Deep Throat Disappointment

1973/4/27 #891169: W. Mark Felt headshot, former FBI deputy associate director, graphic element on black AP

Ever since "Deep Throat's" identity was revealed, I've been feeling kind of disappointed. I don't mean just because the mystery figure is some guy I never heard of. I'm also disappointed that the secret is out and the mystery is over. I feel like someone who was amazed by a magic trick, only to learn that it's done with black thread. And let's face it, those mean older kids who told us all about Santa Claus and the Tooth Fairy weren't necessarily doing us a favor.

For years, I viewed the mysterious figure of "Deep Throat" as romantic and heroic. Here was a person who was obviously at great personal risk, but was so appalled by the action of Nixon and his boys that he had to get the truth out. I always thought it would be fitting if it turned out that this secret person were an American icon — like Walter Cronkite, or maybe even Cher. But no, it's just some guy.

In fact, now that it's been revealed that the person who leaked all the information to Woodward and Bernstein was W. Mark Felt, the Number Two guy at the FBI, there are those who feel he wasn't a hero at all. They believe that if he knew about illegal acts, he should have reported them to the proper authorities instead of blabbing to the press. The only problem is that the "proper authorities" were among those committing the crimes.

But Felt was no perfect hero. He not only had feet of clay, he had a whole three-piece suit of clay. And a hat. At the time of Watergate, he had an axe to grind because he was passed over for the head of the FBI job. And years later, Felt himself was convicted of carrying out illegal searches and violating the civil rights of domestic dissidents in the Weather Underground movement. In other words, he was no mythical hero. He was an imperfect human.
  • Lloyd Vries

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