Bookmark and Share
 

President Nixon's Taping System

Between February 1971 and July 1973, President Richard Nixon secretly recorded 3,700 hours of his phone calls and meetings across the executive offices. Currently, approximately 3,000 hours of these tapes have been declassified, released, and made available to the public. Neither the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) or the Nixon Presidential Library have produced official transcriptions or made the complete audio files available online. Instead, they have left this monumental task a task that NARA once estimated took 130 hours of staff time to transcribe 1 hour of tape to individual researchers and scholars. More information about the Nixon taping system can be found here.

About nixontapes.org

nixontapes.org is the only website dedicated solely to the scholarly production and dissemination of digitized Nixon tape audio and transcripts. This site exists as a public service, plain and simple. It does not contain advertisements and does not collect personal information of visitors. We have the most complete digitized tape collection in existence approximately 3,000 hours spread over 6 terabytes of hard drives that contain more than 10,000 audio files. There is currently no plan to release the final 700 hours of Nixon tapes. These final tapes contain various restrictions preventing release, whether national security classification, materials deemed private or personal, non-historical material, and recordings that violate the privacy rights of living people. When any of these tapes are released, they will be posted on this site. 

The purpose of this website is to make freely available the best-quality digital audio and selected transcripts to scholars, journalists, and members of the public who are not able to travel to NARA's Archives II facility in College Park, Maryland, or to the Richard Nixon Presidential Library in Yorba Linda, California. To aid researchers, we do more than simply post the audio files: we also make available the NARA-created tape logs and time codes, the president's daily diary, and pertinent information about each conversation that makes your listening experience better and the tape collection more accessible.

At great personal expense, with technical assistance by Tom Blanton and others at the National Security Archive, we have transferred the audio from analog cassettes to archival quality Digital Audio Tapes (DATs), and finally to uncompressed digital formats, and have posted these files here in easy-to-download compressed formats such as mp3. This multi-year conversion work—which was greatly aided by the help of Rick Moss—was completed during mid-2009. We maintain both a physical copy of the complete digitized tapes and also—thanks to advances in technology—a security copy in the "cloud."

In order to ensure the highest level of accuracy, we listen to the best possible quality digital audio and review each transcript posted on this site multiple times. Again, we benefitted from the help of others, most notably Rick Moss and Anand Toprani. There is no guesswork involved in making accurate transcripts: if there is more than one opinion about something we hear on the tapes, we mark the segment "[unclear]". It is very difficult to render the natural speech found on the tapes; the audio quality ranges from unintelligible to fair. We encourage visitors to this site to listen to the audio while reviewing the transcripts, and we welcome your feedback.

     Editor of nixontapes.org

Luke A. Nichter is an Associate Professor of History at Texas A&M University – Central Texas, and a noted expert on the Nixon tapes. He is the author of the forthcoming book Richard Nixon and Europe: The Reshaping of the Postwar Atlantic World (Cambridge University Press, 2015), which is based on multilingual archival research in six countries.

Luke's latest book, co-authored with Douglas Brinkley, is The Nixon Tapes: 1971-1972 (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2014). He has written book-length biographies of Lyndon B. Johnson, Richard Nixon, and George W. Bush for the First Men, America's Presidents series at Nova History Publishers.

Luke is a former founding Executive Producer of C-SPAN's American History TV and his work has appeared in or has been reported on by the New York Times, Washington Post, Vanity Fair, and the Associated Press. His website, nixontapes.org, offers free access to all 3,000 hours of publicly released Nixon tapes as a public service.

More information about Luke here: http://lukenichter.com

Photo downloads: jpg (241KB), tiff (6.1MB)

 

Copyright 2007- | nixontapes.org