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John Simkin

Deep Throat: The Candidates

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On 3rd July, 1972, Frank Sturgis, Virgilio Gonzalez, Eugenio Martinez, Bernard L. Barker and James W. McCord were arrested while breaking into the Democratic Party campaign offices in an apartment block called Watergate. It appeared that the men had been to wiretap the conversations of Larry O'Brien, chairman of the Democratic National Committee.

Bob Woodward, and Carl Bernstein, two journalists employed by the Washington Post, began working on the story. On 19th June, Woodward telephoned a man who he called "an old friend" for information about the burglars. This man, who Woodward claims was a high-ranking federal employee, was willing to help Woodward as long as he was never named as a source. Later, Howard Simons, the managing editor of the newspaper, gave him the nickname "Deep Throat".

During their first telephone conversation with Bob Woodward Deep Throat insisted on certain conditions. According to All the President's Men: "His identity was unknown to anyone else. He could be contacted only on very important occasions. Woodward had promised he would never identify him or his position to anyone. Woodward had also agreed never to quote the man, even as an anonymous source. Their discussions would be only to confirm information that had been obtained elsewhere and to add some perspective."

The first information that Deep Throat gave Woodward on 19th June was that the Federal Bureau of Investigation considered that E. Howard Hunt, a former member of the Central Intelligence Agency, was a major suspect in the case.

At first Woodward and Deep Throat communicated via telephone. However, by October, 1973, Deep Throat had become very worried that he would be identified as Woodward's main source and insisted that they had their meetings at about 2:00 am. in a pre-designated underground parking garage. Deep Throat even refused to use the phone to set up the meetings. It was agreed that if Woodward wanted a meeting he would place a flower pot with the red flag on the balcony of his apartment. On one occasion (25th February, 1973) the men met in a Washington bar.

As Bob Woodward, and Carl Bernstein explained in All the President's Men: "If Deep Throat wanted a meeting-which was rare-there was a different procedure. Each morning, Woodward would check page 20 of his New York Times, delivered to his apartment house before 7:00 am. If a meeting was requested, the page number would be circled and the hands of a clock indicating the time of the rendezvous would appear in a lower corner of the page."

According to Woodward's book, All the President's Men, he had at least fifteen conversations with Deep Throat while investigating the Watergate scandal. This included communications on 19th June (2 phone calls); 16th September, 1972 (phone call); 8th October, 1972 (phone call); 9th October, 1972 (garage meeting); 21st October, 1972 (garage meeting), 27th October, 1972 (garage meeting), late December, 1972 (undisclosed), 25th January, 1973 (garage meeting); 25th February, 1973 (meeting in bar); 16th April, 1973 (phone call); 16th May, 1973 (garage meeting) and a meeting during the first week of November, 1973.

In his book, Lost Honor, John Dean made a list of 30 possible candidates: White House Staff (Stephen Bull, Alexander P. Butterfield, Kenneth Clawson, Charles Colson, Leonard Garment, David Gergen, Alexander Haig, Richard Moore and Jonathan Rose); FBI (Thomas E. Bishop, Charles Bowles, Mark Felt, L. Patrick Gray and David Kinley), Justice Department (Carl Belcher, Richard Burke, John Keeney, Laurence McWhorter, Henry Peterson and Harold Shapiro); Secret Service (Lilburn Boggs, Charles Bretz, Roger Schwalm, Alfred Wong and Raymond Zumwalt).

In his memoirs, The Ends of Power, H. R. Haldeman, came to the conclusion that Deep Throat was John Dean's assistant, Fred F. Fielding. This view is supported by William Gaines, head of the Department of Journalism at the University of Illinois. As he points out "my students over 12 semesters poured over FBI reports, congressional testimony, White House documents in the National Archives and autobiographies of Watergate figures". Eventually, like Haldeman, they became convinced that Fielding was Deep Throat.

The authors of Silent Coup: The Removal of a President, claimed that the culprit was Alexander Haig, the man who replaced Haldeman as chief of staff in the Nixon administration. Jim Hougan (Secret Agenda) and John Dean (Lost Honor) also argued that Haig was probably Deep Throat. However, Haig was not in Washington during Woodward's meeting with Deep Throat on 9th October, 1972. The other problem with Haig concerns motivation. Was it really in his interests to bring down Richard Nixon? According to Leon Jaworski, Haig did everything he could, including lying about what was on the tapes, in order to protect Nixon from impeachment.

Mark Riebling, the author of Wedge: From Pearl Harbor to 9/11 points out that Bob Woodward described Deep Throat as having an aggregate of information flowing in and out of many stations" and "perhaps the only person in the government in a position to possibly understand the whole scheme, and not be a potential conspirator himself". Riebling goes on to argue that this indicates that Deep Throat was a senior official in the Central Intelligence Agency. He points out that Woodward virtually confirmed that his source was from the CIA: "As you know, I'm not going to discuss the identity of Deep Throat or any other of my confidential sources who are still alive. But let me just say that the suggestion that we were being used by the intelligence community was of concern to us at the time and afterward."

Riebling suggests three possible CIA suspects: William Colby, Cord Meyer and Richard Helms. He finally opts for Meyer arguing that like Deep Throat he was a chain-smoker and heavy drinker. Riebling also suggests that Meyer met Woodward while working as a Washington briefer in naval intelligence. The problem with this theory is that Meyer was transferred to London during the summer of 1973 and could not have made the meeting with Woodward in November of that year.

Deborah Davis, the author of Katharine the Great, also believes that Deep Throat was a senior official of the CIA. Her candidate is Richard Ober, the head of Operation Chaos. Ober was given an office in the White House and worked closely with Richard Nixon, H. R. Haldeman and John Ehrlichman during this period. Davis later told me that her source was a senior figure at the CIA (I had suggested to her that the source might have been Carl Bernstein).

Leonard Garment, Nixon's special counsel, later wrote the book, In Search of Deep Throat (2002). Garment came to the conclusion that Deep Throat was fellow presidential lawyer John Sears.

James Mann, a former colleague of Woodward's at the Washington Post, argued in an article in the Atlantic Monthly that was published in 1992 that Mark Felt was Deep Throat. This view was supported by Ronald Kessler (The Bureau: The Secret History of the FBI). Nora Ephron, the former wife of Carl Bernstein, has been claiming for several years that Felt was Deep Throat.

Bob Woodward promised Deep Throat that he would never reveal the man's position with the government, nor would he ever quote him, even anonymously, in his articles. Woodward also promised not to tell anyone else the identity of his source. Woodward did not keep these promises. He gave the name of Deep Throat to both Ben Bradlee and Carl Bernstein. He also quoted him in his book, All the President's Men.

The best way to identify Deep Throat is to take a close look at what he told Bob Woodward. The initial information suggested that his source was someone involved in the FBI investigation of the Watergate break-in. However, Jim Hougan (Secret Agenda) argues that Deep Throat was unlikely to have been a member of the agency. He points out that Deep Throat did not tell Woodward about the role played by Alfred Baldwin in the Watergate break-in. This was first revealed by a press conference held by the Democratic Party in September.

Hougan suggests that the only reason Deep Throat did not pass this important information to Woodward was that he did not know about it. If that is the case Deep Throat was not from the FBI (L. Patrick Gray or Mark Felt). Nor could he have been one of Nixon's aides who all knew about Baldwin's key role in the break-in (John Dean, H. R. Haldeman, John Ehrlichman, Charles Colson, John N. Mitchell, Jeb Magruder, Egil Krogh and Frederick LaRue).

Another clue to the identity of Deep Throat comes from Barry Sussman, Woodward's editor at Washington Post. In his book, The Great Cover-Up, Sussman claims that Woodward first made use of Deep Throat when writing about how Arthur Bremer attempted to kill George Wallace on 15th May, 1972. This suggests that his informant was working in a senior position in the FBI.

In April, 1982, John Dean met Bob Woodward at a conference being held at the University of Massachusetts. Although Woodward refused to identify Deep Throat it was possible for Dean to work out that he was someone working in the White House.

According to Woodward it was Deep Throat who first suggested that Alexander P. Butterfield could be an important figure in the investigation. In May, 1973, Woodward told a member of the Senate Watergate Committee (undoubtedly his friend, Scott Armstrong) that Butterfield should be interviewed.

On 25th June, 1973, John Dean testified that at a meeting with Richard Nixon on 15th April, the president had remarked that he had probably been foolish to have discussed his attempts to get clemency for E. Howard Hunt with Charles Colson. Dean concluded from this that Nixon's office might be bugged. On Friday, 13th July, Butterfield appeared before the committee and was asked about if he knew whether Nixon was recording meetings he was having in the White House. Butterfield reluctantly admitted details of the tape system which monitored Nixon's conversations.

In Lost Honor John Dean concludes that it was Deep Throat had told Woodward about Nixon's taping system that had been installed by Alexander P. Butterfield. This was the best-kept secret in the White House with only a few people knowing about its existence.

In the first week of November, 1973, Deep Throat told Woodward that there were "gaps" in Nixon's tapes. He hinted that these gaps were the result of deliberate erasures. On 8th November, Woodward and Bernstein published an article in the Washington Post that said that according to their source the "conservation on some of the tapes appears to have been erased". It was later claimed by Jim Hougan (Secret Agenda) and John Dean (Lost Honor) that only a very small group of people could have known about these gaps at this time. According to Fred Emery (Watergate: The Corruption and Fall of Richard Nixon), the only Richard Nixon, Rose Mary Woods, Alexander Haig and Stephen Bull knew about this erased tape before it was made public on 20th November.

In his book Deep Truth: The Lives of Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein (1993) Adrian Havill argues that Deep Throat was a dramatic devise used by Woodward. Havill visited the place where Woodward lived during the Watergate investigation. He discovered that the balcony where he placed the flower pot with a red flag faced an interior courtyard. Havill argues in his book that the only way Deep Throat could see the flag was "to walk into the center of the complex, with eighty units viewing you, crane your neck and look up to the sixth floor". Havill argues that Deep Throat would have been highly unlikely to have exposed himself if this way.

Nor was Havill impressed with the way Deep Throat communicated to Woodward when he wanted a meeting with the journalist. According to “All the President's Men” Deep Throat drew a clock on page 20 of his New York Times. Havill discovered that the papers were not delivered to each door, but left stacked and unmarked in a common reception area. Havill argues that there is no way Deep Throat could have known which paper Woodward would end up with each morning.

In May, 2005, John O'Connor, a lawyer working for Mark Felt, told Vanity Fair magazine that his client was Deep Throat. Shortly afterwards Bob Woodward confirmed that Felt had provided him with important information during the Watergate investigation. However, Carl Bernstein was quick to add that Felt was only one of several important sources.

However, there are serious problems with the idea that Mark Felt was Deep Throat. In his autobiography, The FBI Pyramid: Inside the FBI, Felt denied being Deep Throat and said he met with Woodward only once. Felt's last word on the subject came in 1999, on the 25th anniversary of Nixon's resignation, when he told a reporter that it would be "terrible" if someone in his position had been Deep Throat. "This would completely undermine the reputation that you might have as a loyal employee of the FBI," he said. "It just wouldn't fit at all."

Felt had not made the confession himself. In 2001 Felt suffered a stroke that robbed him of his memory. Before this happened Felt had told his daughter Joan that he was Deep Throat. She admits that the family have gone public in an attempt to obtain money. Joan Felt told journalists: "My son Nick is in law school and he'll owe $100,000 by the time he graduates. I am still a single mom, still supporting them (her children) to one degree or another."

Vanity Fair only paid the Felt family $10,000 (£5,500) but the whole project is linked to a $1m book deal. It is rumoured the book will be written by Bob Woodward. However, on 4th June, 2005, the publisher Judith Regan (HarperCollins) revealed that negotiations over a possible book deal had collapsed because of serious concerns that Felt was no longer of sound mind.

There are several major problems with Mark Felt being Deep Throat. Felt resigned from the FBI in June, 1973 and no longer had to worry about his career. Why did he not come forward with his information at this stage of the Watergate investigation? He would have been seen as a national hero and would no doubt have made a fortune from his memoirs.

In November, 1980, Felt was convicted of conspiring to violate the constitutional rights of Americans by authorising illegal break-ins and wire taps of people connected to suspected domestic bombers. Why did Felt not attempt to rebuild his public image by disclosing that he was Deep Throat?

If Felt had been Deep Throat why did he not tell Woodward about the role played by Alfred Baldwin in the Watergate break-in? The FBI knew about this within days of the break-in. Yet Woodward did not mention it in his articles until the story was revealed by a press conference held by the Democratic Party in September, 1972.

According to Woodward it was Deep Throat who first suggested that Alexander P. Butterfield could be an important figure in the investigation. In May, 1973, Woodward told a member of the Senate Watergate Committee that Butterfield should be interviewed. On Friday, 13th July, Butterfield appeared before the committee and was asked about if he knew whether Richard Nixon was recording meetings he was having in the White House. This was the best-kept secret in the White House with only a few people knowing about its existence. How could Felt have known about this system?

Felt left the FBI in June 1973. Yet according to “All the President's Men” Woodward continued to meet Deep Throat after this date. The most important of these meetings took place in the first week of November, 1973. At this meeting Deep Throat told Woodward that there were "gaps" in Nixon's tapes. He hinted that these gaps were the result of deliberate erasures. On 8th November, Woodward and Bernstein published an article in the Washington Post that said that according to their source the "conversation on some of the tapes appears to have been erased". It has been claimed by several writers that only a very small group of people could have known about these gaps at this time. How could Felt had known about this?

Maybe he did have meetings with Woodward in underground garages. However, if Felt was Deep Throat, he was getting information from someone working in the White House. He also had to get information from someone senior in the CIA. The most sensible explanation is that Deep Throat was more than one man. That is he represented several of Woodward's sources. If that is the case, I think Deep Throat was Mark Felt, William Sullivan, Richard Ober and Stephen Bull.

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Very perceptive, John.

Great post!

Nixon certainly had some powerful enemies, particularly at the CIA.

And Felt had his own personal reasons to want to "get Nixon".

And it is possible (although I know that Pat disagrees) that the break-in was motivated by reasons unrelated to Nixon's re-election.

Of course, it is possible had Nixon played things straight he could have emerged relatively unscathed. Then again his Plumbers unit had already committed unlawful acts unrelated to the Watergate burglary.

John, I am curious re your opinion whether McCord just had a mental lapse when he placed the tape horizontally rather than vertically.

Edited by Tim Gratz

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John, I am curious re your opinion whether McCord just had a mental lapse when he placed the tape horizontally rather than vertically.

When I get back from France next week I intend to write a detailed account of all the amazing mistakes that McCord, Liddy and Hunt made. They were either all incredibly incompetent or something else was going on. A look at their previous history suggests that both Hunt and McCord were experienced covert operators. I am therefore of the opinion that some, if not all of these mistakes, were made on purpose. If that is the case, the Watergate break-in was not about bugging Larry O’Brien’s phone (in fact, O’Brien did not use the phone in the office that was broken into) or photographing documents. It was about setting up Nixon. Not that they wanted to remove him from power. I suspect they were after a big pay day. What the conspirators did not know was that the CIA had their own agenda. They were able to make use of Richard Ober, William Sullivan and Stephen Bull to get rid of Nixon. Not because people like Helms was a supporter of the Democratic Party. It was just an issue of power. Nixon, like Kennedy, attempted to undermine the power of the CIA. At least the CIA allowed Nixon to die of natural causes. However, I suspect, given the choice, Kennedy preferred the way he was dealt with.

My take on Deep Throat will be published in the next edition of Lobster Magazine. Apparently it will be used side by side with the views of Jim Hougan, P. D. Scott and Edward Epstein.

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John, thank you for the quick response.

I think I am down the line with you on this, with the possible exception of the gratuitous comment on JFK. Although it is certainly true that history treats JFK better as a martyr than it would have treated him had he been removed from office as Nixon was (and as discussed in other threads, that was a possibility).

I think McCord was a very smooth operator. It is therefore very difficult to accept that his placement of the tape was unintentional.

Have you read "Silent Coup"? As I suggested in another thread, you can, I believe, read the entire book on-line.

I am looking forward to your subsequent posts on this issue. That edition of "Lobster" should be extremely interesting. It will be interesting to read Hougan and Epstein's views as well.

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I think McCord was a very smooth operator.  It is therefore very difficult to accept that his placement of the tape was unintentional.

Have you read "Silent Coup"? 

That was just one of many mistakes.

Yes I have read Silent Coup. Jim Hougan's Secret Agenda is also very good (it inspired the authors of Silent Coup). However, I do not go along with everything they say. I also don't think they have the complete story.

I also think that Nixon was a far bigger crook than JFK. He might have been unlucky with Watergate but he had committed far greater crimes than that. He began the trend of corrupt Republican presidents that has currently given as George Bush. How those great Republicans who attempted to bring an end to slavery during the Civil War must be turning in their graves. I think the Radical Republicans group that emerged during this period was the greatest collection of politicians that America has produced. The only real comparison is with the Civil Rights activists of the 1950s and 1960s. Did you know that Mark Lane was a "Freedom Rider"?

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John wrote:

I think the Radical Republicans group that emerged during this period was the greatest collection of politicians that America has produced.

Agree with you completely and wholeheartedly, John! I have great respect for the Republicans who led the movement to abolish the moral evil that slavery was.

Did not know that Lane was a Freedom Rider.

The civil rights activists who risked their lives in the early sixties were heroes. The entire south in the US is better for their efforts.

I also liked "Secret Agenda"; Hougan is a great investigative reporter. I also think you are right that neither book has the complete story on Watergate but both books certainly demonstrate that there was more to Watergate than the story told by Woodward and Bernstein.

Edited by Tim Gratz

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Have either of you read McCord's "A Piece of Tape?" I found it 100 times more credible than either Secret Agenda or Silent Coup. The man was pissed off at Nixon for trying to use the CIA to call off the investigation. He was very protective of his fellow spooks. He decided to play along until after the trial, not because he was hoping to get off, but because he was hoping the Federal investigators would reveal their own corruption. He says outright the prosecutors were doing favors for the White House, and trying to make the whole thing disappear. On the back of the book several other books proposed by McCord are listed; the man wanted to write a whole series of books exposing corruption in government. It was probably this facet of him that led him to use Fensterwald as his attorney, although I'm sure Weberman has his own ideas on this. In short, I believe McCord was the real deal--a pissed off American out for blood. And, oh yes, he explains his screw-up with the tape. It was just that...a screw up.

Not every angry spook has a secret agenda.

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David Obst, Woodward’s literary agent in the 1970s, has given an interview to the journalist Sharon Churcher. Obst attempted to sell the manuscript of All the President’s Men. He pointed out that Deep Throat did not figure in the early manuscript of All the President’s Men. Nor did he appear in any of the Watergate reports in the Washington Post. Obst admits that the manuscript was originally a straightforward political analysis of Watergate that was turned down by seven publishers. Deep Throat was only added to the manuscript after Woodward met the screenwriter William Goldman at a party. It was then accepted by Simon & Schuster. It also became part of a film deal with a script written by Goldman. Obst claims that the character of Deep Throat was inserted in order to get a film deal and a contract with Simon & Schuster.

The identification of Felt as Deep Throat is part of a new Woodward book deal. Woodward’s new book on Deep Throat, The Secret Man, is due out next month. What a coincidence?

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What an interesting post, John! I am sure "Woodstein" had numerous sources but your post suggests the Deep Throat character was created to add mystery and intrigue to help sell the book and later movie. If so, it worked!

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Jim Hougan, email (31st May, 2005)

In the last couple of hours I've gotten half-a-dozen emails, and a couple of phone-calls, about Mark Felt's belated declaration (in the upcoming Vanity Fair) to the effect that he's Deep Throat. I've just done an interview with Fox (James Rosen/Britt Hume), and it looks like this is the story de jour.

That said, it's possible, maybe even likely, that you have no absolutely interest in Wategate. If so, put this down as parapolitical spam, and stop reading.

Anyway, here's my take on Felt's declaration:

1. He was badgered into it by family and friends. Felt is 91 years old, and counting. A reporter who recently interviewed him found the interview an incoherent waste of time, and killed his own story.

2. Felt has always denied that he was Deep Throat until, as we're told, members of his family recently pointed out to him there might be a buck in it, and that his children and grandchildren have bills to pay. (And there is a buck in it: Bob Loomis told me, 20 years ago, that Throat could probably get a $4-million advance from Random House for his life-story.)

3. Felt wrote a book about his career in the FBI. In it, he goes out of the way to say that he met Woodward on a single occasion. This was in Felt's FBI office, and the upshot of it was that Felt told Woodward that he would not cooperate with him in his pursuit of "Watergate."

4. After a careful study of Throat's relationship to the Washington Post and to the White House, first in Secret Agenda and subsequently while working with Len Garment, it became clear that no one in or around the Nixon White Hoouse was in a position to know all of the things that Throat is alleged to have told Woodward. For example, Felt had no way of knowing about the 18-and-a-half minute gap in Rosemary Woods' tape. This strongly suggests that Throat was a composite.

5. Just as importantly, if Felt was Throat, he betrayed the people for whom he was a source. This is so because the biggest story that anyone could have broken in the Summer of 1972 was Alfred Baldwin's decision to come forward and tell what he knew. An employee of James McCord's, Baldwin told the U.S. Attorney's office and the FBI that he had monitored some 250 telephone conversations from "the Listening Post," his room in the Howard Johnson's motel across the street from the Watergate. The significance of this information was that the public and the press believed that the Watergate break-in was a failure, and that the burglars were arrested before they could succeed in placing their bugs. Because of that, the public believed, no telephone calls were ever intercepted. Baldwin gave the lie to that, and Felt knew it. For him to have withheld that information from the Washington Post would not only have been a betrayal - it would not have made sense if Felt's alleged intention (as Throat) was to keep the story alive. (The Baldwin story was eventually broken in the Fall of 1972 by the Los Angeles Times.)

6. What we have here, then, is the sad spectacle of an old man being manipulated.

For the record, it seems to me that if anyone proposes to identify Deep Throat, or to identify the lead singer in the choir of sources subsumed by the identity of Throat, they must meet a very basic criterion. That is, they must demonstarate, at a minimum, that their candidate met repeatedly and secretly with Bob Woodward. (Throat is obviously Woodward's creation. I don't think Bernstein would know him from a bale of hay.)

The only person who meets that criterion, to my knowledge, is Robert Bennett. Now one of the most powerful men in the U.S. Senate, Bennett was President of the Robert R. Mullen Company in 1972-3. This was the CIA front for which Howard Hunt worked. (It was also the Washington representative of the Howard Hughes organization.) As I reported in Secret Agenda, Bennett's CIA case officer, Martin Lukoskie, drafted a memo to his boss, Eric Eisenstadt, reporting on his monthly debriefing of Bennett after the Watergate arrests. According to Eisenstadt, Bennett told him that he, Bennett, had "made a backdoor entry to the Washington Post through Edward Bennett Williams' office," and that he, Bennett, was feeding stories to Bob Woodward, who was "suitably grateful." (Williams was the Post's attorney, and attorney, also, for the Democratic National Committee.)

Woodward's gratefulness was manifest in the way he kept the CIA, in general, and the Robert R. Mullen Company, in particular, out of his stories. (I obtained the Lukoskie memo under the Freedom of Information Act. Eric Eisenstadt's reaction to that memo, which I also obtained under FOIA, was considered so secret that it was delivered by hand to then - CIA Director Richard Helms.

What bothers me the most about all this, and what inspires me to write this unforgiveably long email to so many about something so few care about, is the gullibility of "the press" - by which I mean Talking Heads like Jeffrey Toobin - who have bought Felt's story hook, line and sinker.

That Woodward and Bernstein have taken a no-comment stance toward Felt's story is interesting and probably predictable. On the one hand, if I'm right about Bennett being Throat, they have a serious problem where their source is concerned - not just that he was a composite, but that their relationship to him was predicated on a quid pro quo concealing the CIA's involvement in the Watergate story.

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John, I am curious re your opinion whether McCord just had a mental lapse when he placed the tape horizontally rather than vertically.

__________________--

I know you are not asking my opinion about McCord, but I am responding just the same. I do not think it is conceivable that McCord was doing anything except TRYING to get them caught.

After being caught with the tape horizontally placed Barker wanted to abort the breakin, but McCord made the decision to re do the tape and go back in. And again he placed the tape horizontally, I believe, ENSURING, that they be caugth.

One has to wonder why??

But a "mental lapse" does not eplain this action.

Dawn

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I don't buy the Felt alone is DT.

Just does not add up.

He could not have known certain things.

Of course Felt is in no shape to tell us his whole story is he?

Dawn

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Information from Deep Throat to Bob Woodward came out very gradually. For some reason, he wanted Woodward to work out what was happening for himself. Woodward accused Deep Throat of playing games with him. All this changed in a meeting that took place on 16th May. Soon afterwards Woodward sent Ben Bradlee a memo where he outlined the whole Watergate Scandal.

Why did Deep Throat change his tactics on 16th May? I think the best answer to this involves the CIA. During the Watergate Scandal Nixon became concerned about the activities of the CIA. Three of those involved in the burglary, E. Howard Hunt, Eugenio Martinez and James W. McCord had all worked for the organixation. As a result Nixon and his aides attempted to force the CIA director, Richard Helms, and his deputy, Vernon Walters, to pay hush-money to Hunt, who was attempting to blackmail the government. Although it seemed Walters was willing to do this, Helms refused. In February, 1973, Nixon sacked Helms. His deputy, Thomas H. Karamessines, resigned in protest.

James Schlesinger now became the new director of the CIA. Schlesinger was heard to say: “The clandestine service was Helms’s Praetorian Guard. It had too much influence in the Agency and was too powerful within the government. I am going to cut it down to size.” This he did and over the next three months over 7 per cent of CIA officers lost their jobs.

On 9th May, 1973, Schlesinger issued a directive to all CIA employees on 9th May, 1973. “I have ordered all senior operating officials of this Agency to report to me immediately on any activities now going on, or might have gone on in the past, which might be considered to be outside the legislative charter of this Agency. I hereby direct every person presently employed by CIA to report to me on any such activities of which he has knowledge. I invite all ex-employees to do the same. Anyone who has such information should call my secretary and say that he wishes to talk to me about “activities outside the CIA’s charter”.

There were several employees who had been trying to complain about the illegal CIA activities for some time. As Cord Meyer pointed out, this directive “was a hunting license for the resentful subordinate to dig back into the records of the past in order to come up with evidence that might destroy the career of a superior whom he long hated.”

I believed it was this Schlesinger directive that resulted in the CIA bringing down Nixon. On 16th May, 1973, Deep Throat has an important meeting with Woodward where he provides information that was to destroy Nixon. This includes the comment that the Senate Watergate Committee should consider interviewing Alexander P. Butterfield. Soon afterwards Woodward told a staff member of the committee (undoubtedly his friend, Scott Armstrong) that Butterfield should be asked to testify before Sam Ervin.

On Friday, 13th July, Butterfield appeared before the committee and was asked about if he knew whether Nixon was recording meetings he was having in the White House. Butterfield reluctantly admitted details of the tape system which monitored Nixon's conversations. This was the information that was to bring down Nixon.

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