W. Mark Felt, the assistant director of the FBI during the Watergate scandal, has admitted to being “Deep Throat.” He was the source of important information for Washington Post investigative reporters Woodward and Bernstein. Felt’s revelations and tips kept the investigation alive by pulling back the shroud of secrecy hiding the criminal activities of the Nixon White House.
Felt should receive the American Medal of Freedom for his courage and patriotism in defense of our democracy. The greatest threat to democracy is secrecy. It is a generic flaw of our representative system of government. Secrecy is endemic to government; it is the device government officialdom uses to hide the truth and to manipulate the media and the public, and is the slippery slope leading to tyranny.
The only antidote to the excesses of secrecy is the occasional patriot leaking the truth to the media or to the Congress. Unfortunately, the Congress is all too complicit in maintaining secrecy in government. Thank you, Marc Felt, for your service to freedom and democracy; let us hope that your revelation is an incentive to present-day whistleblowers. The need for whistleblowers has never been greater.
Mike Gravel represented Alaska in the US Senate from 1969-1981. He is now chairman of the United States Democracy Foundation.