Today we learned “Deep Throat's" true identity -- W. Mark Felt, the then Deputy Director of the FBI. As one who was a first-hand witness to Watergate, I can only state humbly that this man helped bring our country back from the constitutional brink of an out-of-control White House, and the entire nation owes him a debt of gratitude.
The lessons of Watergate are so telling and important today (see my blog for more) that it is eerie, not to mention depressing:
– Back then we had an aggressive press corps –- at least parts of it -– willing to take a story and run with it, notwithstanding blowback from the White House. Today we have a paid government propaganda machine and a largely compliant press, although we do have a blogosphere attempting to lead –- or shame –- the MSM into dong the right thing.
– Back than we had men of courage, such as Mark Felt, John Dean, Leon Jaworski and Archibald Cox, who were willing to challenge authority and abuses of power. Today, when individuals such as Richard Clarke or former Secretary of the Treasury Paul O'Neill step forward, they are subject to shame and ridicule by the White House.
– Back then we had a Justice Department that was willing to take an investigation wherever it would lead. Even before the infamous “Saturday Night Massacre,” the FBI and DOJ were aggressively pursuing leads. Today we have a Justice Department that sees or hears no evil when it comes to the Administration, and has operated as a willing accomplice to torture and rendition.
– Back than we had a Congress that was willing to hold real hearings and conduct real oversight of official misconduct -- see Sam Ervin and the recently deceased Peter Rodino. Today, we have one-party rule, and all too many in Congress simply take their marching orders from the White House, rather than stand up for what’s right.
I am thrilled that Mark Felt came forward today to teach this generation a thing or two about responsibility and accountability.