New news. June 28, 2023. Lowell Weicker died today, exactly 50 years after he was one of the recipients of a Charles Colson letter just five days after the first Enemies List became public. Fifty years later, Colson's letter can be called honest and accurate. Nothing in the Watergate findings contradicts it. Just as Colson fretted, the Enemies/Opponents List still invites exaggeration. The List was part of a pattern of abuse of power, but hardly the worst of it. More about Sen. Weicker below.

Nixon's "Enemies List" usually refers to the names published in newspapers in 1973, even though there is only one short list that can confidently be called a White House enemies list without quotes (see intro to First List). Young White House Aide John W. Dean III used the term "enemies list" loosely in his testimony before Congress, giving an eager press license to use the term for any of the names that came out of the "Opponents List and Political Enemies Project."

The NRA took down its official NRA Opponents List in early February 2013. (The link is to the Internet Archive version.) Sadly, they hadn't learned that recognition for opposing a powerful, self-righteous organization tends to become a badge of honor. Congratulations go to Jane Fonda, Norman Lear, Barbra Streisand and Joanne Woodward (Newman) for getting listed on both. The New York Times and the Washington Post also merited double recognition. The list is more than 10 years old, but attracted renewed publicity in January 2013.

In June 1974, Congress found no evidence that the IRS had been used to harass people on these lists. Nixon may have harassed people using the FBI and IRS, but not as a result of inclusion on these lists. Many people on the list, like Dan Schorr, were harrassed, but Nixon didn't need a list to know that he hated Dan Schorr. Others, like John Lennon, were not on any list, but were still harassed by the FBI. Still others, like L. Ron Hubbard, falsely claimed to be on the List and targeted by the FBI, but that was back when there was no good way to search all the Watergate testimony in order to disprove his claim. Thus, the "Enemies List" is more about bragging rights than political victimization.

A few thoughts on the late Senator Lowell Weicker.

Lowell Weicker was not on the Enemies List, but his name appears 3,096 times in the Watergate Testimony. As a liberal Republican senator from Connecticut, he was on the Senate Select Committee, asking a lot of questions. "Maverick" was the title of his 1995 autobiography, 13 years before the McCain/Palin campaign unsuccessfully co-opted the term. Weicker endorsed Barack Obama against John McCain. So, when you hear about a "maverick" in 2008 politics, the most salient maverick was Weicker.

His NY Times obit is good reading. Also click on the link to the 1995 review of his autobiography. It's a story about a different time and sadly familiar problems.

Still, the notion of two "Enemies Lists" (one published in newspapers on June 28, 1973 and the second on December 21, 1973) is part of American culture now. Here are a few reasons the interest endures:

You can search all 823 surnames and organizations on the lists (at top right) or browse the lists in their original order (at left). If you're familiar (or family) with an "enemy," please add a note about the details of his/her opposition to Nixon. What was the reaction to inclusion on the lists? If the list was mentioned in their obituary, please copy-and-paste the text. Any detail to help identify the person is appreciated, such as birth and/or death dates. This is an informal web project, but could help researchers some day.