What’s a Little Tape Between Pals Like Nixon and Vasquez?

Times Staff Writer

Richard M. Nixon, whose presidency was brought down at least in part by the Watergate tapes, knew what those little beeps meant when he heard them during a telephone call he made last month to Orange County Supervisor Gaddi H. Vasquez.

THEY MEANT THAT THE SUPERVISOR WAS TAPE-RECORDING THE CALL, WHICH WAS TO THANK VASQUEZ FOR 2 ground breaking for the Nixon Presidential Library in Yorba Linda.

It is a misdemeanor to tape a phone conversation unless both participants are aware of it or unless one of them is a law enforcement officer. Vasquez, a former policeman, at first denied taping Nixon but admitted it Thursday.

“I considered it a private matter,” he said, “a memento for me and my family. . . . I’ve always made distinctions between private and public matters, and I considered this private.” Besides, Vasquez said, “I had permission.”


Not exactly, Nixon aide John Taylor said Thursday from his office at Nixon’s home in New Jersey.

Taylor said Nixon was never directly asked whether he minded being taped, but “when the President got on the line, he could hear the occasional beeps, so he could tell there was a recorder on. He didn’t object.”