It is one of the enduring mysteries of the Watergate scandal: What were Richard Nixon and his chief of staff, H. R. Halderman, discussing during the 18-and-a-half minutes that disappeared from the Watergate tapes? Phil Mellinger, a former systems analyst at the National Security Agency and high-tech corporate security expert, thinks he might be able to solve it. Researchers have for decades tried to recover the audio from the tapes, but Mellinger claims the answer to the riddle may in fact lie in Halderman’s meticulous note-taking. The amateur historian believes the two pages of Halderman’s notes from his meeting with Nixon may contain evidence there were in fact several other pages that went missing along with the tape. Using CSI-esque technology to re-create the notes from imprints left by Halderman’s ball-point pen on the existing pages, Mellinger figures he might be able to reveal just what the two men were talking about. An expert at the National Archives has already confirmed the second page of notes contains indentations that might respond to Mellinger’s technique and has recommended further testing be conducted. Senior officials are reportedly studying the request.
What did Nixon say to Halderman?
An amateur historian says he might be able to re-create the missing 18-and-a-half minutes from the Watergate tapes