Other campuses: Deep Throat’s our hero

By Eric Naing

(U-WIRE) TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – The greatest detective story in recent American history has just written its final chapter.

Last week, W. Mark Felt outed himself as Deep Throat, the secret source that helped Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein bring down the corruption of the Nixon administration.

The longtime FBI gumshoe and number two man during the Watergate era confessed in a Vanity Fair article titled “I’m the guy they called ‘Deep Throat.'”

Felt makes sense as the actor behind the infamous character of Deep Throat. He had both the connections and the access to provide the information that the Washington Post reporters needed so desperately.

With Felt’s admission, the last major question of Watergate has been answered. No longer will the public and pundits alike be forced to wait until Deep Throat’s death to learn of his identity – the original pact that Woodward held with Felt. The sordid saga of a demented lust for power is now at an end.

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    But why did Felt choose to come forward as the shadowy informant? As an official in the upper echelon of the FBI during the last days of J. Edgar Hoover, he probably assumed that he would be Hoover’s successor. When he was passed over in favor of a Nixon loyalist, that surely engendered some sort of dislike – be it active or just subconsciously. So Felt could have embraced the cloak and dagger of Deep Throat merely in spite.

    However, there’s enough evidence to suggest his motivations were of a higher nature. When confronted with an administration abusing power at every turn and with Justice Department and FBI officials actively engaged in that abuse, it seems that Felt took the route of last recourse. He didn’t publicly announce his knowledge to the world, and he didn’t tip his entire hand to Woodward and Bernstein. He told them just enough to keep them on the right track – just enough to make sure the story got into the public discourse.

    Journalists have long held that Deep Throat was a hero. Without him, the greatest investigative story of all time would have been more difficult, if not impossible, to put together. While Felt is not without his flaws, namely his illegal leaking of grand jury testimony and his suspect motives, he should be held in that same regard by the rest of the country.

    Despite everything else, when the country was in its darkest hour and in a time of need, one man – W. Mark Felt – stood up to the rampant abuses of power and corruption he saw all around him.

    And that makes him a hero.

    Staff Editorial

    The Crimson White (U. Alabama)