Watergate: a CIA coup

All the Presidents' Men is a great book and a great movie. But it should be in the "fiction" section.

The "revelation" that Mark Felt is supposedly the notorious secret source "Deep Throat" is certainly not the whole story - if it is even true.

Bob Woodward started his career as a cryptologic officer on a Navy ship that was intended to be used as a alternative military command center in the event of nuclear war. His next post was to be a briefer of top Pentagon officials -- that's generally NOT training to be a reporter. When Woodward was dispatched to the Washington comPost, his writing was so poor that they had to train him at a suburban Maryland newspaper for a year before he could get hired at the Post.

It seems the CIA and others decided that Nixon had to go for the long term interests of the empire. This is similar to what is happening to George W. Shrub. Why is the "torture" scandal suddenly getting lots of airtime, when this is not exactly news (it SHOULD get airtime, but it is part of a pattern going back a LONG LONG time)?

The "burglars" in the Watergate admitted the next day to being CIA -- which is not normal practice for CIA agents (unless they were told to say this, they were whistleblowers and had remorse, or were incompetent -- the first seems the most likely).




Dirty Tricks: Nixon, Watergate and the CIA

A new book by author and filmmaker Shane O'Sullivan on the "dirty tricks" used by the Nixon campaign in the 1968 and 1972 elections - the Anna Chennault affair, the Ellsberg break-in and Watergate.


Three Books about Watergate: Silent Coup, Secret Agenda and Katherine the Great

Scandals / Watergate
Colodny, Len and Gettlin, Robert. Silent Coup: The Removal of a President. New York: St.Martin's Paperbacks, 1992. 580 pages.

This bestseller is a revisionist account of Watergate that Bob Woodward and the Washington Post don't want you to read. It makes the case that Alexander Haig was Deep Throat, and reports convincing evidence (including taped interviews with officials) that Bob Woodward knew Haig in 1969 when Woodward worked at the Pentagon, four years before Woodward said they met. The paperback edition includes a 24-page postscript that details Woodward's and the Post's pathetic attempts to discredit the evidence. Most reviews of this book gave Colodny and Gettlin above-average marks, and the consensus among journalists seems to be that the burden of proof rests with the Post.
The other major revisionist wrinkle is the authors' contention that John Dean ordered the Watergate break-in because he knew that a call-girl ring was operating out of the Democratic headquarters and wanted some embarrassing documents. The woman who ran the ring was reportedly a friend of Dean's, and Maureen Biner Dean was her roommate when John and Mo were courting in 1971. Stay tuned: John and Maureen are suing the authors, along with G. Gordon Liddy, who agrees with the book, for $50 million. When he first heard of the suit on 1/30/92, Liddy said it was "the second happiest day of my life. The first happiest will be when we finally get John Dean on the witness stand under oath. No more perjury-infested dog and pony show."

Hougan, Jim. Secret Agenda: Watergate, Deep Throat and the CIA. New York: Random House, 1984. 347 pages.

This first "deconstructionist" account of Watergate is the acknowledged inspiration for Colodny and Gettlin's "Silent Coup" (1991), which finally put the Washington Post on the defensive.
"Secret Agenda" offers many firsts: 1) the first to discuss Watergate in the context of the Moorer-Radford affair; 2) the first to discuss the role played by attorney-pimp Phil Bailley; 3) the first to reveal that a key taken from burglar Rolando Martinez fit the desk of Spencer Oliver's secretary Maxie Wells (the only physical evidence of the burglar's actual target); 4) the first to reveal that the FBI lab concluded that the DNC was NOT bugged (McCord faked the eavesdropping to protect a more important secret); 5) the first to reveal that Woodward had secretly briefed Alexander Haig while Woodward presided over the Pentagon code room of the Chief of Naval Operations; 6) the first to make public Woodward's investigation of Bernstein's sex life; and 7) the first to identify the mysterious John Paisley as the CIA's liaison to the plumbers.
In all, this is a well-documented work that Norman Mailer called "a startling mine of veins, leads, lodes and deep shafts into the ongoing mystery of Watergate. Three cheers for Hougan's investigative reporting."


"We live in a dirty and dangerous world. There are some things the general public does not need to know and shouldn't. I believe democracy flourishes when the government can take legitimate steps to keep its secrets, and when the press can decide whether to print what it knows."
-- Katharine Graham at a 1988 speech at CIA headquarters

Book Notes:
All the Publisher's Men
A suppressed book about Washington Post publisher
Katharine Graham is on sale again.
by Daniel Brandt
From The National Reporter, Fall 1987.
Katharine the Great: Katharine Graham and the Washington Post. By Deborah Davis. National Press, Bethesda MD, 1987, 320 pages, ISBN 0-915765-43-8.

Silent Coup: The removal of a president
by Len Colodny and Robert Gettlin
New York: St. Martin's Press, 1991




Nixon Era Times: The Official Publication of the Nixon Era Center at Mountain State University


June 9, 2005
When Felt's Face Just Collapsed
Felt Was Asked Under Oath in 1975 If He Was "Deep Throat"



June 8, 2005
Deep Throat, Bob Woodward and the CIA
Strange Bedfellows


From the January-February, 1996 issue (Vol. 3 No. 2)
Bob Woodward
By Lisa Pease

The Deceptions of All the President's Men

Bob Woodward was an above top secret officer on a Navy ship that was designed for directing a nuclear war if Washington was nuked - is this the normal training for investigative reporters? or for being a conduit for semi-official leaks? After serving in an ultra-sensitive position on the USS Wright, Woodward went on to be a "briefer" for the Joint Chiefs of Staff. This is not a good means to learn how to be a reporter (as shown by the fact that Woodward was first posted to a small suburban Maryland newspaper for a year to learn journalism skills before the Washington Post would hire him), but it is an excellent way to learn who is at the top of the military industrial complex.


I was first assigned to the USS Wright, a floating emergency relocation ship for President Johnson in the case of nuclear war. I was one of two officers ordered to be present if the top secret authentication codes for nuclear war orders were handled or transferred in any way. The codes were at that time secured with two combination locks, one of which I had the combination to. I later served on the USS Fox, a guided missile frigate that was stationed off the coast of Vietnam.

More on the USS Wright:





Deep Throat: Shallow story hides deeper history
By Larry Chin
Online Journal Associate Editor

Who was Mark Felt? Felt may have leaked on Nixon, but was he at all heroic over the course of the rest of his career?
Described as the FBI's "Fair Haired Boy," he was a J. Edgar Hoover right hand man, immensely loyal to Hoover, and was involved in all of the FBI's dirtiest COINTELPRO operations. In other words, Felt was a lieutenant to one of the great political criminals in modern history


Watergate and Deep Throat - Shattering the Myths

Newsmax is a very right wing source, but this article is good.


November 8, 2001
Homeland Insecurity by Douglas Valentine
Part Three
Chaos And Political Terrorism In America

Article that discusses Richard Ober's political role in the Nixon administration (Davis's book suggests that Ober was the mythical "Deep Throat" source).


By Sam Smith


Bob Woodward...ALL smoke and mirrors?



Journalism and the CIA: The Mighty Wurlitzer
by Daniel Brandt
From NameBase NewsLine, No. 17, April-June 1997


several articles on the authenticity of the Felt claim

It is interesting that Carl Bernstein (of Woodward and Bernstein fame) wrote this article "The CIA and the Media" after his Watergate reporting experience, where his co-author, Bob Woodward, was originally trained by Navy intelligence.


How America’s Most Powerful News Media Worked Hand in Glove with the Central Intelligence Agency and Why the Church Committee Covered It Up
Rolling Stone, October 20, 1977

In 1953, Joseph Alsop, then one of America’s leading syndicated columnists, went to the Philippines to cover an election. He did not go because he was asked to do so by his syndicate. He did not go because he was asked to do so by the newspapers that printed his column. He went at the request of the CIA.

Alsop is one of more than 400 American journalists who in the past twenty-five years have secretly carried out assignments for the Central Intelligence Agency, according to documents on file at CIA headquarters. Some of these journalists’ relationships with the Agency were tacit; some were explicit. There was cooperation, accommodation and overlap. Journalists provided a full range of clandestine services — from simple intelligence gathering to serving as go-betweens with spies in Communist countries. Reporters shared their notebooks with the CIA. Editors shared their staffs. Some of the journalists were Pulitzer Prize winners, distinguished reporters who considered themselves ambassadors-without-portfolio for their country. Most were less exalted: foreign correspondents who found that their association with the Agency helped their work; stringers and freelancers who were as interested it the derring-do of the spy business as in filing articles, and, the smallest category, full-time CIA employees masquerading as journalists abroad. In many instances, CIA documents show, journalists were engaged to perform tasks for the CIA with the consent of the managements America’s leading news organizations.

The history of the CIA’s involvement with the American press continues to be shrouded by an official policy of obfuscation and deception . . . .
Among the executives who lent their cooperation to the Agency were William Paley of the Columbia Broadcasting System, Henry Luce of Time Inc., Arthur Hays Sulzberger of the New York Times, Barry Bingham Sr. of the Louisville Courier-Journal and James Copley of the Copley News Service. Other organizations which cooperated with the CIA include the American Broadcasting Company, the National Broadcasting Company, the Associated Press, United Pres International, Reuters, Hearst Newspapers, Scripps-Howard, Newsweek magazine, the Mutual Broadcasting System, the Miami Herald and the old Saturday Evening Post and New York Herald-Tribune.
By far the most valuable of these associations, according to CIA officials, have been with the New York Times, CBS and Time Inc.
. . . . .
From the Agency’s perspective, there is nothing untoward in such relationships, and any ethical questions are a matter for the journalistic profession to resolve, not the intelligence community.
. . . . .

THE AGENCY’S DEALINGS WITH THE PRESS BEGAN during the earliest stages of the Cold War. Allen Dulles, who became director of the CIA in 1953, sought to establish a recruiting-and-cover capability within America’s most prestigious journalistic institutions. By operating under the guise of accredited news correspondents, Dulles believed, CIA operatives abroad would be accorded a degree of access and freedom of movement unobtainable under almost any other type of cover.

American publishers, like so many other corporate and institutional leaders at the time, were willing us commit the resources of their companies to the struggle against “global Communism.” Accordingly, the traditional line separating the American press corps and govern ment was often indistinguishable: rarely was a news agency used to provide cover for CIA operatives abroad without the knowledge and consent of either its principal owner; publisher or senior editor. Thus, contrary to the notion that the CIA era and news executives allowed themselves and their organizations to become handmaidens to the intelligence services. “Let’s not pick on some poor reporters, for God’s sake,” William Colby exclaimed at one point to the Church committee’s investigators. “Let’s go to the manage ments. They were witting” In all, about twenty-five news organizations (including those listed at the beginning of this article) provided cover for the Agency.
. . . . .
Many journalists who covered World War II were close to people in the Office of Strategic Services, the wartime predecessor of the CIA; more important, they were all on the same side. When the war ended and many OSS officials went into the CIA, it was only natural that these relationships would continue. Meanwhile, the first postwar generation of journalists entered the profession; they shared the same political and professional values as their mentors. “You had a gang of people who worked together during World War II and never got over it,” said one Agency official. “They were genuinely motivated and highly suscep tible to intrigue and being on the inside. Then in the Fifties and Sixties there was a national consensus about a national threat. The Vietnam War tore everything to pieces—shredded the consensus and threw it in the air.” Another Agency official observed: “Many journalists didn’t give a second thought to associating with the Agency. But there was a point when the ethical issues which most people had submerged finally surfaced. Today, a lot of these guys vehemently deny that they had any relationship with the Agency.”
. . . . .
The CIA even ran a formal training program in the 1950s to teach its agents to be journalists. Intelligence officers were “taught to make noises like reporters,” explained a high CIA official, and were then placed in major news organizations with help from management. “These were the guys who went through the ranks and were told, “You’re going to be a journalist,” the CIA official said. Relatively few of the 400-some relationships described in Agency files followed that pattern, however; most involved persons who were already bona fide journalists when they began undertaking tasks for the Agency.
The Agency’s relationships with journalists, as described in CIA files, include the following general categories:
• Legitimate, accredited staff members of news organizations — usually reporters. Some were paid; some worked for the Agency on a purely voluntary basis. . . .
• Stringers and freelancers. Most were payrolled by the Agency under standard contractual terms. . . .
• Employees of so-called CIA “proprietaries.” During the past twenty-five years, the Agency has secretly bankrolled numerous foreign press services, periodicals and newspapers — both English and foreign language — which provided excellent cover for CIA operatives. . . .
• Columnists and commentators. There are perhaps a dozen well-known columnists and broadcast commentators whose relationships with the CIA go far beyond those normally maintained between reporters and their sources. They are referred to at the Agency as “known assets” and can be counted on to perform a variety of undercover tasks; they are considered receptive to the Agency’s point of view on various subjects.
. . . . .
MURKY DETAILS OF CIA RELATIONSHIPS with individuals and news organizations began trickling out in 1973 when it was first disclosed that the CIA had, on occasion, employed journalists. Those reports, combined with new information, serve as casebook studies of the Agency’s use of journalists for intelligence purposes.
• The New York Times. The Agency’s relationship with the Times was by far its most valuable among newspapers, according to CIA officials. [It was] general Times policy . . . to provide assistance to the CIA whenever possible.
. . . . .
CIA officials cite two reasons why the Agency’s working rela tionship with the Times was closer and more extensive than with any other paper: the fact that the Times maintained the largest foreign news operation in American daily journalism; and the close personal ties between the men who ran both institutions.
. . . . .
• The Columbia Broadcasting System. CBS was unquestionably the CIA’s most valuable broadcasting asset. CBS president William Paley and Allen Dulles enjoyed an easy working and social relationship. Over the years, the network provided cover for CIA employees, including at least one well-known foreign correspondent and several stringers; it supplied outtakes of newsfilm to the CIA; established a formal channel of communication between the Washington bureau chief and the Agency; gave the Agency access to the CBS newsfilm library; and allowed reports by CBS correspondents to the Washington and New York newsrooms to be routinely monitored by the CIA. Once a year during the 1950s and early 1960s, CBS correspondents joined the CIA hierarchy for private dinners and briefings.
. . . . .
At the headquarters of CBS News in New York, Paley’s coopera tion with the CIA is taken for granted by many news executives and reporters, despite the denials. Paley, 76, was not interviewed by Salant’s investigators. “It wouldn’t do any good,” said one CBS executive. “It is the single subject about which his memory has failed.”
. . . . .
• Time and Newsweek magazines. According to CIA and Senate sources, Agency files contain written agreements with former foreign correspondents and stringers for both the weekly news magazines. The same sources refused to say whether the CIA has ended all its associations with individuals who work for the two publications. Allen Dulles often interceded with his good friend, the late Henry Luce, founder of Time and Life magazines, who readily allowed certain members of his staff to work for the Agency and agreed to provide jobs and credentials for other CIA operatives who lacked journalistic expe rience.
. . . . .
At Newsweek, Agency sources reported, the CIA engaged the services of several foreign correspondents and stringers under ar rangements approved by senior editors at the magazine.
. . . . .
“To the best of my knowledge:’ said [Harry] Kern, [Newsweek’s foreign editor from 1945 to 1956] “nobody at Newsweek worked for the CIA.... The informal relationship was there. Why have anybody sign anything? What we knew we told them [the CIA] and the State Department.... When I went to Washington, I would talk to Foster or Allen Dulles about what was going on .... We thought it was admirable at the time. We were all on the same side.” CIA officials say that Kern's dealings with the Agency were extensive.
. . . . .
When Newsweek was purchased by the Washington Post Company, publisher Philip L. Graham was informed by Agency officials that the CIA occasionally used the magazine for cover purposes, according to CIA sources. “It was widely known that Phil Graham was somebody you could get help from,” said a former deputy director of the Agency. . . . But Graham, who committed suicide in 1963, apparently knew little of the specifics of any cover arrangements with Newsweek, CIA sources said.
. . . . .
Information about Agency dealings with the Washington Post newspaper is extremely sketchy. According to CIA officials, some Post stringers have been CIA employees, but these officials say they do not know if anyone in the Post management was aware of the arrangements.
. . . . .
• Other major news organizations. According to Agency officials, CIA files document additional cover arrangements with the following news-gathering organizations, among others: the New York Herald Tribune, the Saturday Evening Post, Scripps-Howard Newspapers, Hearst Newspapers, . . . Associated Press, United Press International, the Mutual Broadcasting System, Reuters and the Miami Herald. . . .

“And that's just a small part of the list,” in the words of one official who served in the CIA hierarchy. Like many sources, this official said that the only way to end the uncertainties about aid furnished the Agency by journalists is to disclose the contents of the CIA files - a course opposed by almost all of the thirty-five present and former CIA officials interviewed over the course of a year.


THE CIA’S USE OF JOURNALISTS CONTINUED virtually unabated until 1973 when, in response to public disclosure that the Agency had secretly employed American reporters, William Colby began scaling down the program. In his public statements, Colby conveyed the impression that the use of journalists had been minimal and of limited importance to the Agency.

He then initiated a series of moves intended to convince the press, Congress and the public that the CIA had gotten out of the news business. But according to Agency officials, Colby had in fact thrown a protective net around his most valuable intelligence assets in the journalistic community.
. . . . .
After Colby left the Agency on January 28th, 1976, and was succeeded by George Bush, the CIA announced a new policy: “Effective immediately, the CIA will not enter into any paid or contract relationship with any full-time or part-time news correspondent accredited by any U.S. news service, newspaper, periodical, radio or television network or station.” . . . The text of the announcement noted that the CIA would continue to “welcome” the voluntary, unpaid cooperation of journalists. Thus, many relationships were permitted to remain intact.

The Agency's unwillingness to end its use of journalists and its continued relationships with some news executives is largely the product of two basic facts of the intelligence game: journalistic cover is ideal because of the inquisitive nature of a reporter's job;[i] and many other sources of institutional cover have been denied the CIA in recent years by businesses, foundations and educational institutions that once cooperated with the Agency.

[i] [Earlier in the article, Bernstein had stated the following:] Many journalists were used by the CIA to assist in this process and they had the reputation of being among the best in the busi ness. The peculiar nature of the job of the foreign correspondent is ideal for such work; he is ac corded unusual access, by his host country, permitted to travel in areas often off-limits to other Americans, spends much of his time cultivating sources in governments, academic institutions, the military establishment and the scientific communities. He has the opportunity to form long-term personal relationships with sources and — perhaps more than any other category of American operative — is in a position to make correct judgments about the susceptibility and availability of foreign nationals for recruitment as spies.



According to The New York Times, which broke the story February 19, 2002 "The Pentagon is developing plans to provide news items, possibly even false ones, to foreign media organizations as part of a new effort to influence public sentiment and policy makers in both friendly and unfriendly countries."
The leak clearly ambushed the Pentagon, which quickly retreated in a fog of contradictory statements that culminated in an announcement just a week later by Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld that the whole idea had probably been scrapped.
"I met with Undersecretary Doug Feith this morning and he indicated to me that he's decided to close down the Office of Strategic Influence," Rumsfeld told a Pentagon news conference.
That didn’t mean, of course, that the idea was dead, or couldn’t be moved to another agency with more experience in "disinformation," such as the Central Intelligence Agency.

Remarks by the President
on the Office of Strategic Influence
February 25, 2002
(Remarks During Presentation of World Trade Center Bullhorn)
Q: Sir, have you told Secretary Rumsfeld to get rid of the Office of Disinformation that he's talking about?
THE PRESIDENT: I told Secretary Rumsfeld -- I didn't even need to tell him this; he knows how I feel, I saw it reflected in his comments the other day -- that we'll tell the American people the truth. And he was just as amazed as I was about reading, you know, some allegation that somehow our government would never tell the American people the truth. And I don't -- I've got confidence, having heard his statement, I heard him this morning talk about it, that he'll handle this in the right way.

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