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."
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.
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:
- History shows that there were some good reasons to oppose Nixon;
- Nixon considered the list serious enough to apologize to four people on the first list (Mar. 23, 1974);
- Inclusion on the list is sometimes mentioned in obituaries as a source of pride;
- These people are a diverse, interesting group with a variety of reasons for opposing Nixon;
- Even in 2008, newly-released transcripts of Nixon's tapes showed that he really thought that "the press is the enemy; the establishment is the enemy; the professors are the enemy."
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.