The Emperor's New Clothes
Exposing the Truth From Watergate to 9/11Book - 2009
The author documents his life and career, including his involvement as an investigator in the Watergate coverup, his time as a defense attorney in the Abscam case, and as a member of the 9/11 Commission.
Richard Ben-Veniste hates being lied to. He especially hates it when the American people are lied to. Widely respected as a trial lawyer, Ben-Veniste delivers a fascinating insider’s tale in his memoir of a career spent fighting hypocrisy and seeking accountability among the highest ranks of government.
A legal wunderkind, Ben-Veniste was hired at age thirty by Special Prosecutor Archibald Cox to investigate the Watergate cover-up. As chief of the Watergate Task Force at the time of the infamous “Saturday Night Massacre,” the author played an important role in prosecuting the case and revealed the extent of Richard Nixon’s involvement with his top lieutenants in a conspiracy to obstruct justice and commit perjury.
Prior to Watergate, Ben-Veniste had investigated and prosecuted corruption in the office of Speaker of the House John W. McCormack. In 1980 the author served as a defense lawyer in the controversial Abscam case, delving into a flawed sting operation that pushed the boundaries of legality and tested due process of law. In the Senate Whitewater hearings, Ben-Veniste helped expose the partisan agenda behind the effort to take down President Clinton. The author gained further national prominence as a member of the 9/11 Commission, in which his artful questioning of Condoleeza Rice revealed how ill-prepared the Bush Administration had been in the weeks leading up to 9/11.
A lifelong devotee to the principles of an open democracy, the author argues that the pursuit of truth is not one that should depend on party affiliations—that we should all seek to be partisans for the truth. Ben-Veniste recounts a remarkable career spent at the center of the most poignant public investigations of the last half century, fighting the abuse of power by those who wielded it most.