Can the White House Decide if They Bug the Oval Office?

WASHINGTON — In a captivating account Friday of candidate Richard Nixon’s attempt to sabotage Vietnam War peace talks — revealed in newly released tapes along with how anti-war protesters literally blocked Johnson from claiming the 1968 nomination — BBC writer David Taylor missteps when claiming that “none of [Nixon's] successors have dared to [record White House conversations.]” The current administration has denied, and then confirmed, that they record the Oval Office.

Last fall Vanity Fair’s Michael Lewis asked President Obama about it.

Lewis with Obama Can the White House Decide if They Bug the Oval Office?

Vanity Fair’s Michael Lewis with President Obama

“Is there a taping system in here?” I asked, gazing up at the crown molding.

“No,” he said, then added, “It’d be fun to have a taping system. It’d be wonderful to have a verbatim rec­ord of history.”

Two months after the Vanity Fair interview’s publication, Mark Bowden quoted Deputy National Security Adviser Ben Rhodes as saying the White House routinely tapes goings-on in the Oval. (Go to 34:45 in the video here to hear it for yourself.)

Bowden at Pitzker Can the White House Decide if They Bug the Oval Office?

His Personal Recorder Dead, Mark Bowden had Done Goofed! But Not to Worry . . .

According to Bowden, who was at the time researching his book The Finish: The Killing of Osama Bin Laden, Rhodes said, “We record everything in here.” Rhodes then provided Bowden, who also writes for Vanity Fair, with a transcript of his entire interview with the president.

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