Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

No Left Turns

Deep Throat Still Tough to Swallow

I shouldn’t be amazed that with all the media chest-thumping about their heroism in the Watergate story, made possible by the brave Mark Felt, that no one has mentioned the irony that Charles Colson went to prison on the charge of leaking a single FBI file. Felt was leaking confidential information, and raw files, not once, but repeatedly over a period of months. No wonder Felt wanted to keep his secret all these years; indeed, one wonders whether he would have done so now if he still had his full mental faculties available to him (or if there were no statute of limitations.)

The other aspect that has only been touched obliquely in the last week is that there have long been theories of CIA or intelligence community involvement in creating the Watergate scandal as a means of bringing down Nixon (Jim Hougan first theorized this in 1984 in a book whose title I forget, and then Colodny and Gettlin advanced it further in Silent Coup), because Nixon hated the CIA and the CIA feared Nixon’s intentions to get control of them. (A variation holds that people opposed to arms control and detente conspired to remove Nixon through a scandal; this was the view the Soviet Union took, by the way.) Well, now we learn that this theory is partly right, just with the wrong agency. Part of Felt’s motivation was bureaucratic: he didn’t like Nixon appointing an outsider to run the FBI after Hoover. This should cause everyone, even Nixon-haters, to pause and reflect on the nature of the power held by our permanent government.

Discussions - 18 Comments

Was remembering Reagan today... And you may recall that John was an early and ardent Reagan booster... I have some old photos from the 76 Presidential campaign sitting around somewhere... Posted a few of my own Reagan photos here:

http://mikesamerica.blogspot.com/

Steve:

Indeed, the power struggle between the White House and "the permanent government" does seem to be an understudied aspect to the Watergate tale.

My understanding is that Nixon had his aides set up the White House "plumbers’ unit" in large part because the FBI late in the J. Edgar Hoover era, with its finger held to the political winds, had begun refusing to carry out the kind of legally dubious domestic-intelligence missions (known colloquially as "black-bag jobs") that Hoover had done for decades, and knowledge of which played a part in the enormous power over successive presidents that Hoover wielded.

It may also be worth pointing out that while Watergate is touted as the grand epic of investigative reporting, there was actually hardly any of that involved--Woodward & Bernstein never had to "investigate" much of anything or do any kind of spade work. Instead, they were systematically handed leaks.

While it doesn’t necessarily excuse Nixon, the more one scrutinizes "Watergate," the more it begins to look like a kind of intra-Washington coup in which the coup-makers used the compliant, Nixon-hating press as their weapon of choice.

I did a web search on Chuck Colson. It says he went to prison for obstruction.

Could you clarify?

These postings and comments make me feel downright sorry for Nixon. I never realized what a victim he was! In fact, now I feel motivated to give up more of my freedom, so that the poor, vulnerable president can feel safer.

Moreover, I can’t decide now if I hate the press more because it is evil or because it is lazy. Should I hate the press because it is Nixon-hating, Reagan-hating, and overall Republican-hating, or because all it did was sit and eat scraps fed to it by a sinister Deep Throat?

This is the same press that can’t seem to get the Downing Street Memo onto its front pages, and can’t seem to print real images of war other than flag-waving posers standing over captured weapons.

Watergate was a scam, Nixon was a victim, Iran-Contra must have been just a misunderstanding. The only thing more surprising than the sheer lunacy of your suggestions is the fact that some people seem to believe it! Why in the world would normal Americans want to weaken the press? This current administration’s lies have been responsible for killing thousands and thousands, and you want to treat the Presidency as an endangered species? You want to treat whistle-blowers as self-serving traitors? Where were you when we wasted millions and millions looking into Whitewater, or when the entire country was rolling in horrified glee because Clinton lied about oral sex? Was he a misunderstood victim? Was the liberal media treated like the fifth horseman, then? Were whistleblowers searched with a fine-tooth comb for ulterior motives?

Pardon me, but this stuff makes me sick.

Fung, I hope this is some consolation. I too am sickened, but only by your ability to claim to see the whole picture while wearing "right-side blinders". Maybe we’re in stalls next to each other right now, vomiting.

For 30 years I have been shouting "What about Dick Tuck?"
Dick Tuck’s dirty tricks put Watergate into perspective, so the press stopped talking about him.
Peculiar?

NoLeftTurns will soon begin marketing it own line of barf-bags for the faint-hearted readers.

To Mark: I’ll have to double-check on Colson. I was going from memory: when the Clinton FBI file scandal erupted in 1995 or 1996, I recall Colson writing a newspaper article explaining that mishandling a single FBI file had been the linchpin of the charges again him, which may have formally been obstruction. Obstruction is of course a highly elastic charge (like conspiracy).

I agree with Fung’s take on this 100%. Mr. Hayward is advancing theories that, if they had originated from or about any Democrat or liberal political figure or event, we’d be reading the "moonbat" and tinfoil hat accusations non-stop from Mr. Hayward and the Ashbrook fraternity. We’re constantly reading about how liberally-biased the media is, how it’s full of eager-beaver leftists, liberals and washed-up hippies looking to bring down Bush - Gannon/Guckert excluded and excused, of course. So, yes, please do explain why the Downing Street memo has hardly been a blip on the radar screen of the (Commie-dominated) mainstream media? Seeing that there have hardly been any rebuttals of the substance in that memo, why isn’t the MSM all over it like a pack of dogs all over a box of t-bones?? If there was anything remotely like this memo when Clinton was in office, surely we’d see an impeachment in half the time it took to get one for his staining of the dress; and if it were so, I’d be cheering on the impeachment every step of the way.

If you’re doing market research on those barf-bags, Mr. Hayward, sign me up as interested, but only if I get one free for every 5 blog postings I read here (so, I’m not sure how this could be a very profitable endeavor for NoLeftTurns).

How quickly we forget!!

Your Downing Street Memo lives in the same chapter of journalistic integrity as does Chinagate.

What moonbat theory, exactly, is Hayward advancing? That Felt broke the law? That Felt did so for less-than-honorable reasons? You don’t have to look for right-wing moonbats for any of this:
http://slate.msn.com/id/2120148/

- the theory that Watergate was a manufactured scandal designed to bring down (a presumably innocent) Nixon.

The Hougan book, of which Hayward could recall the year but not the title, was "Secret Agenda." Again, if there’d been a book like this written to expose the "vast right-wing conspiracy" to get Clinton, we’d be hearing about tinfoil hats and conspiracy kooks. But if it’s Nixon we’re talking about, then conspiratorial phrases like "secret agenda" are fair game - all of the evidence on the Watergate tapes themselves be damned!

Well, Erica: On one of those famed Watergate tapes, Nixon says: "If we didn’t know better, we would have thought it [the burglary] was deliberately botched."

That’s right, Erica. What more evidence do you need than Mr. Hayward’s report of that one line? Remember watching the Watergate hearings on the TV? That, too, was merely a drama, staged on the back lot of a liberal, left-wing conspiracy production company in Tarzana, CA. It never happened.

Those WMDs that never showed up in Iraq? Democrats swooped in there in advance of our troops and hid them, in order to make George look like a liar. He’s a victim. Those photos of Iraqi prisoners with dogs snarling at their genitals? A few bad apples, led by a female mastermind with an IQ of 85, and then viciously exposed by a liberal whistleblower, whose treason knows no bounds. Now, what’s real is the series of town meetings on Social Security that I have been watching, lately. Our President has been meeting with randomly selected admirers all across this country "catapulting the propaganda," in his words. Have you noticed how many tough questions he has had to confront from this random slice of Americana?

When I was a kid, we honored the soldiers fighting in Vietnam by holding a moment of silence every night while the news rolled the names of those most recently killed and listed as missing. Today, I can only find the names of fallen soldiers in Doonesbury and our local alternative newspaper. That is how we honor and support our troops, by preventing images of them from ever gracing the newspapers, or TV, and by omitting their names from our "liberal" media.

Image management seems more important than the truth, in some circles.

Like it’s not obvious to anybody who compares these comments that Fung and Erica are the same person. I too agree with myself 100%.

And isn’t it just as obvious to anybody who compares the comments that Dung and Steven Hayward are the same person.

Now there’s a real conspiracy theory.

The point is to ponder the conclusion: "to pause and reflect on the nature of the power held by our permanent government." A private agenda caused the fall of a legitimately elected president, who, it is true, aided and abetted that fall. This should raise far more concern than criticisms of Bush v. Gore.

What about Dick Tuck? Dick Tuck was a fraud. He never actually pulled off any of the pranks he claims to have. He admitted as much in a 1992 interview with author Neil Steinberg for his book, "If At All Possible, Involve A Cow: A Book of College Pranks". Dick Tuck represents the absolute worste of the extreme. Someone willing to fabricate "truth" just to prove his side right.

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