Pat Buchanan
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And if Gray, an outsider, fell because he couldn't keep the FBI from leaking, Nixon might turn to Felt, the ranking insider who could button up the bureau like Hoover did.

By ingratiating himself with Gray as he set out to discredit and destroy him, Felt expected that when Gray was passed over by Nixon, he would recommend to Nixon that he appoint his loyal deputy, Felt, as director.

Even if cynical and vicious, the scheme was clever.

Until Nixon found out Felt was the leaker in late 1972, he was considering Felt for the top job. Felt's machinations and deceptions at the apex of the FBI make Nixon's White House appear in retrospect to have been a cloistered convent of Carmelite nuns.

More revolting than the ruin of Gray's reputation was what Felt did to the good name of the bureau he professed to love. By leaking what agents were learning about Watergate, he was discrediting the FBI.

Inside the government, he made the FBI look like an agency of bumblers who could not keep secrets. Outside the government, the FBI looked like a three-toed sloth, while a fleet-footed and fearless Washington Post was unearthing the truth.

The FBI appeared beaten at every turn by the brilliant Post, when it was the FBI's homework Felt was stealing and the Post was cribbing.

Woodward and Bernstein were glorified stenographers.

And though Deep Throat was portrayed as a man sickened by the wiretaps and break-ins by the White House, Felt himself, writes Holland, "authorized illegal surreptitious entries into the homes of people associated with the Weather Underground."

In 1979, Felt was prosecuted and convicted and then pardoned by Reagan.

In "The Secret Man," Woodward calls Felt "a truth-teller." That's quite a tribute to an FBI man who lied to Pat Gray, lied to all of his FBI colleagues and lied to every journalist who asked him for 30 years whether he was Deep Throat.

If Felt was a hero, why did he not come forward to tell the country what he had done and why?

Because he was no hero.

Mark Felt was a snake. He used the Post to destroy his rivals and advance his ambitions, and the Post didn't care what his motives were because Felt was assisting them in destroying their old enemy.

Yes, indeed, the finest hour in American journalism.

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Pat Buchanan

Pat Buchanan is a founding editor of The American Conservative magazine, and the author of many books including State of Emergency: The Third World Invasion and Conquest of America .
 
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