Although it doesn’t appear in statute books, one particular law has wide application nonetheless: the law of unintended consequences. Forty years ago this summer, the phenomenon known as “Watergate” was a breaking story. Operatives on behalf of President Richard Nixon’s re-election committee broke into the headquarters of the Democratic National Committee in Washington’s Watergate complex early on 17 June 1972. Their objective was to install bugging devices in order to acquire political intelligence. Because of a call from an alert security guard, police were able to arrest the intruders. What the Nixon administration initially termed a “third-rate burglary” had far-reaching unintended consequences. The resulting cover-up and congressional impeachment hearings forced Nixon to resign the presidency in August 1974.