"There are only two ways of telling the complete truth—anonymously and posthumously."Thomas Sowell

Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Felt Wore Two Hats

Eight minutes ago, the Washington Post confirmed the Vanity Fair assertion that the source (known as Deep Throat) who made his Watergate mark felt was W. Mark Felt, number two guy at the FBI.

Was it public-spiritedness that moved him? Or mean-spirited resentment at being passed over when J. Edgar Hoover's replacement was sought? Was he a man of conscience, a Deep man? Or a man of appetites, a Throat man?


Tlaloc said...

Why are his motivations important? The information he brought us was accurate and vitally important. That's the measure of his commitment to public service.

James Elliott said...

I agree, Tlaloc. But, the post indicates a difficulty with the ideologically zealous, be they Right or Left: Instead of looking at facts, they will look at what they prescribe to be the motivations of the person providing the facts. If those motivations are not pure by their ideological standards, all of their information is suspect. I submit exhibit A, the abuse at Guantanamo (They're all terr'rists who hates Amer'cans! They must be lying!).

And, of course, attacking the messenger is also a convenient way of diluting the message.

Tlaloc said...

Don't get me wrong, considering the motivation of a source can be valuable when trying to decide how trustworthy they are, but once their information is proven to be true it's pretty useless to ask why they said it.

Anonymous said...

I have heard doubts on this evening's news-talk show that the information given by Deep Throat was accurate or important. Given the source's position, his leaks were certainly illegal. That makes his motive important.

Tlaloc said...

"I have heard doubts on this evening's news-talk show that the information given by Deep Throat was accurate or important."

Where do they get that? Watergate is pretty well established as really having happened.

"Given the source's position, his leaks were certainly illegal."

Actually I doubt it. Revealing a criminal act can hardly be a breach of privacy or presidential privelege because criminal acts are not an allowed governmental action in the first place.

Jay D. Homnick said...

I agree with Tlaloc. Legality becomes irrelevant in this sort of situation.

The question only is: could this have been handled through regular law enforcement channels to achieve the just result?

I think that if Mr. Felt believed those systems to have been too deeply corrupted to be reliable, he was certainly morally (and legally) justified in doing 'whatever works'.