Deep Throat Revealed, Or…?

Aquarian Weekly 6/8/05 REALITY CHECK


Deep Throat EscapesThe evil that men do lives after them; The good is oft interred with their bones. – William Shakespeare Julius Caesar Act III

By now everyone has heard that 91-year-old W. Mark Felt, former second in command at the FBI during the Watergate scandal that eventually took down the 37th President of the United States has finally come forth as the identity behind the infamous Deep Throat. The most notorious anonymous source in the history of journalism, so dubbed after the celebrated porn film of the same name by then Washington Post Managing Editor Howard Simons, the paper that unleashed the investigative talents of Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein to uncover a series of outlandish crimes by Richard Nixon, has been bandied about in books, college classrooms and documentaries for three decades. None of which had successfully fingered Felt among dozens of suspects. Some still argue it could not have merely been Felt, and I agree.

Up until Felt’s confession, the accepted theory was that Deep Throat, as most deep-background anonymous sources, was a composite of several hidden voices. This made sense purely because Deep Throat’s knowledge of numerous interconnected events and key characters was so vast and his access inside the White House so complete that anyone outside of Nixon’s most loyal inner sanctum could not have achieved it. However, the composite theory works on a simpler level. Woodward, merely a metro reporter who had been with the Post for a lousy nine months would have had a tough time selling several off-the-record sources as evidence that the most powerful position in the land had plotted and bankrolled this kind of cheap underhanded prank. One “deep” imbedded source was an easier pitch.

But those are simply theories. Evidence that an FBI source, however “high-ranking”, would not have been able to provide the kind of evidence portrayed in the Post’s 1973 stories appears in more detail in Woodward and Bernstein’s masterful, “All The President’s Men”. The book contains, as do many of the ’73 articles, several references to Deep Throat as a White House source or top-level insider, someone with first-hand knowledge of the Nixon tapes, incriminating documents, and a spectacular history of insidious plots hatched by the most powerful people in the country. Could this have merely been Felt?

Of course Felt was apprised of the evidence compiled by the FBI in the ongoing investigation at the time, but as a top man in the bureau, could he have been doing his job while snooping around gathering dirt from several different sources himself?

John Dean, then White House counsel and point man for the 1972 break-in said this week that Felt’s prominent position at the FBI so soon after the death of lifetime director J. Edgar Hoover made it practically impossible for Felt to have had the time or the balls for such tasks as writing cryptic messages in Woodward’s NY Times to arrange clandestine garage meetings that sometimes took up hours of the participants’ time. Dean had his finger on the pulse of events from start to finish. It was his riveting testimony at the hearings that was corroborated word-for-word on the infamous smoking-gun tape that ultimately buried Nixon. When the president finally asked him to put his name to paper outlining the gory events leading up to Watergate, one of several blatant scapegoat moves, Dean turned coat to save his ass. When he went to the FBI with his story, Dean admits he pretty much knew who could have been leaking what, and Felt never made his list.

It is fair to deduce that if Mark Felt was the Deep Throat and not a source composite, then he had help, much help in gathering the type of gaudy facts that eventually, with air-tight precision, destroyed the presidency of one of the most crooked politicians this country has ever produced.

No doubt Felt was a prime candidate. He had an axe to grind, believing, among many of his colleagues at the FBI that Nixon’s appointment of Assistant Attorney General L. Patrick Gray as director instead of a veteran insider reeked of an overt kind of self-serving. Gray’s name was later pulled when he admitted to sharing the FBI’s investigation of Watergate with Dean, who then had designs on helping the White House cover-up their party to the incident.

Felt was also privy to all of the mounting evidence that began to “grow as a cancer on the presidency”, so much so that Nixon urged his cronies to steer the FBI away from the proceedings claiming it a CIA matter that was of utmost importance to national security. Right then Felt, wounded by being passed over and wanting to seal Gray’s fate, would have had ample evidence and motivation for spilling the beans on Nixon. It is also important to note that Felt, originally a spy detector for the bureau, was later convicted and then pardoned by Ronald Reagan for authorizing FBI break-ins of war protester headquarters in the ’70s. He knew well the tactics of the Beltway and could identify a juicy breach from a mile away.

After the revealing Vanity Fair article was presented to the press this week, Woodward, who met in a DC garage seven times with Felt during the Post’s investigation, corroborated the confession in a statement followed by a brilliantly detailed column unfurling his close friendship and series of spot-on info Felt had funneled him long before Watergate. Woodward tells of Felt’s fears of the Nixon Administration’s “corruption” spilling into the FBI’s domain of illegal wire-tapping, opening of mail, and authorized break-ins – all later corroborated tactics of the Nixon era.

This is precisely why all this talk lately about Felt being some kind of traitor snitch who should have gone through the proper legal channels to prosecute Nixon instead of leaking evidence to cub reporters is ludicrous. By the time Felt, rightly or not, was passed over for FBI director the bureau was in turmoil. Hoover, the FBI’s only director, was dead. For decades he ran the tightest ship in DC, and in many ways held more sway than the president. The White House, as many had tried in the past, was beginning to put a stranglehold on several forms of the government, especially Hoover’s former untouchable domain. It was hard to fathom who was Nixon’s bitch and who was up and up. Well-worn stories of Gray dumping vital evidentiary records into the Potomac are all Felt would need to know before unburdening his soul.

To hear Woodward tell it, the best case scenario taking all of the evidence through the ringer; the surveillance of Woodward’s apartment to arrange the garage meetings to the detailed descriptions of major conversations and documents coming straight from the Oval Office to third-rate burglars and CIA rejects etc., it is fair to deduce that if Mark Felt was the Deep Throat and not a source composite, then he had help, much help in gathering the type of gaudy facts that eventually, with air-tight precision, destroyed the presidency of one of the most crooked politicians this country has ever produced.

Woodward concludes in his latest piece for the Post, “Because of his position virtually atop the chief investigative agency, his words and guidance had immense, at times even staggering, authority. The weight, authenticity and his restraint were more important than his design, if he had one.”

But the question remains for this reporter: Who was behind Deep Throat?

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