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The mouse that leaked

One of the bigger items being tossed around in the excitement of Deep Throat finally unmasking himself as W. Mark Felt, former #2 man of the FBI, is discussion of his motives, and how they bear upon his actions.

In one of Tom Clancy's later novels (I think it was "Red Rabbit," but I'm not sure), he sits in on a CIA training class. They are discussing the motivations behind people who betray confidences, and tosses out the acronym MICE.

Money: They say every man has his price. People get into financial troubles, or simply want more than they can afford. For the right amount, they can be persuaded to literally "sell out" the secrets they have been trusted with.

Ideology: Sometimes people find themselves sympathetic to the other side than the government or other group they belong to. To aid those whom they believe in, they will pass along information that is detrimental to their own organization.

Conscience: A person might find themselves repelled by the conduct or beliefs of those they previously believed in. They will take actions that they would normally find repugnant to expose or defeat what they see as greater offenses.

Ego: The person feels slighted or betrayed in some way. The betrayal is rationalized as "payback" of some kind.

Clancy also says that there are very, very few "pure" cases, and most betrayers are driven by at least two of these motivations to various degrees.

In Felt's case, it seems that he was a Conscience/Ego leaker. He could rationalize his own authorizing illegal break-ins against domestic terrorists like the Weather Underground as "serving the greater good," but the Watergate break-ins were done for the crassest of reasons -- simple political gain. Further, by being passed over for the directorship of the FBI in favor of someone with no law-enforcement experience, Felt could also rationalize he was trying to prevent the further politization of the Bureau.

In my own opinion, Felt did a wrong thing to prevent a greater wrong. And he certainly wasn't in it for the money -- he kept his mouth shut for 30 years, while those who committed much worse deeds made heaps of money with their books and speaking tours and the like.

The fact that Pat Buchanan is in high dudgeon and nearly frothing at the mouth over Felt's "betrayal" is simply icing on the cake.


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Comments (15)

It's tough to realize that ... (Below threshold)
-S-:

It's tough to realize that I'm in agreement with Bucahanan, who I'd hardly categorize as "foaming at the mouth," given that a majority of law enforcement individuals polled ALSO agree with Buchanan and that is that Felt acted out of personal animosities and resentments and defiled standards expected of him as a supposed "leader" of law enforcement.

Felt had other avenues available to him if he found behaviors to be so objectionable as to pose high alerts to his sense of politics but he chose, instead, to create great national havoc and put the country itself in a compromised positiion worldwide in doing so.

I doubt, DOUBT, that Felt did not realize the ramifications of his actions. Some people engage in crimes and harms against society to prove their points, and it's not always about money -- it's non sensical to assume Felt was heroic or even correct/acceptable in his decisions and actions by the fact that he remained silent as he did and didn't seek financial gain directly for his deeds. Felt was also surely aware that others, like Nixon, knew what he'd done and that more than anything explains Felt's many decades of relative nameless isolation afterward -- which defines to me someone who was "hiding" and actually, quite cowardly.

Because, Felt knew he'd face terrible penalties if he did come forward (and the worst, most likely that he'd lose his pension and other benefits, lose what credibiity among peers publicly he assumed he had), so what seems to be even more emphasis to my view of cowardly behavior by Felt was him hiding out for the decades to ensure his meager stability as an employee/retiring employee.

I'd say that Felt completely illustrates the guy who sold his soul for thirty pieces of silver. And is now being hung up to dry because of it.

People don't disrespect Felt for his observations and political perspectives, they disrespect Felt for his cowardly deeds and for being responsible for "bringing down" the country he was sworn to protect and defend. Also a lot of why Felt's been hiding out and for so long, in my opinion.

Felt's a coward. An arch-coward. I hope he enjoys his long-overdue legacy. I don't see any difference in Felt's hiding out in his family's garage to Saddam's hiding out in his rabbit hole --- same motivations, same methods, same self awareness of culpability whose consequences appear to have been samely assumed could be avoided by waiting.

Felt seems more criminal than law enforcer and that's the aspect to his behavior that most polled in America perceive about him, too: rather than take reasonable means to counter what he observed, he opted for dishonorable means. I'm betting that Felt received so much reinforcement in that thrill that that was his payback. Plus, who is to ever say that Felt did not receive any financial payback, nor did Bernstein/Woodward. Woodward, by his own stories, received massive payback/incentives realized for his participations with Felt -- and actually admits having courted Felt for those reasons: his own egotistical, "career" advancement. Bernstein seems to just have done so for egoism alone.

The problem I have with dee... (Below threshold)
ds:

The problem I have with deep throat is he was sworn to uphold the law. That also means he knew that there were ongoing investigations that were leading to answers. If not, as an agent of the law he knew what he could legally do about the wrongs he knew. That's what prosecutors, courts and judges do -- I thought.

We are a country of laws, we are also a country of leagl proceedures and due process. There is a right way and a wrong way. This was totally the wrong way for the #2 man at the FBI to conduct himself.

What if a FBI guy had squealed on Clinton, what would the media do? Oh wait, one did, but after he left the FBI. What did the media do, they yawned.

Stick with laws and due process, the media cannot be trusted to do the right thing -- if they percieve the circumstances are not what they favor. We could all end up like the Branch Davidians. Ask yourself what the MSM would do today if Bush were responsible for their demise. Then ask yourself why the media didn't do it then.

'nuff said

You know, given his positio... (Below threshold)
Just Me:

You know, given his position in law enforcement, I am bothere by the fact that he did not seek legal channels to reveal what Nixon had done.

I don't think conservatives should try to rationalize Nixon's bad behavior, it was bad behavior, and he was guilty of it, but Felt chose to reveal his information to the press under cover of anonymity, rather than seek to bring Nixon down through legal channels open to him.

So I sort of think he sucks, although I don't know that he is the evil betrayer some conservatives are painting him to be, he certainly isn't the ethical hero the liberals want him to be either.

He also, I admit isn't as exciting as some of the people who have been put forward as "deep throat" a Renquist or Buchanan would have been a little more fun.

Okay, it's a Saturday night... (Below threshold)
fatman:

Okay, it's a Saturday night and I've got nothing better to do than play Devil's Advocate, so here goes:

With all due respect to the previous commenters' ^^ denunciations of Mark Felt's actions, they're only valid IF you accept Mark Felt as Deepthroat. Everything I've seen or read so far suggests, IMHO, that he's an at least slightly senile old man who was pressured into claiming he was Deepthroat by his family so that they could cash in on a book deal. As for Carl Bernstein's and Ben Bradlee's assertions that he's telling the truth, they apparently never met him, so all they can go on is Bob Woodward's word for it. And after that "deathbed interview" that Woodward did with former CIA director William Casey, if Woodward said rain was wet, I'd fact-check him.

I'm not going to try to des... (Below threshold)
fatman:

I'm not going to try to describe it (I don't think I could without offending a lot of people), but I STRONGLY advise everyone to ignore the "link" provided by "Larry". Also don't click on his name; that's even more vile than his "link".

Jay Tea, if you're reading this, I would, with all due respect, suggest deleting that post.

Re: the comment ^^ that I w... (Below threshold)
fatman:

Re: the comment ^^ that I warned about in my last post, I should clarify that the two links in "Larry's" post take you to some of the most disgusting pornography I've seen in a long time.

I agree with those above. ... (Below threshold)
robert:

I agree with those above. The fact that Felt was in the FBI made his actions worse; certainly not heroic. The fact that he kept silent for so long probably is an indicator of what he, himself, thought about it.

Compare Felt's actions to those of Elliot Richardson (AG), a real hero of the period, who resigned rather than fire the Special Prosecutor.

The hero list includes Senator Baker and other Republicans who set aside party loyalty, and took heat for it, in the name of justice and integrity.

A fair summation.H... (Below threshold)
Wendigo:

A fair summation.

He'd shown signs of being talkative when approached by reporters before; that could be ego, ideology or conscience.

He seemed intent on bringing the secrets of Watergate to light, that may have been conscience.

He was at the time very firm in his belief that the FBI should remain independent, and Gray was an outsider. May have been conscience.

Gray was promoted over his head. May have been ego.

A little late to get accurate answers from him, of course.

Another point brought up by... (Below threshold)

Another point brought up by a friend, as further evidence of the ego aspect of his decisions, was to wait thirty years, and just before his death, to come forward and steal Woodward and Bernstein's thunder as they would have had another heyday with the press and major recognition for telling the story after his death. As it turned out "Woodstein" turned out to be more trustworthy in keeping his identity a secret for so long.

There are all kinds of traitors out there and to varying degrees, but Felt is the worst kind.

After knowing all this now, it was a damn good thing he wasn't promoted. Who knows what might have set him off to do something even worse had he achieved the No. 1 position?

A friend of mine brought th... (Below threshold)

A friend of mine brought this up as further evidence of the ego aspect of all this: Thirty years later, after asking to be kept anonymous, he then steals Woodward and Bernstein's thunder in denying them the chance to reveal him after his death as they promised.

Not that it wouldn't have recieved the same responses, but that he first got the staisfaction of retaliation for something he perceived as an injustice and has now thrust himself into the limelight. I guess infamy is as good as any recognition in some people's books.

Crap, I tried to send the f... (Below threshold)

Crap, I tried to send the first comment and the response I got said the server couldn't be found, so I tried to re-write it. They kinda say the same thing, right? Can't even trust a server to tell the truth anymore.

Crap, I tried to send the f... (Below threshold)

Crap, I tried to send the first comment and the response I got said the page couldn't be found, so I tried to re-write it. They kinda say the same thing, right? Can't even trust a server to tell the truth anymore.

Funny, I always heard it as... (Below threshold)

Funny, I always heard it as Money, Ideology, Compromise, Ego, but my source predates Clancy.

friend of mine brought ... (Below threshold)
Wendigo:

friend of mine brought this up as further evidence of the ego aspect of all this: Thirty years later, after asking to be kept anonymous, he then steals Woodward and Bernstein's thunder in denying them the chance to reveal him after his death as they promised.

Not that it wouldn't have recieved the same responses, but that he first got the staisfaction of retaliation for something he perceived as an injustice and has now thrust himself into the limelight. I guess infamy is as good as any recognition in some people's books.

His daughter was pestering him to reveal it; he's 91. If you're going to be criticizing somebody for the unexpected revelation, criticize his daughter.

Wendigo: the apple never f... (Below threshold)
-S-:

Wendigo: the apple never falls far from the tree.




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