Washington-based photographer spent a night at the Watergate Hotel to commemorate the 46th anniversary of the Watergate break-in. Enjoy the photo story he created and curated during his time spent in the infamous Pete Souza Scandal Suite.
From this room in 1972, E. Howard Hunt and G. Gordon Liddy directed the five burglars as they broke into the adjacent Democratic National Committee headquarters in the Watergate Office Building. Follow along as I post images from my overnight stay in the Scandal Room.
The Scandal Room at the Watergate Hotel contains many framed newspaper front pages and Richard Nixon quotes, (my favorite is “When the president does it, that means it’s not illegal.”) I have to admit it was a little bizarre to turn on the television in the room, and seeing the current president embroiled in another controversy next to the “Nixon Resigns” front page of the New York Daily News.
Just after sunset, I began to wonder about the anxiety that E. Howard Hunt and G. Gordon Libby must have been feeling. In directing the burglary at the DNC headquarters from this room, they knew they were committing a crime. I loved seeing the old reel-to-reel tape recorder, the binoculars, the manual typewriter, and the date of June 17 on the desk in the room.
This photograph was taken from the outdoor balcony of the Scandal Room looking into an empty office in the adjacent Watergate Office building. It made me wonder if, when the five burglars broke into the DNC headquarters, whether their flashlights were the only sign of life in the building. That’s the way it was portrayed in All The Presidents Men, but surely some of the offices had lights left on.
I probably should have tried on this robe, but instead I used it as a subject for my photographs after I had taken an early morning shower. I wonder if E. Howard Hunt and G. Gordon Liddy even had a chance to take a shower on June 17, 1972.
The next morning, I photographed the housekeeper making the bed after my overnight stay. I wonder if Hunt and Liddy ever even used the bed? Or did they flee the room after the burglars were caught? Was the housekeeper on the morning of June 17, 1972, even aware of what had transpired from this room in the middle of the night?