Watergate 'Gap' Mystery to be Solved?

"Watergate is a trauma event that the American public went through that's sort of like a festering wound. It introduced a lot of mistrust about the government," Mellinger said. "Why reopen Watergate? To restore the trust in the government and to put the blame for this mistrust on the people who implanted it."

Presidential historian and ABC News Consultant Richard Norton Smith says it is hard to foresee what new information the technology could yield, but it is important to give it a try.

"It makes sense. If you can send a ship to the bottom of the Atlantic and find the Titanic, then why not take advantage of what science and technology give you to uncover the past," he told ABC News.

National Archives to Use Forensive Documentation Technology to Uncover Nixon Mystery

The National Archives said instrumental examinations of the documents will include hyperspectral imaging at the Library of Congress to study the ink and to possibly reveal latent or indented images on the paper; video spectral comparison of the ink entries and paper substrates; and electrostatic detection analysis to reveal indented images that could correspond to original handwriting on these or other pages -- present or no longer present -- among documents from the files of Haldeman, who died in 1993.

Forensic experts say electrostatic detection has been used to examine countless documents since being developed in the early 1980s by a British company.

"It's been a godsend," said Albert Lyter, president and chief scientific officer of North Carolina-based Federal Forensic Associates. "We use it routinely for things like bank robbery notes. You might find a grocery list embedded on a bank robbery note or, if you're lucky, somebody's name and address. It's been really useful."

It works by placing the original document under a thin plastic film. An electrostatic charge is applied to the page and then, tiny glass beads and black copier toner are cascaded or carefully brushed over the document.

"What happens is the black particles will congregate in the areas where the indented impressions are," Lyter said. "So you can actually read the writing that's there."

Video spectral comparison helps visualize areas that are invisible to the human eye. Unlike the other two, hyperspectral imaging is a relatively new technology.

It's not clear that Haldeman's notes, now more than three decades old, would reveal anything. Experts say it depends on the environmental conditions at the time the notes were written and the conditions under which they've been stored since then.

"If their goal is to visualize the image of a page of missing notes then any of those techniques may be able to do that. They may be able to cme up with entire images of pages of notes," Lyter said, but "in some cases, the circumstances would prevent it -- If the notes were done on individual sheets and not one on top of another... you probably won't be able to find out what it said."

It may also be hard to get much information if the sheet of paper has been exposed to up and down humidity for a long period of time.

"There's no guarantee this is going to give them any information," Lyter added.

The technology, while useful, can be costly. Lyter said electrostatic detection costs $6,000, video spectral comparison can range from $15,000 up to $80,000, depending upon the model, and a hyperspectral imaging cost about $65,000, although a new model costs slightly less.

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