1971 August 16

“To Screw Our Enemies” – Memo to President Nixon Leads to Infamous “Enemies List”


The “enemies list” was just one of President Richard Nixon’s many abuses of power exposed in the Watergate scandal. The memo from White House Counsel John Dean on this day set forth his ideas about using federal agencies, such as the IRS, to punish people the Nixon administration believed were their enemies. Actually, there was more than one “enemies” list, as it grew over time.

Famously, when the enemies list was exposed on June 27, 1973, as part of the Watergate scandal investigation, CBS News reporter Daniel Schorr was reading the names on the list live on the evening news and discovered his own name on the list.

John Dean: “This memorandum addresses the matter of how we can maximize the fact of our incumbency in dealing with persons known to be active in their opposition to our Administration; stated a bit more bluntly — how we can use the available federal machinery to screw our political enemies.”

Learn all about Nixon’s “Enemies” List: http://www.enemieslist.info/

Watch reporter Daniel Schorr discuss being on Nixon’s “Enemies” list: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tu5fmobwywE

Read: John Andrew, Power to Destroy: The Political Uses of the IRS from Kennedy to Nixon (2002)

Read the Senate Watergate Committee report: https://www.maryferrell.org/mffweb/archive/viewer/showDoc.do?docId=144965

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