Is 'Deep Throat' a Hero?
Now that he's been revealed as Deep Throat, some people are falling all over themselves in calling W. Mark Felt a hero. I can understand the man's grandson saying "I guess people used to think Deep Throat was a criminal, but now they think he's a hero", but should the rest of us fall into line with the new conventional wisdom?
I don't think so. I think Pat Buchanan had it exactly right when he said:
Mark Felt himself was doing black-bag jobs during the previous era. What he should have done, was if he felt the investigation was corrupted, stand up and say, 'I'm going to resign from the FBI because I don't want to be a party to what's going on. This is not correct, I think things are going on in the White House that are wrong. I don't believe they're investigated. I don't believe they're being investigated properly.' Instead, he sneaks around during a political campaign and leaks the results of an investigation to the Washington Post. I think he did it, Amy, for the same reason Woodward said, he was passed over for Director and he was bitter and full of resentment, and this was payback.
Former Nixon aide Charles Colson seconded Buchanan's words on MSNBC today:
What could he have done, Amy? He could have walked into (FBI Director) Pat Gray and said, 'We're going to go over to the Oval Office and tell the old man what's going on.' If Pat Gray said no, then Pat Buchanan's right, you have a press conference and you leave. That's the honorable way to do it. People talk about a hero. A hero might have, if he had the courage, gone in and talked to the President.
Maybe I'm asking too much of Felt. But I expect a lot from someone who's a real hero. The problem with this reveal is that it not only reveals who Deep Throat was, it also reveals his motivations. A mystery man only has the motivations we imagine for him. And, since we usually prefer our mystery men to be dashing and noble, they're motivated simply by the need to do what's right. Unfortunately, flesh and blood people are rarely that noble. So, let the press laud Felt as a valuable informant, but that should be it. He's no hero. He's just a man. Kind of like how Nixon was no evil villain, he was just a man too.
Posted by at June 1, 2005 12:14 PM
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|It Is What It Is linked with Dead Ass Thursday|
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|# June 1st, 2005 4:12 PM mbrlr|
|Kris, you weren't here then. I was, and even as a kid, I knew he was a hero because he saw wrong and didn't cover it up but tried to cut through the AG and the political nonsense going on at the FBI, in complete violation of ethics, to get it out. As I said before, he was a hero, later ethical lapse re the Weather Underground notwithstanding. And he still is. |
|# June 1st, 2005 4:16 PM BVBigBro|
|Hero? Come on, you can say he was right, but not heroic. He risked nothing, and his Weather Undergound involvement was contemporary with Watergate. And Kris was here then. |
|# June 1st, 2005 4:23 PM kris|
|Well, I wouldn't say I was very aware of what was going on at the time. |
|# June 1st, 2005 4:29 PM mbrlr|
|Risked nothing! Oh, please. He risked his career, his reputation, for everything he believed in and had fought for in WWII and in his years in the FBI, even under Hoover --- not my favorite fellow. He did it for his country and for the rule of law and to catch a bunch of crooks. That's a pretty good reason to do it. |
|# June 1st, 2005 4:35 PM kris|
|He only risked something if he got caught. That's a hell of a lot different that putting your name out there. Compare what he did to what, for example, the whistle blowers that Time magazine named the People of the Year a few years back did. The whole reason he remained anonymous was because he DIDN'T want to risk his career and reputation.
Felt's history showed that he didn't have a very high regard for the rule of law (his conviction in the Weather Underground case shows this). I think he believed in rule of the FBI (over the executive branch) and in his own fitness to run it more than anything else.
The guy was a snitch. Since we don't like the snitchee, we think it's okay. But that doesn't make him a hero.
|# June 1st, 2005 4:48 PM BVBigBro|
|Hey, even Woodward said the source was disgruntled. He did what he did out of spite, for his own self interest. Nixon did what he hid for his own self interest. Neither deserves accolades and both got what they had coming. |
|# June 2nd, 2005 12:37 AM mbrlr|
|He remained anonymous because if he'd become nonymous (that's what it ought to be in a logical language), then the whole possibility of actually reversing what he was seeing --- an Attorney General providing files concerning an investigation relating to the President to the President, for example --- was essentially nil. Woodward gave him info and he confirmed or said no. That wasn't snitching; that was acting honorably in a world where all was turned backwards. If he'd gone to Nixon or to Nixon's AG who was entirely inappropriately giving Nixon investigation material rather than to the only reporters who were truly on track at that time...well, Nixon would have retired in January of 1977 without any of this coming before the country.
Kind of makes you appreciate how important a truly independent and occasionally antagonistic press can be, doesn't it? The Fourth Estate is in some ways our fourth branch, our watchdog. At least it used to be. Now, we just have an amen chorus. But hope isn't quite gone --- take a look at the Memorial Day editorial in the Star-Tribune in Minneapolis. Someone finally had the nerve to put two and two together and add it up to four. God bless them and God help the United States. And I offer that prayer as a private citizen, btw. Just in case you were wondering.
Look, Felt deserves accolades and our thanks. Look at what one of the Watergate special prosecutors, Richard Ben-Veniste, had to say about him and those who take the path he felt he had to take: "the importance of whistle-blowers shouldn't be underestimated, particularly when there are excesses by the executive branch of government -- which in this case went all the way to the executive office." Face it, he was a hero, Weather Underground error notwithstanding. We lack his type now and we're poorer for it.
|# June 2nd, 2005 10:47 AM BVBigBro|
|Felt was one of the excesses. Nixon was one of the excesses. And this business that he only said yes or no to information Woodward gave him is strictly Hollywood's interpretation. We don't know what his role was.
I laughed out loud when I read Star Tribune,
|# June 3rd, 2005 3:26 AM shakespear|
|I think that Buchanan must think that he is talking to a bunch of kindergarden kids. I am not ready to believe the stupid comment that if Felt saw wrong he should have >.
AND THEN WHAT??? Miraculously Nixon would have stopped and been a good boy. No letme guess, FBI would have said Uhh we need to do something because one of our guys is leaving.
People with access to information that shows greivous wrong being done by gov. have a moral duty to do something. We do not live in a perfect world and THAT is why we need to keep these imperfect guys guessing that someone may tell on them when they are doing bullsh.t.
Take for example the Downing Street Memo which came out of Blair's gov. Without it we would not have the smoking gun showing what these boys were thinking and doing.
Interestingly we don't hear these people today screaming for heads to roll as a result of all of the lies coming out of Washington that led us into Iraq.
But we were ready to impeach Clinton for having sex with Monica. AMAZING how Democracy works.
Does anyone know what was the circumstances surrounding the "Pentagon Papers" Affair?? Guess you will not find this in High School history class.
Keep an eye on the Weather!!!
|# June 3rd, 2005 10:15 AM BVBigBro|
|Well, to be fair the downing street memo is one persons opinion of what some people, some of whom he had no contact with, were doing and thinking.
Interestingly, we don't see the same people willing to accept the downing street memo as gospel accepting Britain's contemporary intelligence reports as gospel.
|# June 3rd, 2005 1:17 PM Laura|
|In all fairness, we *did* (not "were ready to") impeach Clinton for lying under oath.
Personally I'd rather have seen him impeached for taking campaign money from the Chinese and giving them access to technology that they should not have had, but that investigation was not permitted to run its full course and we'll never know how it would have turned out.
As for the lies about Iraq, lot of that going around:
"One way or the other, we are determined to deny Iraq the capacity to develop weapons of mass destruction and the missiles to deliver them. That is our bottom line."