President Nixon's Taping System
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
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 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
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
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
better and the tape collection more accessible.
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."
order to ensure the highest level of accuracy, we listen to the best possible
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
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
Nichter is a Professor of History and James. H.
Cavanaugh Endowed Chair in Presidential Studies at Chapman
University in Orange, California. His area of specialty is the
Cold War, the modern presidency, and U.S. political and
diplomatic history, with a
focus on the "long 1960s" from John F. Kennedy through
Watergate. He has been a Visiting Fellow at the
Institute, an Andrew W. Mellon Fellow at the
Massachusetts Historical Society, a National Endowment for the
Humanities Public Scholar, a Visiting Scholar at
the University of Michigan's Eisenberg Institute for
Historical Studies, a Senior Visiting Research
Fellow at the University of Oxford's
Institute, a Hansard Research Scholar at the
of Economics, a Visiting Scholar at
Bowling Green State
National Endowment for the Humanities
He is a noted expert on Richard Nixon's 3,432 hours of secret
White House tapes. Luke is a New York
Times bestselling author or editor of seven
Richard Nixon and Europe: The Reshaping
of the Postwar Atlantic World (Cambridge University
Press), which was based on multilingual archival research
in six countries. His most recent book is
Henry Cabot Lodge Jr. and the Making of the Cold War,
published by Yale University Press.
It is the first full biography of Lodge
– whose public career spanned from the 1930s to
– also based on extensive multilingual
This work was awarded a
National Endowment for the Humanities
Public Scholar Grant for 2017-18.
Luke's next book project, also under contract with Yale
University Press, is tentatively titled The Making of the
President, 1968: Lyndon Johnson, Hubert Humphrey, Richard
Nixon, and George Wallace, and the Election that Changed
America. It will be the first rigorously researched
of the subject to have cooperation from all four major sides
of the most controversial election in modern U.S. history.
Luke has interviewed approximately 85 family members and
former staffers, in addition to extensive archival research
involving first-time access to a number of key collections
that will dramatically change our understanding of the
election. This work was awarded a
National Endowment for the Humanities Fellowship for 2020-21.
He is the author, with Douglas Brinkley, of the New
York Times bestselling
The Nixon Tapes: 1971-1972
Harcourt), with a
published by Chinese publisher SDX (Sanlian)
Joint Publishing Company in 2019.
A sequel volume, The Nixon Tapes: 1973, was published in 2015. Another of Luke's books will appear
Mandarin version to be published by Renmin University of China
Press. His two volumes on the Nixon tapes were the winner of the
Arthur S. Link - Warren F. Kuehl Prize for Documentary
Editing, awarded by the Society for Historians of American
Foreign Relations. Jane Kamensky, Professor of History at
Harvard University and Carl and Lily Pforzheimer Foundation
Director of the Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on
the History of Women,
volumes among the five best books on th 1970s.
Luke is a former founding Executive
Producer of C-SPAN's
American History TV,
launched during January 2011 in 41 million homes.
A feature of the series is "American Artifacts," a weekly
program that Luke conceptualized, which lets viewers experience a museum, an archive, or
a historic site from behind the scenes
– something different than what they would ordinarily
see as a member of the visiting public. In August 2020, the
appointment to the
Advisory Council on Historic Preservation, which was
created in 1966 as part of President Lyndon Johnson's Great
– transforming the role of the federal government from
destroyer to protector of historic, cultural, and tribal sites.
His work has appeared in or has been reported on
widely in the media.
offering free access to the publicly released
Nixon tapes as a public service, was featured by
CBS Sunday Morning.
He has written an authoritative history of White House taping
systems, beginning with
Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1940 through Richard Nixon in 1973, for the White
House Historical Association.
Luke has having
filed over 2,000 Freedom of Information Act
(FOIA) requests for the purpose of opening historically importat
records to public access
– work that has been
officially endorsed by the American Historical Association.
petition before Judge Royce Lamberth of the District Court
for the District of Columbia
unsealed thousands of pages of government records in the
custody of the National Archives and Records Administration.
He earned his Ph.D. in History from Bowling Green State
University, and lives in Orange, California and Bowling Green,
More information about Luke
can be found at lukenichter.com