Comments Posted By John B. Barrett
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W. Mark Felt is a great American hero. Prior to J. Edgar Hoover's death, Nixon had unsuccessfully tried to use the FBI as his personal political police. From the formation of the FBI, only two Presidents, Nixon and Kennedy, had tried to use the FBI in this manner. Mr. Hoover stopped Kennedy and, until his death, stopped Nixon. (A fact acknowledged by Jack Anderson, who was, perhaps, Mr. Hoover's greatest detractor.)

After Mr. Hoover died, Nixon named L. Patrick Grey as Director of the FBI. Grey was a political hack who would do Nixon's bidding. Mark Felt as the No. 2 man in the FBI and the top career FBI man, was loyal to Mr. Hoover's legacy and to the FBI. However, unlike Mr. Hoover, Mark Felt did not have the position, popularity or political power to just tell Nixon "no." Nixon controlled the Justice Department and, thus, presentations to grand juries. Further, at least one FBI official had been transferred out of the Washington, D.C. office when he tried to go through “proper channels” in protesting the administration’s interference in the Watergate investigation. Lacking other means, Mark Felt simply did what he had to do to keep Nixon from misusing the FBI.

Pat Buchanan's comments have been way off base. He has to have known that this was a fight between Nixon, who was intent on using the FBI for political gain, and Mr. Hoover and Mark Felt, who were intent on stopping him. It is sophistry to suggest that Felt only went to Woodward out of spite for not being chosen as Mr. Hoover's successor.

Comments about Felt authorizing wiretaps of "Vietnam War protestors" are also way off base. They are also offensive. The wiretaps were on members of the Weather Underground. The Weather Underground was a terrorist off-shoot of the SDS, which bombed buildings and killed people. The political and legal environment made it very difficult to track and infiltrate such groups, and it had been only a few years since wiretaps did not require a court order. My uncle was an FBI agent in Soviet Counter-Intelligence at that time, and my father, as a ex-agent, received materials from the FBI and the Society of Former Special Agents of the FBI, which I read. I can tell you that the Weather Underground also had strong Soviet ties and a commitment to overthrow the United States Government.

Some may disagree with Mark Felt's tactics, but it is wrong to impugn his motives in the wiretaps. I would also suggest that what Felt did was absolutely necessary to protect the country from more terrorist bombings. I would also note that the convictions were on appeal when President Reagan pardoned him. There is some doubt as to whether the convictions would have been upheld.

Mark Felt's book is very enlightening in this matter. In addition, as noted, I am from an FBI family. My father is an ex-agent and my uncle was an agent in Washington, D.C. at the time all of this occurred.

Comment Posted By John B. Barrett On 1.06.2005 @ 22:48

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