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On the Death of Deep Throat

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"De mortuis nil nisi bonum."

Of the dead, nothing but good.

So said Dean Acheson of Sen. Joe McCarthy on his death in 1957. "Tailgunner Joe" had bedeviled the secretary of state for his lassitude toward communist penetration of State in President Truman's time.

But the passing of Mark Felt, associate director of the FBI in the later Nixon years, lately exposed as "Deep Throat," the source for the Woodward-Bernstein stories, calls forth some rebuttal to the tributes lavished upon Felt as the honest lawman who saved our republic.

When the Watergate break-in was traced to the Committee to Reelect the President, Felt was put in charge of the FBI investigation. Almost immediately, he began to leak to Woodward.

Felt, it is said, was justified, as the White House was interfering with his investigation. False.

This is a moral cloak belatedly cast over more base motives.

The truth: Felt was a bitter man. Having risen through the ranks under J. Edgar Hoover, whose black-bag jobs he had overseen, Felt expected to be rewarded by being named director on Hoover's death. Nixon had passed him over for an outsider, L. Patrick Grey.

By secretly colluding with the Post, Felt was ingratiating himself with an establishment that loathed Nixon, even as he exacted revenge for having being denied by Nixon the post he had coveted.

Had Nixon or aides restricted Felt, the Post would have had an explosive story. But the Post never charged the White House with interfering with the FBI investigation that summer or fall, because it was not interfering.

What Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein ran with were such shockers as that Nixon's men had hired a trickster to ape the Democrats' Dick Tuck, and said trickster had sent dozens of pizzas to a Muskie rally.

The FBI had ferreted out the Artful Dodger, and the Post led with the atrocity. "FBI Finds Nixon Aides Sabotaged Democrats," screamed the four-column headline at the top of page one.

Indeed, if what Felt did was honorable, why did he lie and deny it repeatedly when asked if he was leaking to the Post? Why did he lie in his memoir in 1979, when, well into retirement, he emphatically denied he was Deep Throat? Was Felt so noble he could save our republic, yet refuse, to the point of lying in his memoirs, to take any credit?

Answer: Felt knew what he did was dishonorable, corrupt — and unnecessary.

For honest FBI agents were steadily making progress toward proving that higher-ups at CREEP were involved in aiding those caught in the Watergate break-in.

Felt had another reason for lying about his role as snitch for the Post. Former colleagues would be disgusted, for his was not only a breach of law, but of faith and trust, a dishonoring of his oath as an FBI agent.

One wonders what went through the mind of Felt, when, on trial in Manhattan in 1980 for those FBI black-bag jobs against the Weather Underground that had bombed the Pentagon and Capitol, ex-President Nixon walked into the courtroom to testify in Felt's defense?

When Felt was convicted, Ronald Reagan pardoned him, declaring that if the Carter amnesty was proper for those who had defected to Canada rather than serve in Vietnam, it was right to pardon those who risked their careers to protect the nation.

After exposure as Deep Throat, Felt wrote in a 2006 memoir, "The bottom line is that we did get the whole truth out, but isn't that what the FBI is suppose to do?"

No, Mr. Felt, that is not what the FBI is supposed to do.

Do we really want, here in America, our premier investigative and police agency to get the truth out that it decides to get out?

Would it have been right for Hoover to get the "whole truth out" on JFK's liaisons with suspected German spies, Mafia molls and Marilyn Monroe, and destroy his presidency? Would it have been right for the FBI to get the "whole truth out" of Hoover's secret files, and ruin all the public careers the FBI could have destroyed?

Isn't that what the old KGB did to its enemies?

In the early '60s, Robert Kennedy authorized Hoover to bug and tap Dr. Martin Luther King. When the FBI turned up film of King with loose women, LBJ's White House moved the photos to the Washington press.

Felt knew of this. The Post knew of this. The Washington press corps knew of this. Why didn't Felt and the Post blow the whistle on this squalid deed? Was it not so egregious as sending pizzas to Muskie's rally?

In that Scoundrel Time, the liberal establishment — the press, the politicians and the police bureaucrats — colluded to destroy Nixon, even as they covered for JFK and LBJ.

Nixon, you see, was not one of them. Is it not always thus?

Patrick Buchanan is the author of the new book "Churchill, Hitler and 'The Unnecessary War." To find out more about Patrick Buchanan, and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate web page at www.creators.com.

COPYRIGHT 2008 CREATORS SYNDICATE INC.



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Sir;... When Margaret Mitchell, wife of Nixon's Attorney General, John Mitchell saw J.E. Hoover at a reception she quipped: There's J. Edgar Hoover... If you've seen one FBI director, you've seen them all... She dropped so many dimes on those people they locked her in a nut house; or so I have heard... They may have only dried her out... But I think of her as a hero of sorts, what a conservative should be, holding fast, and fighting hard for the constitution and against those who would trample all over it, whether from the right, or the left.. This is a land formed out of revolution, and there is no conservative that is not a revolutionary.... I never had an FBI file, unless they never closed it; but my two brothers did; more black than white with redactions to protect the guilty and confuse the innocent... But not bad for a couple of teenagers handing out socialist leaflets...Imagine the time wasted by those paper pusher on a 17 year old cripple, and his thirteen year old brother.... I think, if the President had been a communist, the FBI would have spilled their guts all over him... He was one of them, and their enemies where his enemies, and I don't believe they would ever have brought him down, but would have been happy to use any leverage they had to get Nixon to do their will..Nixon knew.. He said: Hoover's got files on everybody... Of course, with Hoover gone, that will was not a single will... But consider how often Mr. Hoover had dismissed organized crime until its influence extended almost everywhere, and yet hammered at the defunct Communist Party... I have read that he had advance warning that the Japanese where looking hard at Pearl Harbor, and would not pass it on because it did not like its source... And then there was the bugging, and the interest on bringing the Kennedy's into the investigation on M. L. King; clearly finding his moral weakness, and exploiting it to strip him of his most able advisors and his most likely political support...The FBI, at least under Hoover, had no interest in Justice, and every interest in political control... Sure it would ruin people...Sure it broke the law; but mostly they controlled people in government, which gave them a free hand to go about undercutting our freedoms...And they manipulated the press so long as it was possible, and tied a rag to the tail of every union man in this country... It was this establishment of lawlessness that convinced those on the left who were violent to be violent because they could not compete in a sabotaged political process... We were all inclined to look at Hoover, and Nixon, and LbJ, and Daley as cut from the same cloth, reactionary, and lawless in defense of reaction... Deep throat was a rare man, and I trust, a happy one...He got his revenge... My generation knew we would always be denied both the truth of the matter and the revenge we deserved, that so many deserved for the way those in power trampled on our civil liberities, and warped politics toward the right... They did this land an injury, and they killed a lot of people, and true to form; you attack the man that let the cat out as dishonorable... We know better, Mr. Buckanan... For honor to have meaning, all people have to be honorable, and there was nothing honorable about even the best of them... And even today it continues... While this country is in its death throes, in an agony of worry, loss, and fears verging on panic which may well result in deaths, or starvation down the line, we still have people trying to push the ideological button... If this society is going to survive without the first half killing the second, we have to learn how to make this place work for all of us... The right has had their day...Unmolested, and without regulation they have brought the whole world into a nightmare of depression with the added danger of war... Our only solution is a managed economy...Our only cure is a limit on greed and wealth... We offer only a return to the promises of the preamble of the constitution, because if those promises will not be kept as they have not been kept in the past; then we must reform the government, and not out of ideology, but out of practical consideration... Government must work... And today it does not work...Thanks...Sweeney
Comment: #1
Posted by: James A, Sweeney
Tue Dec 23, 2008 5:40 AM
I recently read a artical of yours regarding the auto deal. I have to say I am deeply sadden that again someone in you position would blame the replubicans for the deal not passing thru the first time. We as citizens sometimes have to realize in life to hang on to what is important in life that we must make concessions. The union was not willing do this. If this was to have effected my life and my livelihood this would be exactly what I would have done. I am tired of hearing how replublicans have ruined or hurt our life. There is another side and they are called democrats and lets not forget this. They have just as much to do with what goes on in D.C. as anyone else. I am not pointing fingers but I am so tired of hearing how only one side is getting the raw deal. Yes they did things that cost them the majority in congress but enough is enough.
Comment: #2
Posted by: renea
Wed Dec 24, 2008 6:16 PM
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