2005 June 01 Wednesday
Washington Post Confirms Mark Felt As Watergate Deep Throat

Fpr,er FBI number 2 man Mark Felt was a key informer to Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein of the Washington Post.

Deep Throat, the secret source whose insider guidance was vital to The Washington Post's groundbreaking coverage of the Watergate scandal, was a pillar of the FBI named W. Mark Felt, The Post confirmed yesterday.

As the bureau's second- and third-ranking official during a period when the FBI was battling for its independence against the administration of President Richard M. Nixon, Felt had the means and the motive to help uncover the web of internal spies, secret surveillance, dirty tricks and coverups that led to Nixon's unprecedented resignation on Aug. 9, 1974, and to prison sentences for some of Nixon's highest-ranking aides.


Felt's role places the fact of a disgruntled FBI front and center.


Wounded that he was passed over for the top job, furious at Nixon's choice of an outsider, Assistant Attorney General L. Patrick Gray III, as acting FBI director, and determined that the White House not be allowed to steer and stall the bureau's Watergate investigation, Mark Felt slipped into the role that would forever alter his life.

If Felt had been appointed head of the FBI would Felt have still become an informant to Woodward? Or suppose J. Edgar Hoover had lived a few more years and remained in control of the FBI. Would Hoover have shielded the FBI well enough from Nixon that Felt's disgruntlement would not have risen to the point of pushing him to become an informant?

How essential was Felt's role in bringing down Nixon? Would the basic story still have developed, albeit over a longer period of time?

A section from Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein's famous book "All the President's Men" reminds me of the Bush Administration:

"On evenings such as these, Deep Throat had talked about how politics had infiltrated every corner of government -- a strong-arm takeover of the agencies by the Nixon White House. . . . He had once called it the 'switchblade mentality' -- and had referred to the willingness of the president's men to fight dirty and for keeps. . . .

The Iraq invasion and the corruption of the integrity of the intelligence agencies that preceded it strike me as a parallel to what happened to law enforcement agencies during the Nixon Administration.

Steve Sailer notes the misplaced attention given to imagined CIA or FBI efforts against JFK.

J. Edgar's Revenge: Hoover Loyalist Brought Down Nixon Administration: For decades, vast controversy swirled around the JFK Assassination, with tens of millions believing the Kennedy Administration was ended by the FBI and/or CIA. In contrast, almost nobody cared about unraveling the mysteries of the end of the Nixon Administration, even though it was always much more plausible that Nixon, rather than Kennedy, was brought down by the FBI and/or CIA.

The liberal media hated Nixon. So they weren't going to look a gift horse in the mouth.

Update: Speaking of parallels between Bush and Nixon, the recently deceased David Hackworth, at the time of his death the most decorated living American soldier, said in February 2005 that Bush is trying to copy Nixon's Vietnamization as a way to get out of Iraq.

Now the increasingly flummoxed Bush team is stealing the page on Vietnamization from Nixon’s Exit Primer, coupled with the same deceitful tactics he used to get us out of the almost decade-long Vietnam quagmire: telling lies.


More recently, Pentagon hype claimed 140,000 trained and equipped Iraqi troops were set to go toe to toe against an estimated 15,000 insurgents. But when congressional pressure from both Republicans and Democrats lit fires around the feet of both SecDef Rummy’s deputy Paul Wolfowitz and Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Richard Myers, they were quick to admit that only 40,000 Iraqi soldiers were ready to meet the tiger. The rest, according to Myers, “were useful in less-taxing jobs ... in relatively stable southern Iraq.”

The hard truth is that it takes a good 10 years to build an army from the ground up. And the major emphasis must be placed not on numbers such as how many battalions have been fielded or how ready the recruits are, but rather on good, old-fashioned officer training. Until this happens and the corrupt Iraqi officer leadership – from gold bar to four stars – gets a good scrub, our troops are stuck in the tar.

Does the Bush Administration's Iraqization strategy have any better prospects to succeed than Vietnamization? Maybe. I see one big difference: Bush has basically sent in US advisors who used to support paramilitaries in Latin America. Perhaps this plays to Arab strengths. If the paramilitaries start killing and kidnapping relatives of insurgents then maybe sheer terror can put down the insurgency. And then again, maybe not.

Share |      By Randall Parker at 2005 June 01 06:00 AM  Politics American Domestic

GUYK said at June 1, 2005 8:03 AM:

The real leaders of any effective military force are the Non-coms. The Iraqis need the quality of NCOs that the US military has now and has had in the past. The officer corp with a few exceptions gets bogged down in the politics of promotions and fear of making a mistake and ruining a career. The Non coms take the troops to the front, lead them into action and make the majority of decisions during actual action. young gung ho officers who refuse to listen to their seasoned NCOs usually wind up getting themselves and a lot of their troops killed.

I would recommend that selected Iraqi NCO's be trained in the US military NCO academies. These schools are highly effective and teach everything from leadership and management to battlefield tactics and world affairs. A qualified commisioned officer corp is of course neccessary but with out the non coms leading the way the force will fail.

gcochran said at June 1, 2005 10:44 PM:

All this crap about how it takes years and years and years to make an army - thus we can't expect the Iraqis to be ready for an indefinite time - is of course nonsense. The problem is motivation - they don't much want to fight.

You might try reading history. How long did the Maccabees take to turn a bunch of peaceful Jewish farmers into a force that could defeat superior numbers of professional Hellenistic soldiers? Let's see: they revolted in 167 BC and were already winning the very next year at Nahal el-Haramiah. They continued to win at Beth-horon and Emmaus - and eventually established their independence (and of course lost it again a hundred years later to the Romans).

In the Boer war, a bunch of tough farmers turned out to be able to defeat the professional armies of the greatest power on Earth as soon as they got on their horses: the Boers defeated British troops at Stormberg, Magersfontein, Dundee, Newcastle and Colenso. They eventually lost as Britain overwhelmed them with numbers, but they were certainly competent.

Speaking of good, experienced NCOs, exactly where did the North and South find enough to fill the slots when the army expanded by a factor of around 100 over prewar numbers? Yet two years into the war, I rather think that both sides knew what they were doing. Except for McClellan, and he was a West Pointer. I seem to remember guys with zero military experience rapidly turning into smart, tough mothers: people like Black Jack Logan and Nathan Bedford Forrest, and of course hordes of less famous people.

Why don't Iraqis want to fight for the government we've imposed? Ask them.

Training is never a bad thing, but motivation matters a lot.

Richard said at June 2, 2005 4:29 AM:


I think our experience of training Mexico's elite sf should be cautionary about schooling foreigners and expecting them to do our bidding. Especially, if someone else is doing some bidding for their services.

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