Tuesday, May 31, 2005

More on Mark Felt, Deep Throat, and Bennett

Bob Woodward, according to the Washington Post website, confirms that Mark Felt is Deep Throat.

Most will now consider the matter resolved. And yet -- as of an hour ago, at least -- one noted researcher offered a counter-argument to the Felt scenario.

Jim Hougan, author of the essential Secret Agenda, wrote a response to Vanity Fair's assertion that Deep Throat was Mark Felt. Even earlier today, I had already written about this matter at some length; my post below references both Hougan and Robert Bennett, a confirmed Woodward source who was previously my favorite in the throatstakes.

Hougan's response came in the form of an email. To be frank, I'm not sure about the ethics of sharing his words with my readers; normally, I am fastidious about keeping private mail private. On the other hand, Hougan's text was cc'd to, like, everyone. Many folks on his brobdinagian recipient list have quickly shared the piece with others, which is how the damned thing reached me. By now, this letter is about as "private" as the Downing Street memo.

Since the author seems to want an audience, I've decided to publish. Despite Woodward's admission, I believe that Hougan raises some good points; he reminds us that, despite today's revelations, Watergate lore still contains many mysteries.

Read what he has to say, and then -- if you are of a mind to do so -- scan my own humble offering, which attempts to reconcile the Felt admission with what we know about CIA's involvement with Watergate.

All y'all,

In the last couple of hours I've gotten half-a-dozen emails, and a couple of phone-calls, about Mark Felt's belated declaration (in the upcoming *Vanity Fair*) to the effect that he's Deep Throat. I've just done an interview with Fox (James Rosen/Britt Hume), and it looks like this is the story de jour.

That said, it's possible, maybe even likely, that you have no absolutely interest in Wategate. If so, put this down as parapolitical spam, and stop reading.

Anyway, here's my take on Felt's declaration:

1. He was badgered into it by family and friends. Felt is 91 years old, and counting. A reporter who recently interviewed him found the interview an incoherent waste of time, and killed his own story.

2. Felt has always denied that he was Deep Throat until, as we're told, members of his family recently pointed out to him there might be a buck in it, and that his children and grandchildren have bills to pay.

(And there is a buck in it: Bob Loomis told me, 20 years ago, that Throat could probably get a $4-million advance from Random House for his life-story.)

3. Felt wrote a book about his career in the FBI. In it, he goes out of the way to say that he met Woodward on a single occasion. This was in Felt's FBI office, and the upshot of it was that Felt told Woodward that he would not cooperate with him in his pursuit of "Watergate."

4. After a careful study of Throat's relationship to the *Post* and to the White House, first in *Secret Agenda* and subsequently while working with Len Garment, it became clear that *no one* in or around the Nixon White Hoouse was in a position to know all of the things that Throat is alleged to have told Woodward. For example, Felt had no way of knowing about the 18-and-a-half minute gap in Rosemary Woods' tape. This strongly suggests that Throat was a composite.

5. Just as importantly, if Felt was Throat, he betrayed the people for whom he was a source. This is so because the biggest story that anyone could have broken in the Summer of 1972 was Alfred Baldwin's decision to come forward and tell what he knew. An employee of James McCord's, Baldwin told the U.S. Attorney's office and the FBI that he had monitored some 250 telephone conversations from "the Listening Post," his room in the Howard Johnson's motel across the street from the Watergate. The significance of this information was that the public and the press believed that the Watergate break-in was a failure, and that the burglars were arrested before they could succeed in placing their bugs. Because of that, the public believed, no telephone calls were ever intercepted. Baldwin gave the lie to that, and Felt knew it. For him to have withheld that information from the *Post* would not only have been a betrayal---it would not have made sense if Felt's alleged intention (as Throat) was to keep the story alive. (The Baldwin story was eventually broken in the Fall of 1972 by the Los Angeles Times.)

6. What we have here, then, is the sad spectacle of an old man being manipulated.

For the record, it seems to me that if anyone proposes to identify Deep Throat, or to identify the lead singer in the choir of sources subsumed by the identity of Throat, they must meet a very basic criterion. That is, they must demonstarate, at a minimum, that their candidate met repeatedly and secretly with Bob Woodward. (Throat is obviously Woodward's creation. I don't think Bernstein would know him from a bale of hay.)

The only person who meets that criterion, to my knowledge, is Robert Bennett. Now one of the most powerful men in the U.S. Senate, Bennett was President of the Robert R. Mullen Company in 1972-3. This was the CIA front for which Howard Hunt worked. (It was also the Washington representative of the Howard Hughes organization.) As I reported in *Secret Agenda*, Bennett's CIA case officer, Martin Lukoskie, drafted a memo to his boss, Eric Eisenstadt, reporting on his monthly debriefing of Bennett after the Watergate arrests. According to Eisenstadt, Bennett told him that he, Bennett, had "made a backdoor entry to the Washington Post through Edward Bennett Williams' office," and that he, Bennett, was feeding stories to Bob Woodward, who was "suitably grateful." (Williams was the Post's attorney, and attorney, also, for the Democratic National Committee.)

Woodward's gratefulness was manifest in the way he kept the CIA, in general, and the Robert R. Mullen Company, in particular, out of his stories. (I obtained the Lukoskie memo under the Freedom of Information Act. Eric Eisenstadt's reaction to that memo, which I also obtained under FOIA, was considered so secret that it was delivered by hand to then-CIA Director Richard Helms.

What bothers me the most about all this, and what inspires me to write this unforgiveably long email to so many about something so few care about, is the gullibility of "the press"---by which I mean Talking Heads like Jeffrey Toobin---who have bought Felt's story hook, line and sinker.

That Woodward and Bernstein have taken a no-comment stance toward Felt's story is interesting and probably predictable. On the one hand, if I'm right about Bennett being Throat, they have a serious problem where their source is concerned---not just that he was a composite, but that their relationship to him was predicated on a quid pro quo concealing the CIA's involvement in the Watergate story.

Thanks for listening (if you're still there),

Jim Hougan
Comments:
The "composite" hypothesis never seemed plausible to me. I've never heard of anyone (in real life) inventing a single source out of various separate ones--and I don't see why Woodward would have done that. For what purpose? No, Deep Throat was almost certainly a single person, and no behind-the-scenes player, either. It had to be someone with prestige and unimpeachable credibility... plus MOTIVE. Felt fits the bill very well, especially if it is true that he was miffed when Nixon didn't appoint him to replace J. Edgar Hoover... All in all, Felt is, from what I've heard so far, a perfect fit. Apparently his family has known about it for years, which also supports the identification.
 
Who headed the CIA? Wasn't it George Herbert Walker Bush?
 
Who headed the CIA? Wasn't it George Herbert Walker Bush?
 
Two things:

IMO it's highly possible we're getting an orchestrated cover story here. All this is a little too convenient. Felt? Fine. But I get the feeling we're being snookered.

It's also a great diversion from a) Bush's troubles, and b) Bush Sr. and the CIA, as suggested above.

That said, the reappearance of Watergate on the nation's front pages and the top of the news hour is an excellent opportunity to educate people about the last time (the very last, and the media have done their best to make sure of it) when the legislative branch, the citizenry and the media acted to throw a criminal president from office. And to draw parallels to our present far more criminal administration.

Maybe that was even the purpose behind the timing of the Deep Throat announcement? (Since other reasons that have been advanced seem flimsy) And if so, who's the real (presumably anti-Bush) source?

See, we still don't know who Deep Throat is, 'cause now we can glimpse the shadow of a Deep Throat behind Deep Throat. Fun and games.
 
Ben Bradlee's naval intelligence background, similar to Woodward's own ( http://www.answers.com/ben%20bradlee ) and

Page 59 of Crimes of Patriots: A True Tale of Dope, Dirty Money, and the CIA by Jonathan Kwitny :
“Alexander Butterfield, a former Asian-intelligence officer, had some helpful advice for a reporter asking questions about Bernie Houghton. In 1973, Butterfield had attained instant celebrity by revealing to Congress and the world that Richard Nixon’s Watergate conversations were secretly taped in the Oval Office. (Little if anything was made of the curious circumstance that a career intelligence operative had played such a pivotal role in the downfall of a president.)”

Combine the role of Robert F. Bennett of the Mullen Co CIA-front p.r. firm, and the fact that Bennett hid the CIA’s and his role in that; the fact that the burglary was run by the CIA’s McCord and the Cubans, and done at Strachan’s urging after an uneventful first breakin, and voila.
 
lead singer in chorous of "throats' was william c sullivan who was masquerading as nixons "man". He shared info with his close friend al haig and also with felts immediate subordinates.

kennnthomas
 
Stop guessing. Just do to Woodward what they did to Janet Cooke - make him prove it. He has a tape of Deep Throat, he should play it for us. The FBI should be able to verify the voices.
 
Its interesting to see in some of the Watergate era FBI memo written by Mark Felt that he was essentially in charge of finding the Deep Throat leak.

http://www.paperlessarchives.com/mark_felt.html
 
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Yahoo News - Oct. 13, 2005


Yahoo Japan steps up mobile content distribution (Reuters via Yahoo! News)
Yahoo Japan Corp. said on Thursday it had launched a mobile content distribution service, in which cellphone users can buy games, ring tones, news and other entertainment and information from 59 content providers.


Microsoft, Yahoo to link instant messages (USATODAY.com via Yahoo! News)
Microsoft and Yahoo will make their instant-messaging programs work together, a partnership that could give the companies more power to compete against market leader America Online. The companies expect the service to start by June 2006.


Yahoo to Bar Minor-Adult Sex Chat Rooms (Washington Post)
NEW YORK -- Yahoo Inc. said Wednesday it will bar chat rooms that promote sex between minors and adults and restrict all chat rooms to users 18 and older.

Today's News From & About Yahoo


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