Editorial: Deep Throat and George W.

A hallmark of gangsters and fascists is their allegiance to a “code of silence.” So it is no surprise that Watergate burglar G. Gordon Liddy now accuses Mark Felt, the infamous “Deep Throat,” of violating government ethics in blowing the lid off Richard Nixon’s Watergate crimes.

Liddy, ever the underworld soldier, went to jail with lips sealed for his role in the break-in at the Democratic Party headquarters in the Watergate Hotel June 17, 1972.

As the scandal broke, Felt, then second in command at the FBI, met secretly with the Washington Post’s Bob Woodward to feed him tips on the conspiracy Nixon and his minions had hatched to steal elections and set up what Sen. Sam Ervin of North Carolina called a “Gestapo” on American soil.

Deep Throat’s identity has been the subject of speculation ever since. Former Alaska Sen. Mike Gravel, who stood staunchly against the Vietnam War and other Nixon crimes, said that Felt should receive the Medal of Freedom for blowing the whistle on the Watergate conspiracy.

“The greatest threat to democracy is secrecy,” Gravel said. “It is the slippery slope leading to tyranny.”

Gravel could be speaking not only of Nixon but of the present occupant of the White House as well. Today we face an administration more obsessed than Nixon with secrecy and the politics of deception. The Bush gang has unleashed a furious attack on journalists to embarrass and intimidate them into silence.

This drove CBS anchor Dan Rather from his position and forced Newsweek to apologize for a story based on an anonymous source. Both revealed negative information about the administration. Yet the underlying truth of what Rather and Newsweek reported was confirmed by dozens of other independent sources.

The Bush White House is simply determined to seek out and destroy any information or source that challenges its drive for total power. That is the reason defenders of freedom of the press are standing behind reporters, as well as government and corporate whistleblowers, who expose wrongdoing in high places.