Open Up & Say Aah!: Deep Throat
- Please send as far and wide as possible.
Editor, The Konformist
Deep Throat cover blown
Washington Post still sucks
By Greg Palast
Online Journal Guest Writer
June 3, 2005I've been gagging on the Washington Post's self-
congratulatory preening about its glory days of the Watergate
Think about it. It's been 33 years since cub reporters Woodward and
Bernstein pulled down the pants of the Nixon operation and exposed
its tie-in to the Watergate burglary. That marks a third of a
century since the Washington Post has broken a major investigative
story. I got a hint of why the long, dry spell when I met Mark
Hosenball, "investigative" reporter for the Washington Post's
It was in the summer of 2001. A few months earlier, for the Guardian
papers of Britain, I'd discovered that Katherine Harris and Governor
Jeb Bush of Florida had removed tens of thousands of African-
Americans from voter registries before the 2000 election, thereby
fixing the race for George Bush. Hosenball said the Post-Newsweek
team "looked into it and couldn't find anything."
Nothing at all? What I found noteworthy about the Post's
investigation was that "looking into it" involved their reporters
chatting with Florida officials but not bothering to look at the
voter purge list itself.
Yes, I admit the Washington Post ran my storyseven months after the
electionbut with the key info siphoned out, such as the Bush crew's
destruction of evidence and the salient fact that almost all those
purged were Democrats. In other words, the story was drained of
anything which might discomfit the new residents of 1600
Let's not pick on the Post alone. Viacom Corporation's CBS News also
spiked the story. Why? "We called Jeb Bush's office," a CBS producer
told me, and Jeb's office denied Jeb did wrong. End of story.
During the Clinton years, the Washington Post and Newsweek allowed
reporter Mike Isikoff to sniff at the president's zipper and write
about our commander-in-chief's Lewinsky. But when it came to a big
story about dirty energy industry money for Clinton's campaigns,
Mike told me his editors didn't "give a sh" and so he passed the
material for me to print in England.
Today, Bob Woodward rules as the Post's assistant managing editor.
And how is he "managing" the news? After the September 11 attack,
when we needed an independent press to keep us from hysteria-driven
fascism, Woodward was given "access" to the president, writing Bush
at War,a fawning, puke-making fairy tale of a take-charge president
brilliantly leading the war against Terror.
Woodward's news-oid story is a symptom of a disease epidemic in US
journalism. The illness is called, "access." In return for a
supposedly "inside" connection to the powers that be, the
journalists in fact become conduits for disinformation sewage.
And woe to any journalist who annoys the politicians and
loses "access." Career-wise, they're DOA.
Here's a good place to tote up part of the investigative reporter
body count. There's Bob Parry forced out of the Associated Press for
the crime of uncovering Ollie North's arms-for-hostages game. And
there's Gary Webb, hounded to suicide for documenting the long-known
history of the CIA's love affair with drug runners. The list goes
on. Even the prize-laden Seymour Hersh was, he told me, exiled from
Tthe New York Times and now has to write from the refuge of a
And notice someone missing in the Deep Throat extravaganza? Carl
Bernstein, the brains and soul of the All the President's Men duo,
is notably absent from the staff of the Post or any other US
But before we get too weepy about the glory days of investigative
journalism gone by, we should remember that the golden era was not
Newspapers are part of the power elite and have never in US history
gone out of their way to rock the clubhouse. Let's go back to
Hersh's stellar story of the My Lai massacre in Vietnam.
The massacre was first uncovered by the greatest investigative
reporter of our era, the late Ron Ridenhour. Then a soldier
conducting the investigation on his own, Ridenhour turned over his
findings to Hersh, hoping to give it a chance for exposure. That
wasn't so easy.
Ridenhour told me that he and Hersh pushed the story with photos!
at dozens of newspapers. No one would touch it until Ridenhour
threatened to read the story from the steps of the Pentagon.
It's only gotten worse. After all, Hersh's latest big story, about
Abu Ghraib prison, was buried by CBS and other news outlets before
Hersh put it in the New Yorker.
The Washington Post has no monopoly on journalistic evil. If
anything, the Post is probably better than most of the bilge
contaminating our news outlets. This is about the death-march of
investigative journalism in America; or, at least, its dearth under
the "mainstream" mastheads.
Why don't we read more "Watergate" investigative stories in the US
press? Given that the Woodwards of today dance on their hind legs
begging officialdom for "access," news without official blessing
doesn't stand a chance.
The Post follows current American news industry practice of killing
any story based on evidence from a confidential source if a
government honcho privately denies it. A flat-out "we didn't do it"
is enough to kill an investigation in its cradle. And by that rule,
there is no chance that the assistant managing editor of the
Washington Post, Bob Woodward, would today run Deep Throat's story
of the Watergate break-in.
And that sucks.
Greg Palast's reports for Britain's Guardian newspapers and Harper's
Magazine can be found at www.GregPalast.com. Palast won this year's
George Orwell Courage in Journalism award at the Sundance Freedom
Cinema Festival for his investigations of the Bush family for BBC
Deep Throat: Shallow story hides deeper history
By Larry Chin
Online Journal Associate Editor
June 3, 2005The "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
"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.
Deep Throat Whining
By Will Durst, AlterNet
Posted on June 6, 2005
"--the man responsible for installing the electrical tape to cover
the door latches during the break-in. Thanks for joining us. As you
know, Washington DC is mourning the loss of its favorite 30-year-old
guessing game, as the whole country now knows the identity of Deep
Throat. Being right there where it all began, what are your
"Disgust mostly. Call me an old fashioned felon, but I'm revolted by
how the liberal media machine is determined to convince a gullible
public what a swell guy this Deep Throat character is. Trying to
make him out to be a national hero, when he really was nothing but a
lousy rat. Skulking around in darkened garages not breaking into any
cars. Deserves the mark of the stupid squealer."
"So you disagree with the notion that Deep Throat provided a great
service to the nation?"
"A monumental disservice is more like it. This guy is nothing but a
stone hypocrite. Claims he had evidence of corruption. Well, if he
was so damned sure, he should have taken it straight to his
"But isn't it true that L. Patrick Gray, his immediate and only
superior at the FBI, was also indicted in the very same coverup?"
"So what? The way Felt handled it was contemptible. Going to outside
agencies is unethical. There are proper Christian ways to go about
these sort of things, and at every juncture, the choice he made was
shameful and dishonorable. Something a terrorist would do. Now, I'm
not saying W. Mark Felt was an advance scout for Al Qaeda, but-"
"Say he had gone to the authorities with this information, what do
you think would have happened?"
"That's easy. The focus would have shifted to him and the moral
considerations of his whistle blowing, and Nixon would have scurried
under a rock to wait for the glare to go away."
"Like what happened with Dan Rather and Bush's National Guard duty?"
"Exactly. Nobody bothered to find out if the information was correct
or not once it became clear the documents weren't. If Karl Rove were
running things, Nixon might still be President."
"Weren't you convicted of burglary of the Watergate offices and
subsequently charged with extortion, money laundering and illegal
"I acted under the direct orders of our Commander-in-Chief for whom
I considered it an honor to lie, cheat, steal and pony inseminate."
"I was a good soldier."
"So were the Nazis."
"And your point is?"
"In a prepared statement, Mark Felt's grandson sees his
grandfather's legacy as that of a Great American Hero. Do you take
issue with that assessment?"
"Hero? The guy's a schmuck. He totally ruined his legacy. Instead of
being known as a former deputy director of the FBI with the highest
esteem of his colleagues, now he'll always be known as Deep Throat,
the guy who ratted out a President."
"And you'll be known as a criminal sleazebag who broke the law,
tried to cover it up and spent five years in federal prison."
"Yes, but I still have the esteem of my colleagues."
"Which are mostly career criminals."
"Well, thanks again for talking to us. Next up, a Catholic Priest
gives us a stern talking to on the Michael Jackson verdict."
Political Comic Will Durst believes Conservatives are unclear on the
concept of "irony." Catch Durst as a special guest for DC's Funniest
Celebrity Contest this week on C-SPAN.