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June 01, 2005



It is pretty amazing that Felt, Bernstein, Woodward, et. al., were able to keep their mouths shut for 30+ years, even in light of guesses thrown out in the public domain.

Is there a sizeable book advance left for anyone given this tidbit?

I wonder who writes the institutional in-fighting story regarding today's CIA, given the implications of the Felt story regarding top-level leaks to the press. Wilson-Plame doesn't even compare to the FBI's #2 leaking all over the place--or does it?


Just wondering, as I listen to right-wing blowback against Felt today, what's your call on Felt? Hero or traitor. I think it's slightly chicken to call sourcing into question when the story's 31 years old, you don't know what the reporters knew, and in the end no one has questioned their reportage. I smell a lot of sour grapes in the air.


Well, I do seem to recall liberal outrage over leaks from ??? during the Starr investigation of President Clinton. Clearly someone either in the Special Prosecutor's office, Justice Department, FBI or elsewhere (yeah, that's a lot of eithers) was leaking to the press the results of the investigation.

Recall the sturm und drang from the liberals over the leaks?

Guess it depends on who's being leaked upon. Kinda' like life, no? Forget about the type A or type B person or the inner directed or outer directed person. Life is all about being a leaker or a leakee.


Christopher Rake

Mixed motives--and thank goodness; three cheers for mixed motives. I may be a reasonably good member of the Vast-Right-Wing Conspiracy, but all the effort put into diminishing the importance of Watergate and even Felt's role is wasted. There was a cancer in the presidency alright, with lawbreaking just part of a day's work. Yes, Felt apparently believed he was unfairly denied being named to head the FBI; yes, he thought Nixon was out of control. At a minimum he was half right.

The main mixed motive I wonder about is that of his family in encouraging Felt to out himself.

Cecil Turner

"There was a cancer in the presidency alright, with lawbreaking just part of a day's work."

In the final analysis, I think that's right--and Felt's actions were necessary. It's worth remembering, however, that the first leak (of the Pentagon Papers) was indefensible as well, and I felt some sympathy for the frustration of Nixon & Co. as they discussed possible responses.

Still, having the Executive running amok is a short road to tyranny--and nothing else in this mess compares to that clear and present danger.

David Walser

I think much of the angst directed at Felt is over HOW he acted rather than that he acted. It would have been honorable for him to come forward, publicly, with his allegations. What he did allowed him to settle a score with Nixon without (much) risk to himself. That may have been smart, but it was not honorable.

Felt was the number 2 at the FBI. Hoover, before his death, had misused the power of the FBI to maintain his power in Washington. It's more than likely that Felt's hands were far from clean.


David, based on the way Nixon operated, I don't think that would have been effective. That Felt felt his life was in jeopardy wasn't paranoid.

Cecil, I don't know that I've ever agreed with you, but you nailed it on the head. Reminds me of something another Republican once said:

"Patriotism means to stand by the country. It does not mean to stand by the president or any other public official, save exactly to the degree in which he himself stands by the country. It is patriotic to support him insofar as he efficiently serves the country. It is unpatriotic not to oppose him to the exact extent that by inefficiency or otherwise he fails in his duty to stand by the country. In either event, it is unpatriotic not to tell the truth, whether about the president or anyone else"

That was TR, who remains my fave president.

Cecil Turner

Yeah, well, I don't want to pick out drapes or nuthin', but I also find myself in rare agreement with you on this one (especially considering some of the stuff G. Gordon apparently considered reasonable):

"That Felt felt his life was in jeopardy wasn't paranoid."



Was afraid for his life? Ummm. 30 years? Nixon dead?

And he was still afraid for his life?

Here's the rub. Felt abused and misused his position for personal gain.

Hero? Not.

Cecil Turner

"Was afraid for his life? Ummm. 30 years? Nixon dead?"

I think we were specifically referring to the time when Nixon was President, and the contention that:

It would have been honorable for him to come forward, publicly, with his allegations.
Which, though true, might not have been very smart, or healthy. I suspect his later reticence was at least partially due to not being proud of it. But even though there's some validity to that view, in the larger scheme his actions served the Republic. "Win by split decision" maybe?


Come on...with all the show me the money of the Felt family, Felt having committed similar 3rd rate burglaries on the "underground", the STRONG denials coupled with lecturing on how BAD it would be if he WERE deep throat, makes one feel sorry for Linda Tripp. He is a scoundrel no different than Nixon himself.

Cecil Turner

". . . makes one feel sorry for Linda Tripp."

Don't know why you'd want to do that. Just because a person who was acting as an agent for the President of the US was suborning her perjury:

On January 14, Ms. Lewinsky gave Ms. Tripp a three-page document regarding "points to make in [Ms. Tripp's] affidavit."(1012) Ms. Lewinsky testified that she wrote the document herself, although some of the ideas may have been inspired by conversations with Ms. Tripp.(1013)
And letting her know that the President would be telling the same story:
In a recorded conversation that day, January 15, Ms. Lewinsky encouraged Ms. Tripp not to disclose her (Lewinsky's) relationship with the President. Ms. Lewinsky tried to persuade Ms. Tripp to lie by telling her that others planned to lie: "I'm not concerned all that much anymore because I'm not going to get in trouble because you know what? The story I've signed . . . under oath is what someone else is saying under oath."
Leaving her with the choice of committing perjury, or being the only one left telling the truth . . . and possibly facing perjury charges because of it. It seems to me that anyone who doesn't feel at least a bit sorry for Linda Tripp missed the big picture.

"He is a scoundrel no different than Nixon himself."

Maybe a little different: he wasn't President.

Cousin Dave

Jeff: In response to your original question, I don't know that I much care one way or the other at this point. I'm willing to just say the motivations were mixed, and leave it at that. Mark Felt is an old man now and I'm not of a mood to pick on him.

However, I will say this: Three decades ago, my opinion of Woodward and Bernstein was pretty high. Subsequent events have taken it down, notch by notch. However, up until yesterday, I still believed the line that BernWood were hard-charging investigative reporters who uncovered a lot of the info themselves. Now that it's become apparent that they were actually spoon-fed by a source who had essentially all the information, my last shred of respect for them is gone. It's now clear to me that BernWood are just a pair of extraordinarly lucky hacks who hit the all-time journalism jackpot.

Cousin Dave

One more thought: does anyone besides me get the impression that Felt's hand was forced by someone inside his family? After thinking about it, I believe that he fully intended to take the secret to his grave with him.

Cecil Turner

"One more thought: does anyone besides me get the impression that Felt's hand was forced by someone inside his family?"

Dunno about "forced" (could be), certainly influenced, and for financial reasons. The admission appears considerably less laudable than the event. Probably the best thing you can say about BernWood is that they kept a secret for 30 years, but that's actually fairly impressive.


After about a week now, I find it interesting that Pat Buchanan and John Dean seem to roughly on the same page with the revelation of Mark Felt as "deep throat."
Both find it amazing that the No, 2 at the FBI (operationally the No. 1) was leaking stories to the Washington Post. The guy in charge of the WaterGate investigation was leaking, but why ?
Pat and John feel it is some sort of vendetta. They keep coming of short of saying it was the Hoover FBI fighting back against a White House that "went outside" to find a replacement for J Egar Hoover. This is bolstered by Dean's belief that "deep throat" had the help of 2 or 3 other FBI staff, and the fact that "deep throat"'s last "tip" was Nov. of 1973, while Felt retired in the Spring of 1973.

Was this an attempted "coup de tat" on the part of the Hoover FBI or just merely revenge ?

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