Skip to comments.Deep Throat: Too Late the Hero
Posted on 12/22/2008 5:01:36 AM PST by RKV
When I decided to write something on Mark Felt who passed away this week at 95, an online friend, Narciso, wrote of the incremental irony of Mark Felt. When I asked him to elaborate he wrote back:
He conducted illegal or at least dubious surveillance against the Weathermen, he then faults Nixon for the same tactics, he undermined his own agency and ultimately almost ended up in jail.
Besides sage words about being wary of the motives of government employees bearing tales of corruption to the press, Narcisos words constitute as complete an epitaph of Mark Felt as I can summon.
Felt has been lionized in the media for his revealed role as Deep Throat in the Watergate scandal. But he also has a history that shows him to be less than deserving of those accolades.
1. He Conducted Illegal or at Least Dubious Surveillance Against the Weathermen
In 1972 and 1973, the FBI was vigorously pursuing the Weather Underground, a domestic terrorist group who had planted bombs at the Capitol, the Pentagon, and the Department of State. On nine occasions, Felt authorized FBI agents to secretly break into five different residences in New York and New Jersey occupied by persons believed to be associated with the Weathermen.
These break-ins called black bag operations were conducted without court-approved search warrants. In United States v. U.S. District Court, 407 U.S. 297 (1972), the U.S. Supreme Court declared such warrantless surveillance to be unconstitutional, and the Carter administration, under Attorney General Bell, investigated the FBIs role in the matter. As a result, Felt was charged with conspiracy to violate the constitutional rights of U.S. citizens (Title 18, Sec. 241 USC) in 1978. After an unsuccessful attempt to plea bargain, the case went to trial in 1980.
Former President Nixon, driven from office by Felts revelations to Woodward and Bernstein, still did not know he had been his betrayer. Nixon not only contributed to his defense, but also testified on his behalf as did other members of his administration.Though found guilty of violating the civil rights of citizens, Felt received a relatively light sentence of a $5,000 fine, and even escaped that when, in March 1981, then-President Reagan pardoned him to the great joy of his fellow agency employees, officers, and Nixon.
2. He Faulted Nixon for the Same Tactics
Unknown to those in the agency who defended him, and to Nixon who supported him, Carter who indicted him, and to Reagan who pardoned him, Felt had been the source Deep Throat. His work for Woodward and Bernstein, the Washington Post reporters whose conversations with Felt revealed details of the black bag operatives working for Nixon, illuminated the entire illegal intelligence operation that included the break-in at the Watergate Hotel.
In fact, during the 1976 grand jury investigation of Felts own black bag operation, Assistant Attorney General Stanley Pottinger had learned that Felt was Deep Throat but the secrecy of grand jury proceedings prevented him from disclosing that to anyone.
So, while his colleagues were toasting his pardon and Presidents Reagan and Nixon were doing what they could to exonerate from blame a man whom they considered unjustly convicted, he was continuing to conceal his role as the individual who brought down the Nixon Administration. His reason? Probably for appointing someone else, not him, to the directorship of the FBI.
3. He Undermined His Agency and Ultimately Almost Ended Up in Jail
With the revelation years later of his double role, some argued that Felt was nevertheless a hero for exposing Nixons wrongdoing. Others and I consider myself among them believe he could have resolved this more honorably by telling what he knew to the grand jury investigating the break-in at the Watergate offices. (Today, of course, legitimate whistleblowers can bring any presumed wrongdoing to the attention of inspector generals in their departments or to the appropriate congressional committees.) Calling it in to the New York Times as Mr. Tamm did on the FISA program or to the Washington Post as Felt did seems more like an act of a wounded ego or spite than something designed to improve government operations.
In Felts case, it is hard to imagine a more monstrous betrayal than his. He reviewed every FBI report on the Watergate investigation and gave it to the reporters almost as soon as it hit his desk. One can only imagine the chaos and paranoia that action caused and how it impacted everything the FBI was working on.
Felt escaped punishment for his own wrongdoing and avoided any consequences for his betrayal of the very people who stood by him when he was charged with that wrongdoing.
So if youre looking for an Aesop Fable-like moral to this story, as in most real life accounts of double dealing, there isnt one.
Prosperum ac felix scelus virtus vocatur. Seneca, Hercules Furens
In Felt’s (partial) defense, illegal wiretaps against the Weathermen were aimed at revolutionaries intent on committing violence on the American people and government.
The Watergate wiretaps were aimed at political opponents.
There is a moral, if perhaps not a legal, difference.
Felt fades away, a rat-f*ck weasel to the end.
I believe the question (which I am not sure can be answered truthfully today) is “Were the wiretaps aimed at finding foreign links to domestic political campaigns?” In light of Obama’s foreign credit card financing of his presidential bit, which is illegal, and out in the open, this may seem naive. I guess there was a time when such things were not accepted as normal.
This guy was no hero, just a publicity starved bureaucrat who sold out everyone around him to try and make a name for himself. And he did, the name of a pornographic movie, Very fitting.
Political opponents who were emboldened by their silent coup against Nixon to the point of direct action against the American government [the Democrat media's shadow government advertising campaign against the war in Iraq and Afghanistan] and the placing of a Muslim whose mentor is a Weatherman in the presidency...
Whole lot of difference there... **grin**
So, was it Felt’s actions that caused Bill Ayers to escape conviction?
Yep. Part of me wants to ask the question as to whether that was deliberate or not. Knowing that a judge would suppress such evidence, that is.
Was Nixon framed?
why the %$&* didn’t he BURN THE TAPES...
Unclear to me. Personally I’d have impeached him (and a majority of the Congress) for passing “wage and price controls.” Taint no where in the Constitution that says that the government has the power to do that.
Good question. Can’t say as I know. Speculation? Never thought it would come to that, then it was too late.
Nobody knows, but a likely explanation? Hubris. After his 49-state landslide in 1972, he thought he was bulletproof. And he was already looking forward to writing his memoirs after he left office -- he'd need those tapes to produce a definitive, historical document.
The Watergate operations were run without even a pretense of national security rationale.
That’s why they were operated by CREEP, Nixon’s re-election campaign, perhaps the best-named such organization ever.
"Daniel Ellsberg (born April 7, 1931) is a former American military analyst employed by the RAND Corporation who precipitated a national political controversy in 1971 when he released the Pentagon Papers, a top-secret Pentagon study of government decision-making about the Vietnam War, to The New York Times and other newspapers."
So what is Daniel Ellsberg up to today? He is an endorser of the Revolutionary Communist Party movement "World Can't Wait"! In other words, he is of the same slime as Bill Ayers.
Click on the 'World Can't Wait' link just below and see: "Endorsers of the Call to Drive Out the Bush Regime Include" You may recognize a few other names as well, including the democrat chair of the House Judiciary Committee, John Conyers Jr. Conyers' name appears right after Ward Churchill's.
World Can't Wait--Drive Out the Bush Regime is a Maoist-revolutionary movement organized by the Revolutionary Communist Party. (scroll down the list that appears (after clicking link) to find the World Can't Wait organization --rwor.org is the website of the Revolutionary Communist Party):
From David Horowitz's FrontpageMag.com /DiscoverTheNetworks.org:
Profile: World Can't Wait (WCW)
*Revolutionary communist movement that stages protests against the Bush administration
*Organizes college and high-school students
*Founded in June 2005 by Charles Clark Kissinger, a longtime leader of the Revolutionary Communist Party
From the website of the Revolutionary Communist Party (revcom.us or rwor.org) :
"Create Public Opinion, Seize Power: We are preparing minds and organizing forces for the time when there is a major crack in the system, whenever it comes and wherever it comes from: an opening that makes it possible to bring the future Revolutionary Army of the Proletariat (R.A.P.) into the field and wage a revolutionary armed struggle that actually has a chance of winning. And we have said that building our party itself is the most important part of organizing forces for revolution. This is true now, and it is true looking forward to the creation of that future R.A.P. and the waging of that armed struggle.":
No. Establishing a connection between the RATs and the Weathermen would certainly have been a national security rationale.
What makes his betrayal all the more serious, was that the whole Watergate episode-the accusations, the investigations, the resignation of a President, all occurred in the face of the wind down of the Vietnam War and in the midst of the worldwide Cold War with Russia and China.
Felt endangered the security of the nation over a stupid political break in.
And the press hated Nixon because he went after Alger Hiss in 1949. There were Commies in the government from Roosevelt’s tenure, and Hiss was one of them, and one of the architect’s of that bastard creation, the United Nations.
Nixon was nice enough not to pull a Gore in 1960, when the vote fraud in Chicago(surprise,anyone?) and West Virginia was so obvious, to spare the country the turmoil of the acusation of a rigged election, which it was courtesy of JFK’s dad, Joe Kennedy Sr.
The press would not have had Camelot without Nixon’s action, and they still would not let him go.
What you see with Obama today, we had in 1960, when the TV and print media joined forces to elect the young, dynamic totally unprepared a-hole JFK as President. In 1957, JFK’s ghost written book, Profiles in Courage, was rocketed to the best seller lists, to boost JFK. Kind of like Dreams of My Father.
The difference is, JFK wasn’t a raging Marxist, had served his country in combat, and had legislative experience as a Senator.
To me, Watergate was a witchhunt, and because the media controlled perceptions, it deliberately made Nixon a monster, and Woodward and Hunt heroes.
LBJ, JFK, and Clinton did far more egregious things in office for which they never paid a price. Even though Clinton was impeached for lying to a grand jury and obstructing justice in suborning testimony, he never was charged with his far bigger crime, that of trading Chinese Army cash for his ‘96 campaign for nuclear MIRV missile technology.
And now, we have the most crooked Congress in history and the sheeple justed care about American Idol and who is in the myriad of fotball bowl games.
Landslide Lyndon, heh, unfavorable records did have a way of burning up fortuitously when they concerned him, didn’t they? ;>)
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