Some scholars at the University of Virginia are hoping to unlock the mysteries of the Nixon Tapes. Historians at the university's Miller Center held a panel discussion Friday on the significance of these secretive recordings and what they mean for us today.
Nixon authors Ken Hughes, Luke Nichter and John Prados discussed their research and writing based on the tapes. Douglas Blackmon, the host of the Miller Center's American Forum, moderated the discussion.
Between 1971 and 1973 former President Richard Nixon secretly recorded nearly 3,700 hours of conversations and meetings. Researchers say they've learned a tremendous amount about Nixon thanks to the once-private tape recordings. They believe the tapes offer a truly rare glimpse at a two and a half year period behind the scenes in the Oval Office.
"All of us see that as a marvelous opportunity, and an extremely rare one. Probably once in history will we have a source this good," said Hughes.
Historians said Nixon was incredibly candid on the tapes because he had no idea he would eventually lose control of them during the Watergate scandal.