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Last Updated: Thursday, 10 July, 2003, 13:56 GMT 14:56 UK
Defining moments: Bob Woodward
A BBC series is asking some of the world's most influential people about the defining moments in their life.

Richard Nixon
Woodward's story brought down Richard Nixon

Bob Woodward is one of the most respected names in journalism. Together with Carl Bernstein, his investigation into the break-in at the Democrat Party headquarters at the Watergate building led to the downfall of US President Richard Nixon.

One moment I remember vividly seared into my head perhaps forever is the morning after the five burglars were arrested in the Democratic headquarters, and I was called in to work on this story.

I had worked at the paper nine months and was sent down to the local courthouse and they brought in the burglars.

Not your average burglars.

They were all in business suits, had rubber gloves, $100 bills, sophisticated photographic and electronic equipment.

Bob Woodward
Woodward was assistant editor at the Washington Post
And the judge asked the lead burglar, James McCord, where he worked.

And McCord whispered something that was inaudible, and the judge said, "Speak up."

Then McCord whispered again in an inaudible way and the judge said: "I can't hear you. I need to know where did you work?" and then McCord said, in a way that I could hear from the first row: "CIA" - Central Intelligence Agency - and it was a jolt.

It was one of those times when you realised - burglars in the Republican administration in the Democratic headquarters, with all these cameras, electronic eavesdropping equipment.

It was just one of those times when you kind of say: "That is really a story.

Defining Moments will run until 23 July on BBC World Service's World Today programme. You can also read people's recollections on BBC News Online.

Bob Woodward
"It was one of those times when you say, 'That is really a story'"

Defining the moment
09 Jul 03  |  In Depth

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