  • Would Nixon hold stuck with the position quo if it was n’t the position quo?
  • Would it hold cost Nixon less in the long tally if he had changed the manner he had done things?
  • If Nixon could hold seen the hereafter, would he hold selected other options?
  • Did Nixon stick with the position quo because the options were placed in the excessively difficult basket?

( Clark, J. 2009. Skid 22 )

Six believing chapeaus

Edward De Bono ‘s six chapeaus

Edward De Bono ‘s six thought chapeaus is a manner of looking at the different types of thought within a individual ‘s encephalon. Each ‘hat ‘ represents looking at of import determinations from a figure of different positions.

The six chapeaus that are as follows:

  • White Hat: For pure facts, figures and information
  • Red Hat: For feelings, emotions, intuitions and intuition
  • Black Hat: For the Devil ‘s Advocate, negative opinion, ‘why wo n’t it work ‘
  • Yellow Hat: For brightness, optimism, positive and constructive thoughts, ‘why will it work ‘
  • Green Hat: For creative, provocative, sidelong ideas
  • Blue Hat: For believing about the overview, summarizing for action, procedure control

( Hunt & A ; Buzan, 1999 pg 105 )

Associating this to Nixon, we can use the undermentioned chapeaus to his determination doing environing Watergate:

  • Yellow hat – Nixon ‘s certitude lead him to be optimistic about his hereafter. He besides thought positively that what he was making was right.
  • Blue hat – Nixon believed in his power as President. He had ultimate control over the state, even though that power led to maltreatments of power.
  • Green hat – Some of Nixon ‘s determinations could good be stated as being originative. His bribing of the burglars and his utilizing the CIA to queer the FBI probe was surely originative.
  • Black hat – this can be applied to Nixon ‘s attack to the Senate Watergate Committee, and in relation to the recorded tapes. Nixon ‘s attack to the Watergate matter could good be described as ; ‘It wo n’t work ‘ , merely because he was the President and he was guiltless.


If we think about the events environing Watergate, we need to see what the deductions would hold been if the burglars had non been caught. Would anything alter? Based upon the position quo trap, the same tactics Nixon used could perchance still occur today, and there would be no limitations on Mafia manner electoral runs.

When we look at Watergate and Nixon, we can see that his certitude and his belief that he was making what he thought was right, led to the determinations that he made. They may hold been perceived as being incorrect determinations, but Nixon genuinely believed that as the President he was above any intuition and ever claimed his artlessness throughout the dirt.

After the events of Watergate in an interview with a certain Game Show host, David Frost, Nixon shocked the universe in his belief that as President he was above the jurisprudence.

“ Frost: So what in a sense, you ‘re stating is that there are certain state of affairss, and the Huston Plan or that portion of it was one of them, where the President can make up one’s mind that it ‘s in the best involvement of the state or something, and do something illegal.

Nixon: Well when the President does it that means that it is non illegal.

Frost: By definition

Nixon: Precisely. Precisely. If the President, for illustration, approves of something because of the National Security, or in this instance because of a menace to internal peace and order of important magnitude, so the President ‘s determination in that case is one that enables those who carry it out, to transport it out without go againsting a jurisprudence. ” ( Gross & A ; Aol & A ; aacute ; in, 2006. Pgs 52/53 )

It would be in these same interviews that Nixon would acknowledge his failures and his incorrect behaviors. He would besides apologise to the American people.

Will Nixon ‘s bequest be remembered for all the good he may hold achieved for the people of America? Or will it be for Watergate? Before Watergate, Nixon had been popular and successful, all it took was one burglary, to convey that all crashing down.

Richard Milhous Nixon died on April 22, 1994 at 9:08pm.


Appendix A: Brief Timeline of Events

November 1968:

Richard Milhous Nixon, the 55-year-old former frailty President who lost the Presidency for the Republicans in 1960, reclaims it by get the better ofing Hubert Humphrey in one of the closest elections in U.S. history.

July 23, 1970:

Nixon approves a program for greatly spread outing domestic intelligence-gathering by the FBI, CIA and other bureaus. He has 2nd ideas a few yearss subsequently and rescinds his blessing.

June 13, 1971:

The New York Times begins printing the Pentagon Papers — the Defense Department ‘s secret history of the Vietnam War. The Washington Post will get down printing the documents subsequently in the hebdomad.

September 9, 1971:

The White House “ pipe fitters ” unit – named for their orders to stop up leaks in the disposal – burglarizes a head-shrinker ‘s office to happen files on Daniel Ellsberg, the former defence analyst who leaked the Pentagon Papers.

June 17, 1972:

Five work forces, one of whom says he used to work for the CIA, are arrested at 2:30 ante meridiem seeking to tease the offices of the Democratic National Committee at the Watergate hotel and office composite.

June 19, 1972:

A GOP security adjutant is among the Watergate burglars, The Washington Post studies. Former lawyer general John Mitchell, caput of the Nixon reelection run, denies any nexus to the operation.

August 1, 1972:

A $ 25,000 teller ‘s cheque, seemingly earmarked for the Nixon run, wound up in the bank history of a Watergate burglar, The Washington Post studies.

September 29, 1972:

John Mitchell, while functioning as lawyer general, controlled a secret Republican fund used to finance widespread intelligence-gathering operations against the Democrats, The Post studies.

October 10, 1972:

FBI agents set up that the Watergate housebreaking stems from a monolithic run of political spying and sabotage conducted on behalf of the Nixon reelection attempt, The Post studies.

November 11, 1972:

Nixon is reelected in one of the largest landslides in American political history, taking more than 60 per centum of the ballot and oppressing the Democratic campaigner, Sen. George McGovern of South Dakota.

January 30, 1973:

Former Nixon Plutos G. Gordon Liddy and James W. McCord Jr. are convicted of confederacy, burglary and wiretapping in the Watergate incident. Five other work forces plead guilty, but enigmas remain.

April 30, 1973:

Nixon ‘s top White House staff members, H.R. Haldeman and John Ehrlichman, and Attorney General Richard Kleindienst resign over the dirt. White House advocate John Dean is fired.

May 18, 1973:

The Senate Watergate commission begins its nationally televised hearings. Attorney General-designate Elliot Richardson taps former canvasser general Archibald Cox as the Justice Department ‘s particular prosecuting officer for Watergate.

June 3, 1973:

John Dean has told Watergate research workers that he discussed the Watergate cover-up with President Nixon at least 35 times, The Post studies.

June 13, 1973:

Watergate prosecuting officers find a memo addressed to John Ehrlichman depicting in item the programs to burglarise the office of Pentagon Papers defendant Daniel Ellsberg ‘s head-shrinker, The Post studies.

July 13, 1973:

Alexander Butterfield, former Presidential assignments secretary, reveals in congressional testimony that since 1971 Nixon had recorded all conversations and telephone calls in his offices.

July 18, 1973:

Nixon reportedly orders the White House taping system disconnected.

July 23, 1973:

Nixon refuses to turn over the Presidential tape recordings to the Senate Watergate commission or the particular prosecuting officer.

October 20, 1973:

Saturday Night Massacre: Nixon fires Archibald Cox and abolishes the office of the particular prosecuting officer. Attorney General Richardson and Deputy Attorney General William D. Ruckelshaus resign. Pressure for impeachment saddle horses in Congress.

November 17, 1973:

Nixon declares, “ I ‘m non a criminal, ” keeping his artlessness in the Watergate instance.

December 7, 1973:

The White House ca n’t explicate an 18 1/2 -minute spread in one of the subpoenaed tapes. Chief of staff Alexander Haig says one theory is that “ some sinister force ” erased the section.

April 30, 1974:

The White House releases more than 1,200 pages of emended transcripts of the Nixon tapes to the House Judiciary Committee, but the commission insists that the tapes themselves must be turned over.

July 24, 1974:

The Supreme Court regulations nem con that Nixon must turn over the tape recordings of 64 White House conversations, rejecting the President ‘s claims of executive privilege.

July 27, 1974:

House Judiciary Committee passes the first of three articles of impeachment, bear downing obstructor of justness.

August 8, 1974:

Richard Nixon becomes the first U.S. President to vacate. Vice President Gerald R. Ford assumes the state ‘s highest office. He will subsequently excuse Nixon of all charges related to the Watergate instance.

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