Deep Throat

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tags: Watergate

Articles and Excerpts on HNN

  • Timothy Noah: Deep Throat was not a good man. It didn't matter
  • Greg Mitchell: The Other Side of 'Deep Throat': He Bugged My Friends!
  • W. Mark Felt, Deep Throat of Watergate, Dies at 95
  • Deep Throat and the FBI's History of Hiding Its Own Leaks Athan Theoharis
  • How Deep Throat Fooled the FBI David Corn & Jeff Goldberg
  • Don't Follow the Money/Deep Throat Frank Rich
  • Deep Throat: Why Did He Do It? Athan Theoharis
  • What Nixon Said About Mark Felt Audio from the Miller Center
  • Deep Throat Revealed: Historians' Comments Bonnie Goodman
  • Maybe Now the Watergate Conspiracy Theories Will Finally Go Away David Greeenberg
  • Here We Go Again: Deep Throat Revealed? Joan Hoff
  • Forget Al Haig, David Gergen, L. Patrick Gray, Fred Fielding, Bush 41 ... Deep Throat Was W. Mark Felt Rick Shenkman
  • HNN's Watergate Scrapbook

  • News Stories

    Deep Throat/Bob Woodward: First, Vanity Fair scooped the Washington Post with the article exposing the identity of Deep Throat. Then USA Today's Mark Memmott scooped the Post with his summary of Bob Woodward's book. Then Woodward gave Tom Brokaw -- not the Post -- the address of the garage where he met with Mark Felt. Woodward doesn't seem to care that his colleagues have had to play catch-up. He says to Erik Wemple: “What was the problem -- some people were late for dinner?"

    Deep Throat: Tom Brokaw's interview with Bob Woodward for the NBC special about Deep Throat.

    Deep Throat/William Gaines: William Gaines, the journalism professor whose class wrongly fingered Deep Throat (first, Patrick Buchanan, then Fred Fielding), says that there were discrepencies in Woodstein's accounts that misled them: 1. Mark Felt was said to have smoked a cigarette in Woodward's presence, even though he gave up smoking decades earlier. 2. Deep Throat provided authoritative information gleaned from listening to Nixon’s secret recordings during a meeting in November 1973. That was several months after Felt left the FBI. And to complicate things still more, no one from the FBI had been at the meeting where the recordings were played. According to Gaines, that means Felt could only have learned about the contents of the recordings at third hand, at best. Felt was, as Gaines put it in an e-mail note, “"so far removed that his comments to Woodward would have to be considered hearsay, and not the kind of thing a reporter could write for fact by quoting an anonymous source.”

    Bob Woodward: The Washington Post, somewhat awkwardly, uses Bob Woodward's memoir of his relationship with Deep Throat to profile Woodward himself -- and explain what the book tells about this most-reticient of reporters: "To read The Secret Man, -- along with All the President's Men, Woodward and Bernstein's mesmerizing 1974 book on their Watergate reporting -- is to notice that Woodward wasn't afraid to challenge Felt's rules. He telephoned Felt when he really needed to. And during his very first visit to the underground garage, at a point where his source had suddenly stopped talking, the reporter 'grabbed his arm and said we were playing a degrading chickenshit game pretending that he was not passing original, new information to me.'"

    Deep Throat/Woodward Book: What Woodward reveals about Deep Throat in Secret Man: One tidbit ... Mark Felt did smoke during their clandestine meetings, possibly out of nervousness. Bob Woodward's The Secret Ma isn't due out until next Wednesday, but a USA Today reporter bought it Thursday at a store in Fairfax County, VA., that had mistakenly put copies out for sale. Mark Memmott writes: "Woodward suspected at the time of his reporting on Watergate that someone from the Post was leaking information about his sources to the White House. It was never discovered who the leaker might have been, but the information led the White House close to identifying Felt as one of Woodward's sources."

    Deep Throat/Secret Almost Given Away in 1976: The identity of Deep Throat, the Washington Post's key Watergate source, was almost revealed nearly three decades ago, according to Bob Woodward's new book on his relationship with W. Mark Felt. In The Secret Man, to be published next week by Simon & Schuster, Woodward -- now a Post assistant managing editor -- writes that he learned in 1976 from then-assistant attorney general Stanley Pottinger that Felt, who had been the No. 2 man at the FBI, had given himself away while testifying before a grand jury. Asked,"Were you Deep Throat?" Felt initially said, "No," but his stunned look alerted Pottinger to the probability that he was lying. In that grand jury proceeding, Woodward writes, Pottinger quietly reminded Felt that he was under oath. He then offered to withdraw the question as irrelevant to the subject of investigation, which was illegal break-ins conducted by the FBI in pursuit of antiwar radicals from the Weather Underground. Felt quickly accepted the offer. Pottinger told Woodward, who didn't confirm his conclusion, that he would keep his knowledge to himself. "To his eternal credit," Woodward writes, he did just that.

    FBI Memos Detail Mark Felt's Involvement in Efforts to Identify Secret Watergate Source: The senior FBI official now revealed as "Deep Throat" -- the Watergate source for Washington Post reporter Bob Woodward -- ordered his subordinates to "forcibly remind all agents of the need to be most circumspect in talking about this case with anyone outside the Bureau" according to declassified FBI documents posted today by the National Security Archive at George Washington University. Many of these documents -- which were declassified in 1980 -- have been cited in recent articles in The Nation and the Washington Post.

    Deep Throat/The Complicated Mr. Felt: A review of tens of thousands of pages of declassified White House and FBI documents, and interviews with more than two dozen people who had dealings with Mark W. Felt, reveal an exceptionally complicated personality, according to a new analysis by the Washington Post. It is impossible to disentangle Felt's sense of outrage over what was happening to the country from his own desire to scramble to the top of "the FBI Pyramid," a phrase he later used as the title of a little-noticed autobiography.

    The Deep Throat Collective: Rex Smith, editor of the Albany Times-Union, claims his paper had reported last week that Deep Throat was more than one person -- that it was a group of FBI officials doing the leaking: "The day after retired FBI official W. Mark Felt revealed that he had been the secret source who tipped the Washington Post to White House intrigue during Watergate, Harry Rosenfeld came into my office and, uncharacteristically, closed the door. Rosenfeld, as most of you know, was editor of the Times-Union for many years, and before that headed the local news staff of the Washington Post, where his reporters produced the groundbreaking Watergate coverage. Rosenfeld related that a retired FBI official had called him to say there was more to the story of Deep Throat: Felt, according to the ex-agent, hadn't been a rogue leaker, but rather part of a group of senior FBI officials who carefully chose what to pass along to the press. They were fighting to prevent the White House from squelching the FBI's Watergate probe, believing that if citizens got the facts, the Nixon inner guard wouldn't be able to cover up the truth."

    How Felt Fooled FBI: The recent revelations about W. Mark Felt's identity as the Deep Throat informant of Watgergate fame have been dramatic and widely reported. But Felt's role as the most famous anonymous source in U.S. history was even more complex than the newly revised public account suggests. According to originally confidential FBI documents -- some written by Felt -- that were obtained by The Nation from the FBI's archives, Felt was at one time in charge of finding the source of Woodward and Bernstein's Watergate scoops. In a twist worthy of le Carré, Deep Throat was assigned the mission of unearthing -- and stopping -- Deep Throat.

    Deep Throat/Watergate: In a column in the Observer, writer Ron Rosenbaum says journalists should have invested their time in figuring out who ordered the break-in rather than who Deep Throat was. He lauds historian Stanley Kutler for providing tape transcripts that point to Nixon's having ordered the break-in. "In this tape, Nixon starts off giving what will be his public line, the lie he will stick to; that he was shocked that burglars would choose to break into the Democratic National Committee headquarters, because political sophisticates know that party headquarters aren’t where the juicy stuff is to be found. 'My God, the committee isn’t worth bugging, in my opinion,' he tells Haldeman. But I didn’t give you Nixon’s full quote to Haldeman: 'My God, the committee isn’t worth bugging, in my opinion.' And then he says (and this is the phrase I singled out in my 1999 column): 'That’s my public line.' 'That’s my public line'! He had to lie to cover up the fact that he knew exactly why some burglars broke into where they did. As Mr. [David] Greenberg put it in his Times op-ed on July 29, 2003: '[A]s the journalist Ron Rosenbaum has noted, the wording ["public line"] implies that he had some private suspicion to the contrary.' (To say the least.)"

    Deep Throat/George McGovern: "We need someone like that who is highly placed to tell us what's really going on. We know that we were misled on Iraq," McGovern told Fox News Radio. "This war in Iraq, in my opinion is worse than anything Nixon did. I think Nixon deserved to be expelled from office in view of the cover-up that he carried on and the laws that he violated."

    Deep Throat/Woodward & Bernstein Back Together Again: The writer Murray Kempton once called them the Tom and Huck of American journalism, and their surnames became a single, swashbuckling compound noun: Woodstein. Now Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein are together again, joined in a visibly affectionate, sometimes awkward embrace by the disclosure of Deep Throat's identity. "One was colorful and flamboyant, and the other one thought that was absolutely fine," said Robert Redford, who helped produce the film of All the President's Men, in which he played Mr. Woodward." Bob was quite comfortable with Carl being the more colorful, because that helped him do what he did best, which was to have a killer instinct masked by a very cool, Presbyterian presence. I used to tell him, 'I'm having trouble getting a handle on you; you're kind of dull.' And he said, 'No, I really am.'"

    Deep Throat/Did Bernstein's Son Tell a Friend: Carl Bernstein's son famously told a friend at summer camp that his mother told him that Mark Felt was Deep Throat. His mother was Nora Ephron. Both she and Bernstein say she never had the inside scoop: "I knew that Deep Throat was Mark Felt because I figured it out. Carl Bernstein, to whom I was married for a brief time, certainly would never have told me; he was far too intelligent to tell me a secret like that. He refused to tell his children too, who are also my children, so I told them, and they told others, and even so, years passed and no one really listened to any of us."

    Watergate/Grandsons of Nixon & Felt Are Friends: Nicholas T. Jones and Jarett A. Nixon, law school classmates here, have exchanged tales about Costa Rica, where Mr. Nixon was born and Mr. Jones enjoyed traveling. They have practiced speaking Spanish together, and at one point last year, Mr. Nixon, 28, tried to recruit Mr. Jones, 23, to work on a law journal at the school, the Hastings College of the Law. "He's a good guy," Mr. Nixon said of Mr. Jones. "We've had a friendly relationship." What neither man knew until the identity of Deep Throat was revealed this week, however, was that they come from opposite sides of one of the most profound divides in modern American political history. Mr. Nixon's great-uncle, whom he recalls fondly as Uncle Dick, was President Richard M. Nixon, a relationship he had never shared with Mr. Jones. His grandfather, Donald Nixon, was the president's brother.

    Watergate/Unsolved Mysteries: WITH the unmasking of Deep Throat, one of the twentieth century's biggest political mysteries has been solved. But other riddles about Watergate linger. Did Nixon order the Watergate break-in? What was the purpose of the break-in? What was lost in the 18 1/2-minute gap in the White House tapes? Who erased the tape? Why didn't Nixon destroy the tapes?

    Deep Throat/Mark Felt's Past in WW II Espionage: W. Mark Felt, whose cloak-and-dagger methods contributed to his mystique as Deep Throat, learned the black arts of spying during World War II when, as a young FBI agent, he ran a case, code-named Peasant, in which he used a compromised German agent to feed the Third Reich false information. Mr. Felt drew on his espionage experience in 1972 when he insisted that the Washington Post reporter Bob Woodward take circuitous routes to their clandestine meetings in an underground parking garage and use elaborate communications signals that were recounted by Mr. Woodward and Carl Bernstein in their book All the President's Men.

    Deep Throat/Hero or Traitor?: W. Mark Felt's disclosure that he was Deep Throat has sparked a debate about whether he should be praised as a hero for leaking information to the Washington Post or condemned as a traitor for going outside the legal system. His family has sought to portray him as a hero, and by prodding him to disclose his identity as a secret source for the Post in the Watergate scandal, has taken steps to shape his legacy in a positive light. But Mr. Felt's role as a newspaper informer raises questions about the obligations of officials at institutions like the FBI. Should those obligations be defined as adhering to the regulations of the bureau and the laws about releasing secret information? Or is there a higher calling when law enforcement officials think that they are being obstructed at the highest levels of government?

    Deep Throat/Historical Significance: Deep Throat's significance has surely been inflated by journalists, who have been entranced by a story that matters more to them than to history. Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein had scores of sources for their Watergate reporting, and while Deep Throat -- or, as we should now say, W. Mark Felt, the former deputy associate director of the FBI -- was an important one, he did not single-handedly expose Richard Nixon's "White House horrors." Deep Throat's mythic role in the public imagination, however, remains strong.

    Deep Throat/Role of the FBI: The revelation that a senior FBI official was the secret Watergate source known as Deep Throat has rekindled a controversy about the role of the government bureaucracy in bringing down President Richard M. Nixon. Most accounts of the unraveling of the Watergate conspiracy have focused on the very public efforts of journalists, the special prosecutor and Congress in documenting the abuses of power that led to Nixon's resignation on August 8, 1974. The bureaucratic battles within the administration between Nixon loyalists and opponents have drawn much less attention from historians -- for the simple reason that they took place in secret, far from the public gaze. As the historical record becomes more complete, some Watergate experts are bracing for a new wave of revisionist histories examining the complex, mutually beneficial relationship between reporters chasing the biggest political story in modern American history and their frequently anonymous sources.

    Deep Throat/Nixon's Praise for Felt: In a strange footnote to history, Richard M. Nixon unwittingly testified on behalf of Deep Throat in a federal court trial in October 1980 -- six years after Nixon was forced to resign as president because of his involvement in the Watergate scandal. Six years after Nixon was driven from office, Felt and Edward S. Miller, formerly head of the FBI's domestic intelligence division, were charged with illegally authorizing government agents in 1972 and 1973 to break into homes without warrants in search of anti-Vietnam War bombing suspects from the radical Weather Underground organization. Nixon, then a private citizen, testified that he believed that at the time the FBI director and his deputies had direct authorization from the president to order break-ins in the interest of national security. Felt was subsequently convicted and fined $5,000. But five months later, President Ronald Reagan pardoned Felt on the grounds that he had"acted on high principle" to bring an end to the terrorism threatening the nation.

    Deep Throat/Marketing the Story: Major publishing houses -- HarperCollins, Random House and Little, Brown among them -- fielded calls from David Kuhn, a media agent representing Mark Felt's family and his attorney, in New York yesterday. They may have listened with skepticism, or excitement, or a mixture of both, but many signed up for meetings later this week. The family is also reportedly interested in television and film projects."If you asked me two days ago how much you'd pay for Deep Throat's memoir, I'd say the sky's the limit," said David Hirshey, senior vice president at HarperCollins."Now that the great mystery has been solved, I'm sure the sky is a little bit lower. But Deep Throat is still one of the biggest 'gets' of all time and I expect major publishers to chase it like Ahab did the whale. And I'll be one to have the harpoon out."

    Deep Throat/Woodward's Explanation: Bob Woodward explains in the Washington Post where he first met Mark Felt and how their friendship developed. They met at the White House one day when Woodward, then in the Navy, was delivering some documents from Admiral Thomas H. Moorer, the chief of naval operations. Woodward stayed in touch, confessing he did so in a calculated move to make friends with people in high places. Felt soon became the number two official in the FBI. One of Felt's early leaks to Woodward was to tell him that Vice President Spiro Agnew had been caught taking bribes. Woodward tried to run down possible leads but got nowhere. Felt later supplied Woodward with leads in the assassination attempt on George Wallace in 1972. Felt helped Wopodward with the Watergate reporting from the start, helping the Washington Post establish that E. Howard Hunt was a chief suspect in the Watergate burglary. When Woodward failed to reach Felt on the phone in a follow-up call he showed up at Felt's house in Virginia. It was then that Felt, who had worked in espionage during WWII, said that from then on they would only communicate face to face and in secret. No more phone calls. "I said that I had a red cloth flag, less than a foot square -- the kind used as warnings on long truck loads -- that a girlfriend had found on the street. She had stuck it in an empty flowerpot on my apartment balcony. Felt and I agreed that I would move the flowerpot with the flag, which usually was in the front near the railing, to the rear of the balcony if I urgently needed a meeting. This would have to be important and rare, he said sternly.... Felt said if there was something important he could get to my New York Times -- how, I never knew. Page 20 would be circled, and the hands of a clock in the lower part of the page would be drawn to indicate the time of the meeting that night, probably 2 a.m., in the same Rosslyn parking garage." Woodward says he doesn't know how Felt kept an eye on his balcony. Why did Felt talk?"Felt believed he was protecting the bureau by finding a way, clandestine as it was, to push some of the information from the FBI interviews and files out to the public, to help build public and political pressure to make Nixon and his people answerable."

    Deep Throat: The Washington Post today confirmed that W. Mark Felt, a former number-two official at the FBI, was "Deep Throat," the secretive source who provided information that helped unravel the Watergate scandal in the early 1970s and contributed to the resignation of president Richard M. Nixon. The confirmation came from Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein, the two Washington Post reporters who broke the Watergate story, and their former top editor, Benjamin C. Bradlee. The three spoke after Felt's family and Vanity Fair magazine identified the 91-year-old Felt, now a retiree in California, as the long-anonymous source who provided crucial guidance for some of the newspaper's groundbreaking Watergate stories. Felt was convicted in the 1970s for authorizing illegal break-ins at homes of people associated with the radical Weather Underground. He was pardoned by President Reagan in 1981.

    Deep Throat: W. Mark Felt, the No. 2 official at the FBI during the Nixon era, made the admission to Vanity Fair magazine. Now, an ailing and aging former FBI agent in California, Felt told Vanity Fair magazine that he was the one who leaked certain secrets about Mr. Nixon's Watergate coverup to the Washington Post reporters."I'm the guy they used to call Deep Throat," Mr. Felt told John D. O'Connor, a lawyer and the author of the Vanity Fair article, the magazine said today in a press release. Mr. Felt, who is 91 and living in Santa Rosa, Calif., was the second-in-command at the Federal Bureau Investigation in the early 1970's.

    Deep Throat/Who Guessed Right: Esquire had it wrong; The Atlantic Monthly had it right. Leonard Garment's book missed the mark; Ronald Kessler's was on the money. William Gaines's college journalism class flunked the test; Chase Culeman-Beckman's high school paper, though he didn't get an "A" when he turned it in in the late 1990s, should have put him at the head of the class. A three-decade national guessing game is over.

    Deep Throat/Washington Post Caught by Surprise: For 30 years, the Washington Post kept secret the identity of Deep Throat, waiting for the right moment to disclose the name of the person who helped the paper develop the biggest story in its history. Yesterday, the paper was scooped on Deep Throat's identity by a monthly magazine. The revelation by the magazine, Vanity Fair, caught the Post by surprise and threw the paper into turmoil. The Vanity Fair article said Mr. Felt's family wanted to collaborate with Mr. Woodward on an article, wondering at one point why Mr. Woodward should "get all the glory" for what they saw as their father's courage. Vanity Fair said Mr. Woodward scheduled two visits with the family to talk about a collaborative effort but he canceled them and never rescheduled. Mr. Woodward has declined to comment. But it was known in New York publishing circles that Mr. Woodward, a prolific author, was planning to write his own book about Deep Throat.

    Deep Throat/Woodward's Small Lies: Slate's Tim Noah, who long pointed to Felt before he started to doubt himself, notices that Woodward engaged in some small-bore misdirection or, shall we say, lying. Quoting Noah: "One [lie] is that, in All the President's Men, Deep Throat is described as a heavy smoker. But Felt quit smoking in 1943. I suppose Woodstein would call this necessary misdirection. I call it conscious fabrication, however trivial. Also, a November 1973 Woodward and Bernstein Post story sourced anonymously to 'White House sources' is described in All the President's Men as being sourced to Deep Throat. Yet Felt was not a 'White House source.' It's conceivable that Deep Throat was an additional, unacknowledged source on the story, but it's also possible that Woodward and Bernstein were misleading readers about where they got their information. Which was it, gentlemen? Finally, why did Woodward, in a 1979 Playboy interview with J. Anthony Lukas, flatly deny that Deep Throat was anyone inside the 'intelligence community'? The FBI, where Felt worked, is most definitely part of the intelligence community.

    Deep Throat/Woodward's Own Book About Felt: Woodward had prepared for Felt's eventual death by writing a short book about a relationship he describes as intense and sometimes troubling. His longtime publisher, Simon & Schuster, is rushing the volume to press -- but the careful unveiling of the information did not proceed as Woodward or the Post had envisioned. In an article being prepared for tomorrow's Washington Post, Woodward will detail the "accident of history" that connected a young reporter fresh from the suburbs to a man whom many FBI agents considered the best choice to succeed the legendary J. Edgar Hoover as director of the bureau. Woodward and Felt met by chance, he said, but their friendship quickly became a source of information for the reporter. On May 15, 1972, presidential candidate George Wallace was shot and severely wounded by Arthur H. Bremer, in a parking lot in Laurel. Eager to break news on a local story of major national importance, Woodward contacted Felt for information on the FBI's investigation. Ben Bradlee knew only Felt's status as a top FBI official. The editor did not learn Felt's name until after the Post had won the Pulitzer Prize for its Watergate coverage and Nixon had resigned.

    Deep Throat/How Vanity Fair Got the Story: Vanity Fair's big scoop almost didn't happen. The problem for Vanity Fair was that lawyer John D. O'Connor wanted the magazine to pay Felt and Felt's family for the story -- a condition the magazine would not agree to. O'Connor tried then to sell the story to a book publisher, but after a year returned to Vanity Fair when he couln't.

    Deep Throat/His Motivation: Six days after the Watergate break-in, President Richard M. Nixon had a secretly recorded conversation about W. Mark Felt, the number two man at the FBI. Nixon was hatching a plan to stop the FBI from investigating the burglary at Democratic National Committee Headquarters, and the president figured that friends at the CIA could persuade the FBI to drop the investigation. The White House figured their appointee, FBI acting director L. Patrick Gray, would go along. But what about Felt, a 30-year, dyed-in-the-wool Bureau man who ran its day-to-day operations? "Mark Felt wants to cooperate because ..." Nixon chief of staff H.R. Haldeman told the president. "Yeah," Nixon responded. "... because he's ambitious," Haldeman said.

    Deep Throat/Reaction: Prominent figures from the Watergate era expressed a mixture of reactions yesterday, from shock to admiration, upon learning that the number two official at the FBI had guided Washington Post reporters investigating illegal activities by the Nixon administration. Richard Ben-Veniste, a top lawyer in the Watergate Special Prosecution Force, said W. Mark Felt's acknowledgement of his role showed that "the importance of whistle-blowers shouldn't be underestimated, particularly when there are excesses by the executive branch of government -- which in this case went all the way to the executive office. But Charles W. Colson, a senior Nixon adviser who served seven months in prison for obstruction of justice in connection with Watergate abuses, declared that he was"personally shocked."

    Deep Throat/Why He Talked to Post Reporters: Felt believed that the White House was trying to frustrate the FBI's Watergate investigation and that Nixon was determined to bring the FBI to heel after Hoover's death in May 1972, six weeks before the break-in at the Democratic National Committee's Watergate offices occurred. "From the very beginning, it was obvious to the bureau that a cover-up was in progress," Felt wrote in his 1979 memoir, The FBI Pyramid. Felt may have had a personal motivation as well to begin talking to Post reporter Bob Woodward. At the time of Hoover's death, he was a likely successor to take over as FBI director. Instead the White House named a bureau outsider, L. Patrick Gray, then an assistant attorney general, as acting director and then leaned on Gray to become a conduit to keep the White House informed of what the FBI was learning.

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    More Comments:

    Patrick M Ebbitt - 9/24/2006

    Is Mark Felt a hero or traitor?

    Stephen Francis Kislock III - 6/4/2005

    Mr. Mark Felt, is a great American Hero.

    I would imagine, only if you are a compassionate liberal.

    The Geneva Peace Aggreement in July of 1954 provide for withdrawal between France and Vietminh to either side of the DMZ pending reunification elections, which were never held,Why?

    For Richard Nixon to even think of using a nuclear Weapon on a third world country e.g. North Vietnam, just boggles my mind.

    Henry Kissinger had suggested to US President Richard Nixon, bombing North Vietnamese power plants and docks; to this US President Richard Nixon "I'd rather use the nuclear bomb", Kissinger "That, I think would just be too much", US President Richard Nixon in responce "The nuclear bomb. Does that bother you? Nixon asked. "I just want you to think big." and this from a Quaker by faith.

    Mr. Mark Felt, stopped any chance of Nixon having a second term and just may have spared the world of a Third Nuclear Weapon used against Mankind!

    Yes, Mark Felt is a HERO!

    Bob Harper - 6/2/2005