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Watergate "Deep Throat" Mark Felt Dead At 95 126

Posted by kdawson
from the linda-lovelace-in-mourning dept.
Hugh Pickens writes "W. Mark Felt Sr., 95, associate director of the FBI during the Watergate scandal, better known as 'Deep Throat,' the most famous anonymous source in American history, died at his home in Santa Rosa, California. Felt secretly guided Washington Post reporters Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein to pursue the story of the 1972 break-in of the Democratic National Committee's headquarters at the Watergate office buildings, and later of the Nixon administration's campaign of spying and sabotage against its perceived political enemies. 'It's impossible to exaggerate how high the stakes were in Watergate,' wrote Felt in his 2006 book A G-Man's Life. 'We faced no simple burglary, but an assault on government institutions, an attack on the FBI's integrity, and unrelenting pressure to unravel one of the greatest political scandals in our nation's history.' No one knows exactly what prompted Felt to leak the information from the Watergate probe to the press. He was passed over for the post of FBI director after Hoover's death in 1972, a crushing career disappointment. 'People will debate for a long time whether I did the right thing by helping Woodward. The bottom line is that we did get the whole truth out, and isn't that what the FBI is supposed to do?'"
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Watergate "Deep Throat" Mark Felt Dead At 95

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  • by Kaell Meynn (1209080) * on Saturday December 20, 2008 @03:44PM (#26186087)

    I think I'd feel dead at 95 too, if I were not in really good health.

  • Answer's obvious. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by mind21_98 (18647) on Saturday December 20, 2008 @03:46PM (#26186105) Homepage Journal
    The FBI is supposed to get the whole truth out. Unfortunately, there are people who want to bring politics into enforcing the law, so we need checks and balances on the entire government. That's where the media comes in. Mark Felt did do the right thing, even though it was incredibly difficult for him at the time. RIP, Mark. (now, whether we'd have the balls to do that today, or the attention span to see it through, is another question entirely. I don't think we do, quite honestly, judging by the multiple scandals that have gone seemingly unpunished during the Bush administration.)
    • Re: (Score:1, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      With a nickname like "Deep throat", I would imagine finding balls would be easy.

    • by Majik Sheff (930627) on Saturday December 20, 2008 @03:56PM (#26186179) Journal

      if(politician.party=="republican") {
            attack(politician);
      } else if(politician.party=="democrat") {
            fellate(politician);
      } else {
            ignore(politician);
      }

      • by pohl (872) on Saturday December 20, 2008 @04:03PM (#26186247) Homepage
        From the SVN ChangeLog...

        2008-11-05 08:35  cabal_hacker

            * Media/src/com/murdock/ruppert/policy/Spin.java: Thank god we don't
                  have to fellate that warmongering dunce anymore.  Reversing parties.
      • by Tubal-Cain (1289912) * on Saturday December 20, 2008 @04:03PM (#26186249) Journal

        } else {
        ignore(politician);
        }

        Good for you, accounting for those rare, one-in-a-million occurrences.
        Huh. I can't get the non-breaking spaces to work.

      • by Neon Aardvark (967388) on Saturday December 20, 2008 @04:10PM (#26186285) Homepage

        It's worth bearing in mind that Nixon's predecessor was objectively far worse than him, namely LBJ.

        Starting and then fighting the Vietnam war badly, deliberately falsifying the Gulf of Tonkin incident (whatever about Bush, I think he genuinely believed his pretext, that Iraqi WMDs existed), ordering the USS Liberty to not be defended when it was under attack and then falsifying details of the attack later (probably the most spineless act in US military history).

        Aside from that, there's the personal - forcing aides to talk to him while he was talking a dump, laughing at the dead body of JFK, etc..

        A truly odious and terrible president.

        • Not to mention LBJ had JFK shot.

        • by Phantom of the Opera (1867) on Saturday December 20, 2008 @04:30PM (#26186397) Homepage

          It's worth bearing in mind that Nixon's predecessor was objectively far worse than him, namely LBJ.

          Starting and then fighting the Vietnam war badly, deliberately falsifying the Gulf of Tonkin incident (whatever about Bush, I think he genuinely believed his pretext, that Iraqi WMDs existed), ordering the USS Liberty to not be defended when it was under attack and then falsifying details of the attack later (probably the most spineless act in US military history).

          Aside from that, there's the personal - forcing aides to talk to him while he was talking a dump, laughing at the dead body of JFK, etc..

          A truly odious and terrible president.

          Sure, those are terrible things.

          Breaking the oath of office and using the power of the Presidency illegally in order to retain power is far more cancerous and treasonous. That was Nixon's big crime.

          • by Breakfast Pants (323698) on Saturday December 20, 2008 @04:49PM (#26186495) Journal

            Only if we are going back to a Roman Citizen type culture where freedom and democracy is important for people who are in, but absolutely forbidden for people that are 'out' (in this case, the Vietnamese).

          • by Neon Aardvark (967388) on Saturday December 20, 2008 @05:47PM (#26186897) Homepage

            Yeah, maybe the 60,000 Americans who died pointlessly because of LBJ would disagree.

            I'd wager the 1.5 million Vietnamese who did likewise would, also.

            And maybe congress would think that being deliberately misled about a false enemy attack in order to start said war would constitute the president "breaking the seal of office".

            • I'm pretty sure the 3 million slaughtered by the North Vietnamese after we pulled out would take issue with your assessment.
              • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

                by Neon Aardvark (967388)

                Slaughtered. So LBJ didn't save them. He started US involvement, and then fought the war badly enough to irreparably erode a huge amount of belief in it from the US public and to galvanize a lot of South Vietnamese opinion against their corrupt rulers, wasted vast amounts of tax dollars and large numbers of US lives (along with Koreans and Australians), and ultimately it didn't turn out exactly well, did it?

                I don't follow your logic.

                • JFK started US involvement and then LBJ...

                  There, fixed that for you. LBJ didn't save them because he wasn't in a position to do anything about it, not being President anymore. Nixon didn't save them because he caved in to pressure from a bunch of pot-smoking asshats who thought they knew something about foreign policy and thought it would be fun to protest.

                  Seems to me like you're saying it was OK to let three million South Vietnamese die because you didn't like how LBJ handled his part of the war.
            • And maybe congress would think that being deliberately misled about a false enemy attack in order to start said war would constitute the president "breaking the seal of office".

              Um, that was Kennedy. Or someone during the Kennedy administration anyway. While it might have been LBJ, that would be unlikely. All this assuming of course, that there was a conspiracy to get us deeper involved in Vietnam, and not just a general fuckup, malice and stupidity etc.

              As far as LBJ's and Kennedy's known abuse of power goes...

              -- The Kennedy Administration had the FBI wiretap a Congressional staff member , three executive officials, a lobbyist, and a Washington law firm. Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy received the fruits of an FBI "tap" on Martin Luther King, Jr. and a "bug" on a Congressman, both of which yielded information of a political nature.

              -- President Johnson asked the FBI to conduct "name checks" of his critics and members of the staff of his 1964 opponent, Senator Barry Goldwater. He also requested purely political intelligence on his critics in the Senate, and received extensive intelligence reports on political activity at the 1964 Democratic Convention from FBI electronic surveillance.

              From wikipedia. Nixon was hardly the only screwed up president.

            • It took Ford to ultimately end the Vietnam war.

              I agree with your point that the war was a horrible blunder. It's not defensible. Using lies to drum up support is a horrible tactic and precedent (as we witness now).

              The 'Gulf of Tonkin' resolution was the continuation of the bad precedent set by declaring the Korean War a 'police action'.

              Only congress has the official power to declare war. This bullshit of not declaring war has lead to a stalemate (Korea), abject failure (Vietnam) and muddled blunder (Iraq).

              T

        • by nomadic (141991)
          There is evidence that Nixon conspired with the South Vietnamese to sink the peace talks in order to win the election. If this is true I think this would put Nixon well on the side of the most immoral president we've had.
        • (whatever about Bush, I think he genuinely believed his pretext, that Iraqi WMDs existed)

          He might have believed that but still allowed al-Qaeda to attack the Twin Towers to get us into the Middle East, not unlike FDR allowing Pearl Harbor to be attacked to gear up American for war back than. All in all they all do it and it's only politics.

          • "All in all they all do it and it's only politics"

            Oh i see, it's only politics, just some arbitrary tit-for-tat, as harmless as a checkers game.

            • by aDSF762 (865834)
              More like a game of chess, you allow certain pieces to fall than swoop in for the kill. I'm not saying these decisions don't have consequences just that the people in charge may really be making rational decisions. However scary that may sound.
          • by Wordsmith (183749) on Saturday December 20, 2008 @08:32PM (#26187809) Homepage

            I can't stand Bush and think his presidency has been among the most dangerous in modern history, but there's no credible evidence he "let" 9/11" happen. There's evidence he treated the threat too lightly, but no real reason to believe he had specific knowledge of what would happen and chose to look the other way. What not-so-credible evidence has been presented by conspiracy theorists has been debunked to high heaven.

            Hate him on the indisputable merits. It's easier.

            • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

              by houghi (78078)

              I believe the 9/11 attack would have happened with any president. The way it would be dealt with would have been completely different. Others would not have raped peoples rights so much.

              • by Uberbah (647458)

                I believe the 9/11 attack would have happened with any president.

                Not with a competent one. Bush was warned point-blank that Al Queda was looking to attack the U.S., and that they might use hijacked planes to do so. A competent president could have taken 5 seconds to tell the FBI to watch out for terrorists and the FAA to stay alert for possible hijackings. The morning of 09/11/01, the FAA sees 4 planes disappear and reports it to NORAD, which scrambles planes over major cities and forces the planes down

            • by aDSF762 (865834)

              I totally agree but there is a reasonable amount of uncertainty, it took decades before the Freedom of Information Act gave us the whole story on FDR's knowledge of the impending attacks by the Japaneses. So to dismiss even half-baked conspiracy theories due to lack of evidence is wholly untenable. The government's job is to deceive, inveigle, and obfuscate to bend the people to the will of the world. If nothing else perhaps Bush isn't a monster (although I can't stand him either) but rather was just in the

            • Read Richard Clarke's book Against All Enemies. It may change your mind.

                http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Richard_A._Clarke [wikipedia.org]

                Clarke is hardly a conspiracy theorist.

                SB

        • by Swampash (1131503)

          Aside from that, there's the personal - forcing aides to talk to him while he was talking a dump, laughing at the dead body of JFK, etc..

          A truly odious and terrible president.

          LBJ (a Texan) also passed the Civil Rights Act, even though he knew it meant the end of the Democratic Party in the South.

        • LBJ did atleast one ONE honorable thing.

          He resigned after his first term.

        • And lets not forget that notorious incident with The Boss in Groznyj Grad. Truly a black mark in American history.

        • Aside from that, there's the personal - forcing aides to talk to him while he was talking a dump,

          Damn right the guy was working while he was on the can! The president is one of the busiest and most important people in the world, and irrational taboos shouldn't stand in his way. This president may have been up to no good, but talking to someone while defacating is not something wrong on its own. It's a shame this aide had poop issues, but that's not LBJ's problem.

      • Re: (Score:1, Insightful)

        by unity100 (970058)
        if you had known any good amount of recent world history, you would shove that sarcastic code of yours in your butt, and cry over the shit that has been perpetrated around the world because of the republican administrations of last 50 years.

        hell, even al kaeda and rising islamism is their gift to the world, in which they screwed everything in 80s, perpetrating islamism against soviets and arming and funding islamist groups all around the world.

        the stuff which YOU are paying for today.
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by JackieBrown (987087)

          Yes, because Islam's history before the '80s was one of peace and love.

          • by unity100 (970058)
            so, nazism has an even worse history. does that exonerate islam ? why should islam exonerate republican crap ?
            • I am not sure I am following the connection between Islam and Nazism.

              why should islam exonerate republican crap ?

              You brought up Islam. I was not using it to exonerate anyone.

          • At least it was "peace and love" in the middle of nowhere, with a distinct lack of Stinger surface-to-air missiles.
          • by Uberbah (647458)

            Yes, because Islam's history before the '80s was one of peace and love.

            Having your peaceful, democratically elected government overthrown by the CIA [wikipedia.org] tends to make one a bit pissy. As well as giving blank check support to the nation of Israel, which was created regardless of the fact that Jews made up only 11% of the areas population [wikipedia.org] in 1920.

      • if(politician.party=="republican") {
                    QQ(democrat);
        } else if(politician.party=="democrat") {
                    QQ(republican);
        } else {
                    watch(TV);
        }

      • Re: (Score:1, Funny)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Where did you find a fellate() function? I've been looking for that for years!

      • if(politician.speaketh!="truth" {
            if(politician.party=="republican") {
                attack(politician);
            } else if(politician.party=="democrat") {
                fellate(politician);
            } else {
                ignore(politician);
            }
        } else {
            destroy_with_utter_contempt(politician)
        }

      • Obviously, the Fox News fork of the code has the top two conditions reversed.
      • by Uberbah (647458)

        Funny, ha ha. But anyone who thinks that's the case has had his head up his ass for the last 40 years.

    • by jesterzog (189797)

      Unfortunately, there are people who want to bring politics into enforcing the law, so we need checks and balances on the entire government. That's where the media comes in.

      This may be okay if you have a media that's actually motivated by some kind of ethics. In my area (and I suspect many others), the economy isn't really large enough to support much more than a commercially sponsored media primarily interested in turning news into entertainment, and presenting whatever news in whatever form and bias it tak

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      "Mark Felt did do the right thing"

      The right thing isn't to go outside the business/government process. Especially since he was at the top of the government arm designed to investigate crime. He seems to have taken the short path to victory, letting outsiders gain notoriety while letting the FBI lay idle.

      • Re:Answer's obvious. (Score:5, Interesting)

        by WindowlessView (703773) on Saturday December 20, 2008 @07:53PM (#26187621)

        The right thing isn't to go outside the business/government process.

        Nonsense, both in general and this specific case.

        The "process" in this case was blocked and corrupted from multiple angles. The Attorney General (John Mitchell) was involved in the original crimes. His replacement, Eliot Richardson, was fired in the Saturday Night Massacre along with the special prosecutor and others. It was later shown that the CIA, FBI, etc., all had elements participating in the crimes or cover up.

        Working within the system Felt would not have been any more effective than anyone else. Yes, like Richardson et.al. he could have taken a stand and been shoved aside or fired. And effectively silenced because he didn't have any specific evidence himself but merely the knowledge of where to point the investigation. He would have been a small part of a 3 day news cycle and the Nixon gang might well have gotten away with it.

        Going outside the system was precisely the right thing to do, arguably the only thing available to him. Even so, if it weren't for a rather unique group of people at the Washington Post it might not have had anymore success than working inside the system. One only wished the NY Times had such guts with the illegal wiretapping information instead of sitting on it for a year.

        The business/governmental "process" only works when there are people of integrity involved. When those people, like Nixon, Bush, Enron, Countrywide, etc., are up to eyeballs in the crime the "process" is nothing more than convenient choke points to stop the truth from getting out.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by bonch (38532)

      I don't think we do, quite honestly, judging by the multiple scandals that have gone seemingly unpunished during the Bush administration.

      That's no different from the multiple scandals that plagued the Clinton administration, the difference between that the media actively covered it up back then.

      Hell, the only reason we know about Monica Lewinsky is that Matt Drudge broke the story after Newsweek was going to quietly shelve it. And look how Obama's campaign got away with breaking its campaign financing prom

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by lawpoop (604919)

        I don't think we do, quite honestly, judging by the multiple scandals that have gone seemingly unpunished during the Bush administration.

        That's no different from the multiple scandals that plagued the Clinton administration, the difference between that the media actively covered it up back then.

        Unless I misunderstand you, I think it is quite different. During the Clinton era, we had attack dogs in congress spending millions of dollars investigating petty bullshit like Christmas Card lists and the firing of a travel agent.

        Just to name one of the uninvestigated crimes of the Bush administration, we had the attorney firings scandal, where the administration fired dozens of federal prosecutors, who wouldn't play ball and pursue crimeless political cases. Or how about Bush's multiple meetings with Jef

      • by Uberbah (647458)

        That's no different from the multiple scandals that plagued the Clinton administration, the difference between that the media actively covered it up back then.

        The multiple non-scandals, you mean. The recipe was pretty simple:

        1. Republicans fake outrage over something (like Gengrich getting off the back of a plane).
        2. The press chatters about these outraged Republicans and ask how big a problem this would be for Clinton.
        3. Now the invented non-scandal is a Big Deal because now Everyone is Talking About It.

        A

    • by jhol13 (1087781)

      Sure, Felt did the right thing.

      Unfortunately there is nobody left to do it now.

    • by jcr (53032)

      Mark Felt did do the right thing, even though it was incredibly difficult for him at the time.

      Amen. I have no idea whether I'd have the guts to do the same, I only hope that I would.

      -jcr

    • by Hutz (900771)
      Felt did this because he was angry about being passed over for the Director's position. He was convicted of conducting illegal wiretaps a couple of years later.

      This is why anonymous sources should be avoided. The public has a right to know, but they also need to know what agenda is being put forward by sources who are not brave enough to stand behind their comments.
    • by flyneye (84093)

      "Mark Felt did do the right thing,"

      Snitching is NEVER the right thing to do.
      He will always be remembered as a squealer and toady ,beloved by no one except squealers and toadies.
      George Gordon Liddy is now and will always be remembered as Heroic and Fearless.
      Since this began Both parties have been nothing but unscrupulous and both deserve to be locked away with nothing to do but sodomize their squealers and to

  • by kentrel (526003) on Saturday December 20, 2008 @03:51PM (#26186145) Journal
    I was JUST about to sit down and watch Thursday's breaking news that I had on TiVo, and now you've just ruined it for me.
  • He did brave thing (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Phybertekie (975815)
    For whatever reason he chose, he did the right thing. If more folks did that maybe Presidents wouldn't run the Whitehouse as their supermarket for all their cronies.
    • by unassimilatible (225662) on Saturday December 20, 2008 @04:41PM (#26186461) Journal
      To portray Felt as some heroic whistle-blower is nonsense. For one, Felt hid in the shadows for 30 years, until he was senile and his daughter pulled him into the daylight to capitalize on his fame. Heroes put themselves at personal risk for a higher cause. Felt hid to protect his reputation among his FBI cronies (think cigarette-smoking man types).

      More importantly, he was J. Edgar Hoover's #2 at a time when the FBI was wiretapping MLK and John Lennon - and presidents. Yes, there is a reason that Hoover stayed as FBI director, a huge plum appointment for any president, for 48 friggin years. Hoover blackmailed presidents, and everyone else he could wiretap and burglarize. You think his #2 wasn't in on that?

      When Hoover died, Nixon did the right thing, what any of the 44 presidents would have done, cleaned house and got the Hoover cronies the hell out of there. And what did Felt do once he didn't get the director job? He did exactly what every president for 48 years was afraid of about Hoover - Felt released dirt on Nixon.

      Say what you want about Nixon, but Hoover was the antithesis of a democracy, an unelected guy who abused his power and blackmailed presidents to stay in office for half a century. Appointing Felt to replace him would have been, in retrospect, politically expedient. Felt thought he was entitled to the job and brought Nixon down for it. To suggest that Felt, the ultimate black-bag guy, was appalled at Nixon's shenanigans, when Hoover freaking invented it, is like saying Linsday Lohan is offended by Paris Hilton's public tramp behavior. Ludicrous!

      It is interesting that most news reports do not talk about Felt's illegal wiretapping of the Weather Underground (not that I have sympathy for that domestic terror group, but I am not running around claiming to be some civil liberties hero), or they mention it at the very end of the story like AP did.

      God knows all of the shit Hoover pulled. Maybe someday it will all come to light. It would make a great movie, but would probably have to be a mini-series or TV show on HBO, as it would likely be impossible to chronicle in 2 hours.

      And they named the FBI building after the sumbitch.
      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by MichaelSmith (789609)
        I always had the impression that being #2 to Hoover involved deep throat duties anyway.
      • Whatever his motivations, a bunch of bad guys were caught thanks to Mr. Felt. I'd still buy him a beer for that.
      • by gregbot9000 (1293772) <mckinleg@csusb.edu> on Saturday December 20, 2008 @05:30PM (#26186771) Journal
        I hate Hoover, but in a way he had a perverse logic that is tough to argue with. Shouldn't the FBI be able to be above even the president? Sure Felt was pissed and acted on his own interest to take down Nixon because he felt he was owed what Nixon took, but that doesn't mask the fact that the FBI had the power to do it. Today it has been politicized.

        Wouldn't it be better to have a independent fiefdom that investigates terrorist, civil rights groups, and the president, rather than a group under the thumb of the executive branch that investigates just terrorist and civil rights groups?
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by dietdew7 (1171613)
          Yes it's always better to have an unelected shadow government.
          • FBI=Government? Wow when did that happen? No body said unelected shadow government, I said an unelected shadow organization that is free to investigate the government might not be that bad of a thing in certain situations. But your right, things work out so well when the law enforcement follows the will of politicians in charge, look at what a bang up job they have done stopping fraud in business and lending.
        • Wouldn't it be better to have a independent fiefdom that investigates terrorist, civil rights groups, and the president, rather than a group under the thumb of the executive branch that investigates just terrorist and civil rights groups?

          Yah, it's always better to have law-enforcement groups with no oversight. Better yet, place them in position to control pretty much the whole country. Then make the Director (Chief, whatever) unelected. Then we can rename it the Gestapo, or perhaps KGB, and we can skip a

          • It's not always better. I wasn't defending Hoover or COINTELPRO or any of his excesses, but your examples of the KGB or gestapo aren't agencies without oversight, they were directed from the top to serve the needs of those at the top. Lacking oversight indeed.

            The FBI was not in any position to control the country, and never would have been. John N. Mitchell on the other hand was the Attorney General for Nixon and a man who believed civil rights were bad for America and worked very close with Nixon to achie

            • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

              but your examples of the KGB or gestapo aren't agencies without oversight, they were directed from the top to serve the needs of those at the top

              The Gestapo was run by Himmler, NOT Hitler. An important difference, since Himmler wasn't so solidly controlled as all that.

              Likewise, the KGB was really under the control of the KGB Chairman/Director, not the Politburo.

              An FBI with no oversight would have been a nightmare. As much so as either of the others. And dressing it up by saying they wouldn't be able to

        • You'd be hard-pressed to find anyone who says the history of the Independent Counsel [wikipedia.org] was non-political. Lawrence Walsh and Ken Starr. Or the grandstanding of Patrick Fitzgerald [wikipedia.org] in the modern incarnation of the IC.

          Now the Justice Department has a Civil Rights division, and it isn't staffed by Hoover acolytes. It's run by liberals mostly (who else would join the FBI to ensure civil liberties rather than to catch crooks?)

          I'll take the modern incarnation of the FBI over some independent counsel initiated
      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by Anonymous Coward

        is like saying Linsday Lohan is offended by Paris Hilton's public tramp behavior

        This analogy of yours involves persons of the opposite sex. As a slashdotter, I am not able to understand such an analogy. Please provide the equivalent car analogy for this situation.

        Thank you.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Chapter80 (926879)

          is like saying Linsday Lohan is offended by Paris Hilton's public tramp behavior

          This analogy of yours involves persons of the opposite sex. As a slashdotter, I am not able to understand such an analogy.

          It's like Library of Congresses being offended by Station Wagons full of Mag Tapes.

      • by Software (179033)
        You have some of your facts wrong. According to the NY Times and Felt's Wikipedia entry [wikipedia.org], Felt wasn't Hoover's #2 - Clyde Tolson [slashdot.org] was. Felt was Hoover's #3, and only for a few years.

        I'm not saying Felt was clean (his conviction on the Weather Underground case proves that), but he wasn't version 2 of Hoover.

  • by Frosty Piss (770223) on Saturday December 20, 2008 @03:55PM (#26186171)
    It's a good thing Mark Felf was around, without "Deep Throat", the full extent of Nixon's crimes may never have come out.

    Yet Felt was not strictly against "black bag jobs" like the Watergate break-in:

    While Watergate was seething, Mr. Felt authorized nine illegal break-ins at the homes of friends and relatives of members of the Weather Underground, a violent left-wing splinter group. The people he chose as targets had committed no crimes. The F.B.I. had no search warrants. He later said he ordered the break-ins because national security required it.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2008/12/19/washington/19felt.html?scp=1&sq=mark%20felt&st=cse [nytimes.com]

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      The Weather Underground wasn't an approved political party, the Democrats were and are.

      There's an old saying...in Soviet Russia there was one party; in America there are two.

    • Yet Felt was not strictly against "black bag jobs" like the Watergate break-in:
      He later said he ordered the break-ins because national security required it.

      FWIW - I think that all kinds of constitutional rule breaking is OK. But there needs to be oversight. I say that if you really and truly believe there is a significant threat to national security, or otherwise, then prove it. Put your career and freedom on the line and be prepared to be judged after the fact.

      Go ahead and order that bag-job, or that torture, or whatever other constitution-violating actions you think are necessary in order to counter the threat. But don't make it a secret. You should exp

      • by DavidTC (10147)

        Exactly.

        This is why all 'ticking time bomb' examples are nonsense. In the real world, if someone straight-out tortured someone and stopped a bomb from going off, they would 'get away' with it.

        Whether it would be the DA refusing to bring charges, the jury failing to convict, or the executive pardoning them, it would be unlikely for them to spend any time in jail, or at most a nominal amount.

        But the right wants to do this in secret, which rather implies, when it is looked at in the light of day, that it wi

  • I guess this weekend, seeing as I'm literally snowed into my apartment, I'll fire up All the President's Men on the TV........and Deep Throat....

  • by Rinisari (521266) * on Saturday December 20, 2008 @03:59PM (#26186217) Homepage Journal

    If you don't know much about Watergate, I suggest hitting up Watergate [wikipedia.org] on Wikipedia, then considering acquiring a copy of Woodward and Bernstein's All the President's Men [tinyurl.com]. Those two reporters were the ones two interacted with Deep Throat [tinyurl.com], named for a 70s porn.

    The 1976 Redford/Hoffman movie version of the book All the President's Men [tinyurl.com] is the definitive story in video format.

    Emery's Watergate [tinyurl.com] is another arguably excellent book on the matter.

    Avoid the new "Frost/Nixon" film--it's history ambiguous and largely inaccurate; it's a Hollywood version of the story with excellent acting. Instead, watch the original interviews [tinyurl.com].

    • by unassimilatible (225662) on Saturday December 20, 2008 @05:03PM (#26186591) Journal
      You want to read about Watergate, read G. Gordon Liddy's biography [amazon.com], since he planned and executed Watergate. Then Read Stephen Ambrose's Nixon biography (the third one [amazon.com]). Ambrose is the only one who gives a reason why Nixon would want to wiretap Larry O'Brien, not that I am convinced Nixon knew in advance (none of the principles involved have ever claimed this). Silent Coup [amazon.com] is an incredibly detailed chronicle of Watergate, but I disagree with its conclusions, other than John Dean was a little rat (Dean was the president's lawyer while working as an FBI informant). Never trust a word that comes out of Dean's mouth.

      You'd also want to read Bob Haldeman's and John Erlichman's biographies.

      ATPM gets a lot wrong. The bottom line is Nixon wasn't brought down by Woodward and Bernstein, they just kept up the heat.

      Nixon was brought down by a guy named Alexander Butterfield announcing to the Senate Watergate Committee that Nixon taped his conversations [wikipedia.org], which led to the smoking gun tape about Nixon telling the FBI that Watergate was a CIA operation, back-off. Nixon scuttled that idea the next day, but that tape is what brought him down, not W&B. Once Nixon finally released the tapes, that particular tape is what turned Barry Goldwater to support impeachment, and Nixon's goose was cooked. After Nixon heard he lost Goldwater, he turned to his SecState Al Haig and said, "Well, there goes the presidency, Al."

      BTW, when Haig dies, I'm betting he was a Woodward source too. Haig, when NSA for Nixon, was given his military briefings by a young Naval Intelligence officer named Bob Woodward. To this day, Woodward will not talk about those briefings.
    • by Raenex (947668)

      You know there's no reason to use tinyurl when you put the link inside an href. All it does it prevent people from hovering over the link to see where it goes.

  • by AtomicSnarl (549626) on Saturday December 20, 2008 @04:16PM (#26186315) Homepage
    Yes, Jefferson chose free speech over a regulated media, and we reap the benefits of that in spite of the pain it can cause. Still, it seems the media falls into two camps:

    - Illuminate, Educate, and Illustrate
    - Titillate, Castigate, and Prevaricate

    One pays better than the other, but one is much better for society in the long run.
    • Actually, the former pays better in the long run too. The big media like to point the finger at the web, but the decline in circulation and readership correlates better to the corporate mergers of news papers and the decline in quality in the 90's and early 2000's better than it fits any other metric.

      That shouldn't be a surprise to anyone, since the trend lately has been to lie and run companies into the ground for profit on Wallstreet without producing anything of real value. http://www.motherjones.com [motherjones.com]
  • by Doc Ruby (173196) on Saturday December 20, 2008 @04:26PM (#26186369) Homepage Journal

    Mark Felt disclosed to Woodward and Bernstein what he thought would hurt Nixon, because Nixon had passed over Felt (#2 at FBI when Hoover finally died) in favor of a Nixon crony, an "outsider", to run the FBI instead of promoting Felt.

    I'm glad he did. But I don't admire or respect Felt for it. Because Felt could have disclosed any of that stuff (or more that he surely knew) to Woodward and Bernstein, or many other journalists, well before he had reasons of personal revenge. Which might have prevented Nixon from being reelected in 1972, instead of a landslide followed by an aborted impeachment that has left this country in Constitutional crisis through today, worse every time around the cycle.

    I'm not glad he's dead, either. I wish he had spilled more, about other Nixon cronies (like Rumsfeld and Cheney), and he might have done so once the Bush era was finally safely over, and those other criminals were as "retired" as he was. But evidently there wasn't enough personal gain in that kind of disclosure, so Felt never gave it. And now he never will.

    • Why do you think LBJ, for example, kept Hoover and his cronies (of which Felt was one) in office? To keep them from releasing dirt on him, which they duly didn't. The Hoover/Felt mafia dished the dirt as soon as someone stopped paying the protection money, which was 1972.

      • by Doc Ruby (173196)

        I notice that Robert Mueller is supposed to keep his job running the FBI, despite its many critical failures under his administration.

        I also notice that Congress often fails to act in its own interest opposing the Executive Branch that the FBI works for.

    • by PCM2 (4486) on Saturday December 20, 2008 @06:16PM (#26187071) Homepage

      I'm not glad he's dead, either. I wish he had spilled more, about other Nixon cronies (like Rumsfeld and Cheney), and he might have done so once the Bush era was finally safely over, and those other criminals were as "retired" as he was. But evidently there wasn't enough personal gain in that kind of disclosure, so Felt never gave it. And now he never will.

      I heard Woodward interviewed on Fresh Air on NPR the other day (I think it was a rerun) and according to him, the last time he visited Mark Felt at Felt's home in California, Felt was in poor health. Specifically, he suffered from some form of dementia. According to Woodward, at that time he could barely remember why Nixon had to leave office. He knew who Woodward was, and he told Woodward that he and Bernstein "had done the right thing," but specific details of their past dealings were already lost to him. So as far as spilling any more beans, that door was closed.

    • by dbIII (701233)
      You need a lot of reasons to act against the King because everyone sees that as high treason. With a normal Republican or Democratic Presidency it's a different issue and the President doesn't try to act like a King. Felt did something about it and the entire world can be grateful, and he stayed in the shadows for his own health but still got it done. A leader that makes foreign policy decisons based on bribes from foreign powers (eg. Indonesia), should not be running a country, and he got up to a lot mo
    • by Uberbah (647458)

      Uh huh. Has Felt said as much, or this just speculation coming from someone's ass?

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Mark Felt, another fascist hypocrite, is dead.

    Too bad more hypocrites won't be dropping dead soon.

    While Felt thought it was perfectly legitimate to violate the civil rights of the families of the members of the Weather Underground with his own "black bag buglaries", he was incensed by Nixons' band of thugs doing the EXACT same thing to the Democrat National Committee at the Watergate.

    The only reason Felt went after Nixon was because Felt threw a tantrum when Tricky Dicky wouldn't let him run the FBI so Felt

  • '[...] unravel one of the greatest known political scandals in our nation's history.'

    There, fixed that for you.

  • His motivation was nothing to do with protecting the Constitution or citizens of the US. He worked at the FBI and participated in operations that violated the Constitution and law far more egregiously than Nixon and his horde. Mark Felt took this action because the system did not believe he was competent enough to rise up the ladder. The promotion would have moved him up the food chain, satisfying his ego and Woodward would never have met Felt.

    Woodward had connections in the intelligence community and was n

Lo! Men have become the tool of their tools. -- Henry David Thoreau

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