Skip to comments.Felt's motivation might not have been so noble, by Robert Novak
Posted on 06/02/2005 6:07:00 AM PDT by OESY
WASHINGTON -- Mark Felt, finally revealed as the "Deep Throat" who divulged the Watergate scandal, is wearing the hero's laurel 32 years later. But that designation comes across as peculiar to those of us who lived through the turbulent times.
Felt deserves praise for breaking the rules as FBI associate director, providing Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein of the Washington Post the guidance to determine whether they were on the correct path in uncovering the machinations of President Nixon.
However, Felt was considered by reformers at the FBI to be part of the problem rather than the solution. He was viewed as a sycophantic lieutenant of lifetime FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover who came down hard against any agents who tried to bring change to the bureau.
Everybody knew that Felt was leaking information to Woodward and Bernstein about the Watergate investigation. The reporters made no secret of the fact that they were getting leaks from inside the FBI, and it was presumed that Felt was one of the leakers. Felt was very unhappy with the Nixon White House, partly for many reasons that were not necessarily noble or patriotic.
Indeed, Felt often was rumored to be Deep Throat. But the general feeling inside Washington was the super-source described by the reporters in "All the President's Men" had to be closer to the scandal than a senior FBI bureaucrat.
Consequently, major past and present figures in the Nixon White House over the years were listed as Deep Throat candidates: Alexander Haig, David Gergen, Leonard Garment and John Sears. Any of them would seem more dramatic than Mark Felt.
Felt unquestionably provided an invaluable service to Woodward and Bernstein in pointing them in the right direction. But his motivation may not have been as noble as his family now makes it out to be.
As a high-ranking FBI official, Felt helped clean out of the bureau the critics who stood up to the dictatorial Hoover. One of the victims whom Felt helped to purge was Assistant Director William Sullivan, Hoover's arch foe who was considered one of the FBI's most liberal leaders.
Felt was known to be angry with Nixon for naming a political appointee, Patrick Gray, as FBI director when Hoover died. Gray was all too willing to do whatever Nixon wanted and was forced to resign in 1973 when he became entangled in the administration's unfolding scandals.
Gray's successor was the high-minded William Ruckelshaus, the first head of the Environmental Protection Agency. Felt was around during Ruckelshaus' tenure for less than a month before he quit. During that period, he offered only obstruction to efforts by the new FBI director to investigate Watergate. The FBI effort got poor grades from unbiased agents who wanted a well-run investigation.
Felt might have been more interested in leaking to Woodward than conducting an investigation that Nixon was trying to obstruct. Whether that makes him a hero will be the judgment of history.
Ironic coming from Novak considering his role in the Plame kerfluffle.
Scratch any informant, snitch, traitor, turncoat and you'll get an opportunist.
You are falling to the MSM's propaganda. The Plame kertuffle was all BS. She was not outed. She was not an undercover operative. Before she was supposedly outed her picture and identity were posted on her hubbys website. This was nothing more than a way to get rich and to make Bush look bad!
Open letter to Mark Felt:
Admiral Boorda had the decency to commit suicide.
Thanks for setting the Plame (I am a spy) story straight. I'm sick of hearing about this stupid story. She should have been fired from the CIA a long time before she was "outted". She had already outted herself.
Look at poor Joan Kennedy. Her kids are trying to steal her home.
But its hypocritical of the media who want Novak fired and his source outed. Yet for the last 30 years they have been hailing Deep Throat and the two clowns from the Post as demigods.
Neil Gabler on Fox News Watch has said over and over that Novak should be fired and his source outed. Watch this weekend and see him defend DT and Woodward and Bernstein until he is blue in the face.
Not only that, she was listed in Who's Who, along with her job.
I don't think you actually read the column, given your comment.
In many ways Plame and Felt were similar. They both hated "their" President and were intent on hurting him. I believe both would like to cash in on their bitterness and their "actions". AND, the media loved them both.
This is MFs motivation. Anyone saying he was "noble" is smoking manure.
Plame affair: how about her husband's treason for exposing to the MSM that he was on a secret mission, didnt that compromise security as much or more than "outing" a Langley bureaucrat?
"Felt was known to be angry with Nixon for naming a political appointee, Patrick Gray, as FBI director when Hoover died. "
Sounds like this is the early beginnings of the trend we have now when a disgruntled employee "goes postal".
Mark Felt's action was like "fragging" your CO in the military for which he should be shot along with those in the media who promoted the undermining of the president. That would sure clean up the MSM.
Hoover's Judas was William C. Sullivan, the FBI's Assistant Director for Domestic Intelligence. A short man approaching sixty, Sullivan was regarded in the Bureau as something of a character, as William Harvey once had been. He was one of the Bureau's few liberal democrats, and an intellectual in the "nutty professor mode"; his home and office were stacked with books, and Bureau efficiency reports consistently noted that "this agent does not always present a neat appearance." But his eccentricities were tolerated by Hoover because of a thirst for eighteen-hour days, a gift for brilliant, logical conversation, and an unquestionable loyalty. Hoover called him "the son I never had" until 1971, when Sullivan stood accused of being "more on the side of CIA... than the FBI." Sullivan's good relations with CIA dated to 1961, when he began representing the FBI on the United States Intelligence Board (USIB).
But William Sullivan knew about the planned enlargement, and he took up CIA's role in objecting to it. On June 8, Sullivan commented on a Bureau planning memo that "more is not better" when it came to FBI overseas work, although "by juggling statistics, you can prove almost anything." A Hoover loyalist duly reported to the FBI Director that "Mr. Sullivan apparently does not realize that this is being considered at the specific request of the White House.... Accordingly, I recommend that Sullivan's observations be disregarded at this time." Sullivan's remarks were indeed ignored, but his insubordination was not, and the matter came to confrontation in fall 1971, when news of the expansion somehow reached columnists Rowland Evans and Robert Novak, who attacked Hoover for trespassing into CIA's domain. "The arguments advanced and the language used were exactly the same as Sullivan had used within the Bureau," Felt recalled, and Sullivan later admitted leaking the story. Some at the Bureau speculated that Sullivan was opposing Hoover perhaps because he knew that his friends in CIA, who resented what they considered FBI incursions into their jurisdiction, would be pleased by his position. In a "Strictly Confidential memo For the Director's Personal Files," Hoover assistant R.R. Beaver warned: "it appears more definite to me that he [Sullivan] is more on the side of CIA... than the FBI."