Thursday, June 02, 2005

We're all getting sucked into Deep Throat

Well, not really, but it is generating a great deal of pundit-speak.

From the Wheeling, WV, Wheeling News-Register:
He was, in short, a true idealist - a man who was concerned deeply with doing the right thing. That, we hope, is the picture history paints. And that, we hope, is the role model Felt presents to others in government - of a man truly dedicated to ethics in public service.
From President Clinton, we hear,
"I think he did a good thing, and I think it was unusual circumstances," Clinton said Wednesday on CNN's "Larry King Live."

"I think Felt believed that there was a chance that this thing would be covered up," Clinton said, referring to the break-in and Nixon administration's cover-up. "Ordinarily, I think a law enforcement official shouldn't leak to the press because you should let criminal action take its course."
SIDEBAR: Also in the CNN report I learned,
The Bushes have invited Clinton to their family compound in Kennebunkport, Maine, this summer.
Sometimes I'm just amazed... okay, sidebar's over.

From Woodward and Bernstein, we catch this:
Carl Bernstein dismissed critics, many of them former Nixon administration officials, who say it would have been more honorable for Felt to resign from his post as the FBI's deputy director.

"Clearly this person wanted to effect some kind of end to the criminality and unconstitutionality of what was occurring," Bernstein said on ABC's "Good Morning America."

"And given the stories we were writing, we're only speculating here, this might have been the one reliable avenue," Bernstein said. "All the other institutions were corrupted."

Bob Woodward, speaking on NBC's "Today" show, described Felt as "a very reluctant person in the turmoil of, 'Am I doing the right thing, how do I get this out'."

"We had no idea of his motivations, and even now some of his motivations are unclear," Bernstein said on NBC.
Motivations? you ask. Try this on for size:
"It's doing me good," Mr. Felt told reporters outside his home in Santa Rosa, Calif., when asked how he was reacting to the publicity. "I'll arrange to write a book or something, and collect all the money I can."
I have to be honest: that doesn't give me warm and fuzzies.

Even former FBI agents, and others, are getting in on the game.
Retired San Francisco Agent George Grotz said the last time he logged on to a private chat room for former FBI agents Wednesday, about 60 percent of those voicing an opinion were against Felt's decision to act as a source for Post reporters Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein.

Those who disagree with what Felt did question his motives, and believe he betrayed his government and violated the FBI tradition of not revealing investigative findings to the public until the case has been resolved.

But others believe Felt acted heroically by blowing the whistle on a crooked president.
And the current President? Well,
President Bush said Thursday that he was taken aback by the news that the bureau's former deputy director was Deep Throat. He said he saw it as "the end of a chapter, and I probably won't comment. It's not appropriate for the president to get drawn into the debate."
That's probably the smartest thing GW said yesterday.

The Secretary of Defense weighed in yesterday, too.
Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, who worked for the Nixon administration and has been critical of news leaks in the past, had this to say when questioned at a Pentagon news conference: "Any time any wrongdoing occurs, I think it's important that wrongdoing be reported. Now, who one reports that to -- the authorities is one thing, or somebody else is another. I'm not in any judgmental mood."
I love his quote: Any time any wrongdoing occurs, I think it's important that wrongdoing be reported. And then he quickly ditches with his who do you report it to comment. I'm thinking he wants all wrongdoing in the Department of Defense -- including his own -- reported to him. Yeh, that's the ticket.

And, for this posting, the final word goes to someone who knows a thing or two about whistleblowing.
Stephen Kohn of the National Whistleblower Center, a nonprofit organization in Washington, D.C., dedicated to helping government employees who report misdeeds in the workplace, said that no matter what people think of Felt leaking to the press, the law protects him from prosecution.

"A government employee swears his or her allegiance to the Constitution of the United States, not to the White House or any government bureaucrat," Kohn said. "The American public has the right to know about illegal conduct by high-ranking officials. In the case of Felt, his disclosure options were very limited. He had good cause to believe that his chain of command would not properly address the allegations."
For some of the most complete coverage of Deep Throat, check out the Washington Post.

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