Larry Chin
Deep Throat: Shallow story hides deeper history
Mon Jun 6, 2005 00:50


Deep Throat: Shallow story hides deeper history

By Larry Chin
Online Journal Associate Editor

June 3, 2005—The "Mark Felt is Deep Throat" story is not much of a revelation, despite the ridiculous and off-target tempest in the national teapot that has ensued. Felt has been at the top of the short list for a long time, suspected by many historians.

What's not being discussed amidst the ridiculous Republican-Democrat arguments, and raging battles between new Felt cult worshippers ("he's a hero!") and Felt attackers ("he's a traitor!") are the darker historical realities that remain dangerously misunderstood.

Who was Mark Felt? Felt may have leaked on Nixon, but was he at all heroic over the course of the rest of his career?

Described as the FBI's "Fair Haired Boy," he was a J. Edgar Hoover right hand man, immensely loyal to Hoover, and was involved in all of the FBI's dirtiest COINTELPRO operations. In other words, Felt was a lieutenant to one of the great political criminals in modern history. Curt Gentry's J. Edgar Hoover: The Man and His Secrets is one book that exhaustively documents that history.

Two days after Hoover's death, Felt personally took control of the notorious Official/Confidential file (the one used by Hoover to blackmail and control his political enemies, and secure supreme status for himself), after which the file was spirited around the FBI, excised, hidden or destroyed. Needless to say, Felt did not go running to Bob Woodward or any other reporter with information that could have saved American democracy.

After Felt and fellow FBI agent Edward Miller were eventually convicted for FBI COINTELPRO break-ins, outgoing President Ronald Reagan pardoned them. (A Hoover loyalist, and pardoned by Reagan. Think about that.)

Watergate was not, as the stereotypical myth and breathless legends go, a great moment for democracy in which a corrupt president was brought down, and a great "investigation" reformed Washington. It was an inside coup d'état, and a limited hangout, that saved Nixon and his cabal from true exposure and jail time, and helped preserve—not reform—the system that made his crimes possible. Felt must be judged against this context.

Watergate gave the naïve public a false sense of security—the fallacy that "they" (Washington) were "cleaning up"—and ushered in a new era of corruption. Gerald Ford, J. Edgar Hoover's right hand man on the Warren Commission, became president. Ford pardoned Nixon, and selected Nelson Rockefeller as his vice president. The CIA learned how to do a better job covering up their activities and controlling information. America's corporate media, long infiltrated and controlled by government operatives, would be increasingly corrupted and corporatized, and made into the voices of the White House. The Washington Post, never a paragon of investigative reporting, became even worse with time. Bob Woodward became a buddy stenographer for the Bush presidents, and the author of stomach-turning George W. Bush 9/11 myths.

Peter Dale Scott in Deep Politics and the Death of JFK concisely summarized it:

"But the in-house coalition of conservatives who opposed the Nixon-Kissinger moves toward detente in 1972 was similar to the one which opposed the Kennedy-Harriman detente initiatives in 1963. It still includes James Angleton in the CIA, who in the 1960s had suspected Harriman of being a Soviet spy, and who in the 1970s "reportedly 'objectively' believed Kissinger to be a Soviet spy." Nixon, like Kennedy was having trouble with his Joint Chiefs of Staff, one of whom, Admiral Zumwalt, resigned over his differences with Kissinger. Those who believe that Nixon's betrayer 'Deep Throat' was a real official, and not a composite, advanced well-argued reasons that he must have been a senior FBI official, probably Mark Felt, John Mohr, or L. Patrick Gray.

"In all four cases, one sees the recurrence of CIA and other intelligence officials and assets, repeatedly those with more militant anti-Communist stances than the Presidents they have worked under. Another common denominator for such individuals had been an exposure to narcotics trafficking, from the China Lobby of the 1950s to the Contra support networks of the 1980s."

Felt was no more a saint than Bob Woodward is an epitome of heroic muckraking. In both cases, they are insiders with connections who have not always acted in the best interests of democracy, but who now have shining reputations built entirely on one (let's call it "interesting") episode.

Exemplified by successful and continuous Bush administration crimes and cover-up, Watergate was a valuable lesson to government criminals. The American public, meanwhile, has learned nothing.

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