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Sunday, June 05, 2005

William F. Buckley on Deep Throat as "Brutus"

I have yet to cobble together my final thoughts on the Felt revelation. One needs large wall charts to navigate the complex slimeways of the Nixon years -- everyone hated everyone, everyone was bugging everyone, everyone was informing on everyone, everyone was joining or forming or betraying factions.

Take, for example, the case of columnist Jack Anderson, then quite well-known for his administration sources.

Hoover hated him passionately. At the same time, the naive, young Yeoman Charles Radford, of Moorer/Radford fame (basically, this was a military conspiracy against Nixon and Kissinger) was told a bizarre tale about Anderson and his alleged links to the Zionist/Rockefeller cabal. Now, you would think that the Hoover faction and the Moorer/Radford faction (which was linked to Angleton's CIA faction) would be sympatico, since they both hated Anderson. But these two groups were also at odds, because Hoover would not share "black bag" dirt with any other part of the intelligence community.

Oh, but it gets more complex: Anderson still received leaks, and even seems to have cooperated with an attempt to blame the Moorer/Radford spy operation (once it was blown) on Radford, the easily-gulled young Native American who was the ultimate fall guy. A little later, G. Gordon Liddy of CREEP (Nixon's private covertops unit) made serious plans to murder Anderson. Hoover despised both Anderson and Nixon's private team of spooks.

One can go on and on.

The CIA's interactions with all these players remain of primary fascination, as the recent column by William F. Buckley illustrates. After referring to Mark Felt in scabrous terms -- calling him a "Brutus" and worse -- Buckley partially reveals a bit of history he has never heretofore divulged:

On January 5, 1973, Howard Hunt, an old friend and my sometime boss in the CIA, came to see me, accompanied by one of his daughters (my goddaughter, as it happened). He told me the appalling, inside story of Watergate, including the riveting news that one of the plumbers was ready and disposed to kill Jack Anderson, the journalist-commentator, if word came down to proceed to that lurid extreme.

I took what I thought appropriate measures. I do not believe Jack Anderson's life was actually imperiled, but meanwhile, in an adjacent theater, Mark Felt, posing as an incorruptible agent of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, was advancing his own drama. And now he wants some money for it.
What audacity!

Felt is 91 and living on an FBI pension; I doubt that he cares much about money at this point, although his family probably does. Buckley -- who kept his mouth shut -- is far wealthier. That comparison should tell us something about the way the world really works.

Buckley here admits that he has learned the truth about an appalling presidential scandal, and about a conspiracy to commit murder. What did he do?

Nothing.

Well, he says he took "appropriate measures," but we have yet to see any evidence that those measures amounted to anything. Despite Buckley's latter-day protestations, Jack Anderson's life was indeed in serious peril.

What should Felt have "appropriately" done? Buckley says he should have kept the details of the administration's many crimes quiet. Or rather, he should have reported them to FBI Director L. Patrick Gray (a Nixon appointee who was removed from his post the moment the President lost faith in him) or to John Mitchell's notoriously corrupt Justice Department. All of which is really another way of saying that Felt, in Buckley's view, should have kept his damn mouth shut.

Just as Buckley himself did.

Yes, I know that Mark Felt was no angel. Yes, I know tht he did what he did because he wanted to inherit Hoover's position. Maybe Felt's family would be free from all anxiety over finances if he was as corrupt as William F. Buckley.
Comments:
I have no great love for William F. Buckley, who was always a little too facile with words for his own good. However, our country would be far better off if conservatives today were of HIS and Barry Goldwater's type. At least Buckley as a respected voice for Republicans was intelligent, educated, and smug, rather than stupid, ignorant, and smug. Which characterizes today's Republicans.
 
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