National Security on the Night Shift, June 17, 1972

Forty-eight years ago this evening, Watergate Office Building security guard Frank Wills changed American history for the better by doing his job well.

Here’s the log that he and then the next officer, on the day shift, kept.  It shows Wills’s discovery that two doors on Basement level 2 had been wedged open, and that a door on B3 and another door were unlocked.  It also shows that Wills called the District of Columbia police, who investigated and confirmed that a door had been taped open.

Here is my rough transcription of the handwritten log—Mr. Wills was not a perfect speller, but his log entries were solid, generally recording what he did and found on that momentous night shift:

[Handwritten entries by Watergate Security Officer Frank Wills:]

6–17–72

Wills on duty 12:00

Left                 Return             B2 Level Stuffed With

12:05               12:20 AM        Paper Both Doars

also one Doan on

B3 level was open

The other was stuff

with paper and the

Doar annex outside

Off office bldg. was

open

12:30 AM        1:00 AM          Cut all lights out

In hall

1:47 AM          1:55 AM          Call police found

tape In Doare Call

Police two make

A inspection on the

Inspection Police 25

Sir Sgt Jackson made

out RePort

5:22 AM          6:20 AM          Secured all B1-B2-B3

Levels

6:25 AM          6:30 AM          unlock trash doar.

6:30 AM          7:05 AM          Levels B1 B2 B3 Secured

7:30 AM          Levels B1 B2 B3 Secured

[Handwritten entries by a second person:]

8:00 AM                                  Made reliev + men informed

about the Break in   Check floors + return

Back to Desk – 8 55 (AM)

[Resumed handwritten entries by Officer Wills:]

8:00                 9:00                 officer came back

Two invesgiate Return

Two lobby.  Wills off Duty

Two invesgiating officers

Carl Schaffler, Sgt. Paul

Leeper.

The D.C. police investigated inside the Watergate building, found five burglars in the offices of the Democratic National Committee, and arrested them.

Those burglars, in turned out, were working for President Richard M. Nixon—investigations established that his White House, his administration, and his reelection campaign had committed many serious crimes.

On August 8, 1974, President Nixon resigned from office.

A week later, Frank Willis appeared on a television show and told his story.

Thank you, sir, for your example.

1 thought on “National Security on the Night Shift, June 17, 1972

  1. Margaret Shannon

    Until today, I had never seen this Geraldo interview with Frank Wills, the young guard I saw every day when leaving my DNC office in the Watergate office building. It was he who spotted the taped doors-twice-and called DC police that night. He may have been financially poor but Frank’s insight into what brought Nixon down is, in retrospect, shocking richer than most pundits—and a dire warning to the entire Trump gang. Sadly, Wills died way too young.

    Reply

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