June 01, 2005

And 'Deep Throat' Is ...

It's Offical

Well the Press is quite excited that it has been confirmed by the Washington Post that Mark Felt is indeed Deep Throat. In case you weren’t paying attention in History or Government class --- Deep Throat was the “anonymous source” in the Watergate break-in and subsequent executive cover-up. The break-in into the Democrat headquarters at the Watergate hotel, and cover-up eventually caused President Nixon to resign, despite being recently re-elected and very popular as President.

Interestingly, the series of stories about Watergate that appeared in the Washington Post, and informed by Deep Throat, established the use of “anonymous sources” in news stories, while in the past they were rarely used or only used to hint in the right direction, as appose to basing a story on their information, since there was no way to confirm the information provided by such sources.

I Used to Wonder

I remember in AP US/VA History class we all took guesses at who Deep Throat was, to my knowledge no one guessed Mark Felt, nor did we study him at all. That will change I’m sure, but thing is most people guessed it was someone inside the Whitehouse, a Whistleblower so to speak. I have to admit I didn’t think it would be someone at the FBI, as Felt was (#2 even.) It just didn’t seem to jive that an FBI agent would leak this kind of information to the Press. It would be a major volition of ethics to reveal information to the Press (secretly, in shadowy garages to a newspaper that had a major hatred of Nixon) in the midst of an investigation. I guess I had too much faith in them.

The break in and cover-up were wrong, against the law, and people went to prison for it, but I’ve always maintained I think it was overblown, and it was not something Nixon should have been strained to resign over. Not only that but Richard Nixon, who I feel was an extremely underrated, and unfairly criticized President --- was ruined by this whole matter.

How was what Nixon did any worse, or unusual in comparison to the actions of JFK, Johnson, and Clinton? I could go on, but that said, Nixon was a man about it --- instead of dragging the country through the pain of a Presidential impeachment, he stepped down, and never wined about the matter.

Nixon Aides say Felt is No Hero

Two Nixon aides Charles Colson and Patrick Buchanan had a few choice comments on this, here is a portion of Colson’s remarks.

Amy Robach: Chuck, I'm going to begin with you. You say you were shocked at yesterday's announcement, but as early as late '72 and early '73, Nixon did suspect Felt as a potential leaker. What do you think Nixon would say to this revelation?

Charles Colson
: I think he would be horrified because the FBI is in a unique position in government. They have everybody's dossier. Every file on every American sits there. If the guy who runs the FBI or the number two guy in the FBI feels free to give these out to people, you'd have absolute chaos in this country. You'd have tyranny run by the FBI. I just can't imagine somebody who was a consummate professional, as Felt was, somebody who had worked their way up through the ranks, who was implicated in the FBI culture, sneaking around dark alleys, cloak and dagger style handing out stuff to a couple of young reporters. It never computed with me, I never thought it made sense, because I thought Felt took his responsibility with a great more care than that.


There’s also a short piece by Ben Stein at American Spectator today, and a Slate article critical of Felt:

The July 2005 Vanity Fair piece fingering Felt as Deep Throat has now been confirmed by Bob Woodward. Why did Felt maintain his silence for so long? Part of the reason, I imagine, is that Felt knew his prosaic, bureaucratic-infighting motive was at least as strong as any moralistic desire to expose the truth about the crooks in the White House. That tarnishes Deep Throat's luster a little. Also, Felt's previous brush with national publicity involved his criminal conviction for bypassing warrants in his investigation of the Weather Underground. Ronald Reagan pardoned him, but it was a deeply painful experience, and Felt thinks the stress contributed to his wife's early death. It would only be logical that he'd avoid the spotlight after that. Possibly, too, he could imagine that the press would note that Deep Throat shared with Nixon an enthusiasm for illegal break-ins. But the main reason, I think, was that Felt saw his leaks as a betrayal of the FBI.

Six years ago, I asked Felt (who at that point was still denying he was Deep Throat) whether, if he were Deep Throat, that would be so terrible. His reply:

It would be terrible. This would completely undermine the reputation that you might have as a loyal, logical employee of the FBI. It just wouldn't fit at all.

But wasn't Deep Throat a hero?

That's not my view at all. It would be contrary to my responsibility as a loyal employee of the FBI to leak information.

Now that we know Felt was Deep Throat, I have a few bones to pick with Woodward and Bernstein. One is that, in All the President's Men, Deep Throat is described as a heavy smoker. But Felt quit smoking in 1943. I suppose Woodstein would call this necessary misdirection. I call it conscious fabrication, however trivial. Also, a November 1973 Woodward and Bernstein Post story sourced anonymously to "White House sources" is described in All the President's Men as being sourced to Deep Throat. Yet Felt was not a "White House source." It's conceivable that Deep Throat was an additional, unacknowledged source on the story, but it's also possible that Woodward and Bernstein were misleading readers about where they got their information. Which was it, gentlemen?

Also an intersting ChinaToday article about this matter too --- and remember “only Nixon could go to China” --- Nixon was the first Presient to even attempt peace with the Chinese (and thanks to his efforts we never had a cold war with them, nor any war.)

Major Misunderstanding

There is a vast misunderstanding of Nixon by people in my generation, and that’s quite sad --- the man who opened doors with China, ended the war in Vietnam (and the Middle East), was the first to begin nuclear weapons reduction and even started the EPA!

What do most people in my generation know him as? A crook. That’s it. The general outlook can be summed up in this quote from a Paul Oakfold song, by Hunter S. Thompson (you know that wacko that blew his brains out a few months back…):
Hunter: “Let me just read this."

“Nixon’s spirit will be with us for the rest of our lives whether your are me or Bill Clinton or you or Kurt Cobain or Bishop Tutu or Keith Richards or Aimee Fisher or Boris Yeltsins daughter or her finance's sixteen year old beer drunk brother with his braided goatee with his whole like a thunder cloud right in front of him.”

“This is not a generational thing you don't even have to know who Richard Nixon was to be a victim of his ugly nazi experiments. ”

“He has poisoned our water for ever. Nixon will be remembered as a classic case of a smart man sh_tting in his own nest, but he also sh_t in our nest and that was the crime that history will burn on his memory as a brand. By disgracing and degrading the presidency of the United States, by fleeing the White House like a diseased cur, Richard Nixon broke the heart of the American Dream... ”

I know Thompson was drug addict, and more then likely actually insane, but that’s pretty much how the left still views Nixon, and they certainly have hood winked my generation into believing it. Well maybe not as extremely unfounded and insanely as Thompson, but indeed a smear job … yet we should praise this guy that violated laws, snuck around in garages, and was later pardoned by Reagan (luckily for Felt) for his own break-in jobs? This prior day Linda Tripp, a hero? I think not.

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