May 31, 2005

"I'm the guy they used to call Deep Throat."

That's a funny way to put it, isn't it? As if we'd stopped talking about Watergate long ago and the memory of it had gone all fuzzy. W. Mark Felt is 91, and his family thinks he ought to have the experience of hearing what people say when they find out he was the historical mystery man. He says he's not proud of it himself, so maybe he wanted to avoid hearing criticism, but his family seems to have assured him he'd be celebrated and seems to have wanted to share the experience with him.

UPDATE: Anyone else having that Joe-Klein-wrote-"Primary Colors" feeling? The hidden identity was fascinating, the actual identity quite boring.

In the comments: I see I'm being sentimental in assuming the family is motivated by a desire to share a celebratory experience.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Amba finds comparisons to "Jaws" and "The Little Prince."

26 comments:

Meade said...

Apparently, Felt's children have prevailed upon him to follow his own advise and "follow the money" (right into their pockets).

Ann Althouse said...

That makes my post look awfully sentimental!

Meade said...

Or else my comment is shamefully cynical.

SteveR said...

I'm going with the financial motive, aka the "shamefully cynical" one.

Ron said...

I dunno...seems kinda anticlimatic, doesn't it?

Brendan said...

Poor Woodward and Bernstein. Scooped by their own source, who was supposed to die anonymously. There goes that climactic post-death press conference.

Mark Kaplan said...

I knew this would eventually happen: I find out about an important national piece of news by reading Althouse's blog rather than seeing it on TV, hearing it on the radio or reading it in the newspaper.

Alcibiades said...

Not to mention the fact that agents of the FBI are not really supposed to be reporting on the President to the media. And helping to bring on his downfall.

Could you imagine if a rogue FBI agent had done this to a Democrat President how many people on the left would be screaming that our nation had finally become turned into a police state, and that this was an *illegal* coup d'etat.

No wonder he's not proud of himself.

TWM said...

Brendan is right on. I bet both Woodward and Berstein are fuming at being scooped. And it must be especially annoying to them because they can't spin the story the way they want -- the guy is alive and can spin back.

I am afraid that this news is only of interest to political junkies and the media. I mean I lived through it and I can't get too excited over it.

Ann is correct -- it was more exciting not knowing.

leeontheroad said...

"how many people on the left would be screaming that our nation had finally become turned into a police state, and that this was an *illegal* coup d'etat."

Perhaps soem, but let's hope any so-called screaming woudl be drowned out by concerns about the Executive grab of power embodied in the ties between CReEP and the White House. Come on, those activities were illegal. If "Deep Throat's" whistle-blowing, instead, is to be seen as despicable and/or merely political, we'll have learned very little from Watergate. At the time, it was seen as clearly wrong by average folks along the breadth of the political spectrum. Woodward and Bernstein's reporting-- if one is to beleive All The President's Men-- was corroborated mostly by stand-up Republicans, after all.

David Manus said...

Could you imagine if a rogue FBI agent had done this to a Democrat President how many people on the left would be screaming that our nation had finally become turned into a police state, and that this was an *illegal* coup d'etat.

If it had been a Dem prez, the press would never have attacked the story with such ferocity in the first place, and their hatred for Nixon also stoked the fire. I don't think Nixon was any more corrupt than LBJ, and probably less corrupt than FDR.

Meade said...

Doesn't it fall under the category of Umteen Wrongs Do Not A Right Make?

SteveR said...

The likely thing is Woodward and Bernstein will claim that Deep Throat was not just one source, it was consolidated for literary purposes (something recently discussed). So they will still hold the upper hand with those who care, a group dying as fast as possible sources.

Sloanasaurus said...

It reinforces the notion that agencies such as the CIA and FBI cannot always be trusted by the President even though they are supposed to be providing services to the President.

So what happens if someone in the CIA or FBI has an ideological position that they truly believe is the right thing to do....can we expect civil servents to leak...leak...leak for their own ideological view.

Perhaps Mr. Felt did the right thing. Still, his pension should be cancelled.

lindsey said...

"So what happens if someone in the CIA or FBI has an ideological position that they truly believe is the right thing to do....can we expect civil servents to leak...leak...leak for their own ideological view."

There are rumors this very thing has been happening to Bush for years now.

Sloanasaurus said...

Leaking for ideological posterity is no different than leaking for money. Perhaps someone could be prosecuted for selling secrets to the press for ideological profit.

It was always thought before that Deep Throat was from the Administration and that the person was acting out of patriotism to the Republic because they were acting contrary to their own personal interest (blah blah blah) Now that it turns out that Deep Throat was from the FBI......hmmmmm

HaloJonesFan said...

"I'm Deep Throat!"
"No, I'm Deep Throat!"
"I'm Deep Throat, and so's my wife!"

Moral Turpitude said...

What?? That was a million times cooler when it was still a mystery. I'm really disapopinted. Perhaps there will be a cool twist.

Mark Daniels said...

I'm the guy they used to call Mark Daniels. Now, where's my money?

Brendan said...

Expect the Left to quickly deify this man, ala Daniel Ellsberg or Coleen Rowley. But if you're Gary Aldrich ...

Alcibiades said...

Hmm. Well look at this.

Felt himself had hopes that he would be the next FBI director, but Nixon instead appointed an administration insider, assistant attorney general L. Patrick Gray, to the post.

Shades of Richard Clarke...

Though it does make you wonder if Bernstein was pissed at Felt's revelation, and so provided a counter-revelation, because it certainly doesn't flatter Felt's position for that to be revealed.

Meade said...

"Woodward's source became such a key part of the discussion among top editors that then-Managing Editor Howard Simons gave him a nickname, "Deep Throat," a blend of the rules of engagement Felt had with Woodward -- "deep background" -- and the title of a notorious pornographic movie.

When the book and then the movie were released, Woodward said, Felt was shocked to have his place in history tagged with such a tawdry title." [www.washingtonpost.com]

Nixon and Clinton -- two presidencies brought down by secret fellation and leaked private phone conversations.

Monica Lewinsky -- ultimately betrayed by her friend, Linda Tripp.
Mark Felt -- betrayed in the end by his own two kids.

CraigC said...

Celebratory? My wife and her dad are/were (he passed away) both ex-FBI, and we both agree that this little shit confessed now because he feels guilty about what he did. To be FBI, and be a leak, especially on a matter of national importance? If the little fuck thinks confessing just before he dies will get him into Heaven, he should start praying a lot harder.

TWM said...

From what I hear he has dementia and it is his family that are taking advantage of him.

Sad really.

stoqboy said...

How ironic is it that Felt and Nixon were given presidential pardons for (essentially) the same crime?

Meade said...

Good point, stoqboy.

And if a hero can be defined as one who makes a self sacrifice in order to do what is right, who were the true Watergate heroes? Elliot Richardson and William Ruckelshaus. That's it. Everyone else was either lying, snitching, committing crimes or just doing their jobs.