Macmillan Childrens Publishing Group
The Emperor's New Clothes

The Emperor's New Clothes

Exposing the Truth from Watergate to 9/11

Richard Ben-Veniste

Thomas Dunne Books




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.




I watched John Dean drone through his fantastic testimony about the Watergate cover-up on television in the living room of my Manhattan apartment. Dean's monotone belied the explosive content...


Praise for The Emperor's New Clothes

“Richard Ben-Veniste has played a critical role in exposing the most important national scandals of our time. His candid and compelling account of five of the most consequential investigations in recent history makes an invaluable contribution to our understanding.” —Senator Tom Daschle, author of Critical

“Richard Ben-Veniste is a very special lawyer. He has written a very special book. You should read it. You will be palpably richer for having done so.” —F. Lee Bailey, author of When the Husband Is the Suspect

“Super lawyer Richard Ben-Veniste has played a major role in the most interesting and challenging scandals in Washington over the last forty years.… I've been trying to get the real story from him for years--and here it is!” —Terry McAuliffe, author of What a Party!

“Richard Ben-Veniste is as tough and as smart as they come. In this new book he inspires us with his commitment to justice, fairness, and the truth.” —Paul Begala, author of Third Term

“Ben-Veniste punches like a heavyweight, attacking hubris and hypocrisy in a career that spans four decades of major scandals. A knockout!” —Roger Cossack, ESPN legal analyst

“Richard Ben-Veniste's fascinating narrative highlights his pursuit of the bad guys through the legal system and his service to the American public and the Constitution.” —Daniel Schorr, National Public Radio, and author of Come to Think of It

“Richard Ben-Veniste has written a compelling book that recounts his five-decade pursuit of truth and transparency from successive American administrations.” —Valerie Plame Wilson and former U.S. ambassador Joseph C. Wilson

“Reading Richard Ben-Veniste's book gave me a sense of eavesdropping on the history of the late twentieth century and the new millennium with all of its mendacity, nobility, and folly. Ben-Veniste is that rare attorney who can combine first-rate legal acumen with riveting storytelling.” —Eric Dezenhall, CEO of Dezenhall Resources and author of Damage Control

“Richard Ben-Veniste dismantles and exposes with rapier-like precision the mechanics of disinformation, once considered the monopoly of totalitarian societies.” —Arnaud de Borchgrave, director of the Transnational Threats Project, Center for Strategic and International Studies

“Richard Ben-Veniste has been at the center of many of Washington''s most historic brawls. His entertaining history is told truly from inside the eye of the storm.” —Jane Mayer, author of The Dark Side

“In the small world of towering giants of the legal profession who could do it all--investigate exhaustively, handle the written and spoken word at the highest levels, and prowl the courtroom with skill, cunning, and an ineluctable quest for truth…Richard Ben-Veniste is a very special lawyer. He has written a very special book. You should read it. You will be palpably richer for having done so.” —F. Lee Bailey

“Richard Ben-Veniste is one of the most distinguished lawyers in the United States. His leading roles in the Watergate, Whitewater, Abscam, and 9/11 Commission investigations showed him to be both a highly effective investigator and a guardian of civil liberties.” —Bob Woodward, author of The War Within

Reviews from Goodreads

About the author

Richard Ben-Veniste

Richard Ben-Veniste is a partner in the international law firm Mayer Brown LLP. Among his many distinctions, he served as a member of the bipartisan 9/11 Commission, as Minority Chief Counsel for the Senate Whitewater Committee, as Chief of the Watergate Task Force of the Watergate Special Prosecutor's Office, and as Chief of the Special Prosecutions Section of the United States Attorney's Office for the Southern District of New York. He lives in Washington, D.C., with his wife and daughter.

Richard Ben-Veniste

Richard Ben-Veniste

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Thomas Dunne Books

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