On this day in 1972: Security Guard’s Alert Uncovered Watergate Break-In


Frank Wills, the security guard who discovered the Watergate break-in, is pictured when the Democratic National Committee presented him with a plaque in Washington, Oct. 18, 1974. Committee chairman Robert Strauss said Wills played "a truly unique role in the affairs of the nation." (AP Photo/Charles Gorry)
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On June 17, 1972, security guard Frank Wills exposed the Watergate break-in. Although President Richard M. Nixon and Washington Post star reporters Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein are most closely associated with the infamous Watergate scandal that led to Nixon’s resignation, Frank Wills, a security guard at the Democratic National Committee headquarters, is often overlooked.

This is the the view of the Watergate complex, right, from room 723 of the former Howard Johnson Hotel in Washington Tuesday, June 17, 1997, on the 25th anniversary of the Watergate break-in, which led to the downfall of President Nixon. The room was used as a look-out during the break-in of the Democratic National Committee in the Watergate. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

During his routine patrol, Wills noticed that the basement door had been taped open. He promptly alerted his supervisor and the police, leading to the discovery of five intruders.

While Woodward and Bernstein gained great fame, Willis sadly died in poverty in 2000 at the age of 54.

Frank Wills, the security guard who discovered the now infamous Watergate break-in on June 17, is now working as a security guard in another Washington office building shown May 16, 1973. It was Wills chance discovery of a piece of tape attached to a Watergate Basement door latch that lead to the arrest of five men in connection with the breaking into of the democratic national committee offices. (AP Photo)

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