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The Watergate Bug

The Watergate Bug
Usage Conditions Apply
Alternate Title
Richard Nixon (with Harry Haldeman)
Artist
Patrick Oliphant, born 1935
Sitter
Richard Milhous Nixon, 9 Jan 1913 - 22 Apr 1994
Harry Robbins Haldeman, 1926 - 1993
Date
1973
Type
Drawing
Medium
India ink over pencil
Dimensions
Image: 27.6 × 41.7 cm (10 7/8 × 16 7/16")
Sheet: 29.3 × 44.9 cm (11 9/16 × 17 11/16")
Topic
Interior
Costume\Headgear\Hat
Printed Material\Papers
Baggage & Luggage\Briefcase
Costume\Footwear\Shoes
Nature & Environment\Animal\Insect
Nature & Environment\Bone
Cartoon\Political
Harry Robbins Haldeman: Male
Harry Robbins Haldeman: Law and Law Enforcement\Criminal
Harry Robbins Haldeman: Politics and Government\Chief of Staff
Harry Robbins Haldeman: Politics and Government\Government Official\Presidential Aide
Richard Milhous Nixon: Male
Richard Milhous Nixon: Law and Law Enforcement\Lawyer
Richard Milhous Nixon: Literature\Writer
Richard Milhous Nixon: Politics and Government\Vice-President of US
Richard Milhous Nixon: Military and Intelligence\Navy\Officer
Richard Milhous Nixon: Politics and Government\President of US
Richard Milhous Nixon: Politics and Government\US Senator\California
Richard Milhous Nixon: Politics and Government\US Congressman\California
Portrait
Credit Line
National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution; gift of Susan Corn Conway, in honor of Alan Fern, on behalf of Patrick Oliphant
Restrictions & Rights
Usage conditions apply
Copyright
© Pat Oliphant
Object number
NPG.2002.176
Exhibition Label
This nationally syndicated cartoon references the widespread and illegal use of wiretapping, or “bugging,” during the Nixon administration. On the right, President Nixon and his chief of staff, H. R. “Bob” Haldeman, hover in the shadows, fearfully observing the overfed “Watergate Bug.” The creature is out of control, surrounded by strewn bones and a shoe. A briefcase labeled “Gray FBI” hints at the identity of its latest victim: FBI Acting Director L. Patrick Gray. In January 1973, Gray revealed to the Senate Judiciary Committee that he had destroyed documents and regularly reported to White House Counsel John Dean.
The caption at the bottom reveals the pair fretting, “Do you think it’s still hungry…?” as other unsatiated bugs remark, “So much for the hors d’oeuvres!” Indeed, Gray, who resigned on April 27, 1973, was only the first on a long list of government employees whose criminal actions were exposed.
Esta caricatura, distribuida a nivel nacional, hace referencia al uso generalizado e ilegal de la escucha telefónica (“bug”, o “bicho” en inglés, se refiere al micrófono oculto) durante el gobierno de Nixon. A la derecha, el presidente Nixon y su jefe de gabinete, H. R. “Bob” Haldeman, merodean en las sombras, observando atemorizados al “bicho de Watergate”, al que se le ha dado demasiado de comer. El insecto está fuera de control, rodeado de huesos tirados en el suelo y un zapato. Un maletín etiquetado como “Gray FBI” insinúa la identidad de su última víctima: el director interino del FBI L. Patrick Gray. En enero de 1973, Gray reveló ante la Comisión Judicial del Senado que había destruido documentos y que informaba con regularidad al abogado de la Casa Blanca John Dean.
La leyenda en la parte inferior revela la preocupación del par de hombres —“¿Crees que todavía tiene hambre…?”— mientras otros bichos insatisfechos comentan: “¡Nos quedamos sin aperitivo!” De hecho, Gray, que dimitió el 27 de abril de 1973, fue solo el primero de una larga lista de empleados del gobierno cuyas acciones delictivas quedaron expuestas.
Data Source
National Portrait Gallery