updated 6/9/2005 2:29:22 PM ET 2005-06-09T18:29:22

Guest: Sally Quinn, Daniel Schorr, Paul Farhi, Jeffrey Wigand

ANNOUNCER:  A shadowy figure from the past now basking in the spotlight of overnight fame, Watergate whistle-blower Mark Felt, a.k.a.  Deep Throat, the man who helped topple Nixon‘s White House, catapulted two beat reporters into Pulitzer Prize-winning journalists, inspired an Oscar-worthy movie. 

HAL HOLBROOK, PORTRAYING DEEP THROAT:  It was a Haldeman operation. 

ANNOUNCER:  And one of the greatest political whodunits of all time. 

GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES:  ... with a revelation that caught me by surprise.

ANNOUNCER:  Tonight, we unveil a few other mysteries.  What prompts a loyal official to tell-all?  Some insight from tobacco industry whistle-blower Jeffrey Wigand.  How did Felt‘s identity remain a secret for more than 30 years in a town infamous for leaks? 

SALLY QUINN, “WASHINGTON POST”:  I‘ve never seen anything like it. 

ANNOUNCER:  And how will Deep Throat‘s legacy impact American history?  

TOM BROKAW, FORMER NBC NEWS ANCHOR:  What we learned in Washington in Watergate and continue to learn every year, there is so much more going on than even a very vigilant press can ever find out. 


DAVID GREGORY, HOST:  Hi, everybody.  I‘m David Gregory sitting in for Chris Matthews tonight.  This is a special edition of HARDBALL, “Deep Throat: The Impact on History.” 

Mark Felt kept the secret for more than 30 years.  He was Deep Throat, that mysterious source that helped the “Washington Post‘s” Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein uncover the Watergate scandal.  Felt, the former deputy FBI director, gave the scoop to “Vanity Fair” magazine, ripping off his mask for the history books. 

Later in the show, we‘ll talk about just how this secret was kept for so long.  Also, some of the larger questions, did Felt do the right thing by leaking to the press?  Would Watergate have been exposed without his guidance?  And the role of anonymous sources in journalism today. 

But first, what turns a loyal government employee into a whistle-blower in the first place with the power to take down a president?  And is blowing the whistle an act of courage, cowardice or revenge?  In a moment, we‘ll talk to another famous whistle-blower, former tobacco executive Jeffrey Wigand.

But we begin with this report from HARDBALL correspondent David Shuster.


DAVID SHUSTER, MSNBC CORRESPONDENT (voice-over):  Identified now around the world, Mark Felt is the greatest whistle-blower of our time. 

JOAN FELT, DAUGHTER OF MARK FELT:  And we‘re all so proud of him, not only for his role in history, but for that, for the character that he is. 

SHUSTER:  And he‘s a former number-two at the FBI who, with “Washington Post” reporters Woodward and Bernstein, altered the course of American politics.

But there have been other whistle-blower cases that changed the political landscape.  In 1971, with Vietnam raging, military analyst Daniel Ellsberg leaked classified documents to the “New York Times.”  The Pentagon Papers, as they were called, revealed that nearly everyone in the Pentagon and State Department knew the U.S. had no realistic chance of winning the war. 

The story fueled anti-war protests and added to the public pressure that pushed the Nixon administration towards peace talks.  As for Ellsberg, because of administration misconduct against him, charges of theft and espionage were dismissed. 

America‘s most famous corporate whistle-blower was a tobacco executive named Jeffrey Wigand.  Thanks to his leaks, the CEOs of big tobacco were hauled before Congress.  Their companies were successfully sued by the states.  And the government began regulating tobacco advertising.  Hollywood memorialized Wigand as a hero in the film “The Insider.”

RUSSELL CROWE, ACTOR PORTRAYING JEFFREY WIGAND:  And part of the reason that I‘m here is that I felt that their representation clearly misstated, at least with Brown and Williamson‘s representation, clearly misstated what is common language within the company.  We are in the nicotine delivery business. 

SHUSTER:  In 1997, Jennifer Long blew the whistle on widespread misconduct at the Internal Revenue Service. 

JENNIFER LONG, IRS WHISTLEBLOWER:  When reviewing a tax case, it is now our job to stick it to the taxpayer. 

SHUSTER:  The IRS then tried to fire Long, but Congress stopped the retribution and passed laws giving taxpayers new powers. 

Three years ago, “Time” magazine honored as its persons of the year whistle-blower Cynthia Cooper of WorldCom, Sharon Watkins of Enron and Coleen Rowley of the FBI. 

Rowley, an FBI staff attorney, caused a sensation with an open memo about how the bureau had brushed off her concerns on Zacarias Moussaoui, who was later indicted as a 9/11 co-conspirator. 

Some government insiders first tell their stories in a book.  Former White House counterterrorism adviser Richard Clarke testified that, before 9/11, Al Qaeda was not an administration priority.  And in congressional hearings, he apologized to the 9/11 families. 

RICHARD CLARKE, FORMER COUNTERTERRORISM ADVISER:  Your government failed you.  Those entrusted with protecting you failed you.  And I failed you.  And for that failure, I would ask for your understanding and for your forgiveness. 

SHUSTER:  The most recent whistle-blower case to break news came last year in the Abu Ghraib prison scandal in Iraq.  Specialist Joseph Darby leaked thousands of photos showing the abuse. 

(on-screen):  In many cases in recent years, whistle-blowers have had a dramatic impact.  But what sets Mark Felt apart is that his Watergate efforts helped bring down a sitting president.  And even more remarkable, say historians, is that Felt was able to keep his role a secret for more than 30 years. 

I‘m David Shuster for HARDBALL in Washington. 


GREGORY:  David Shuster, thank you very much. 

Jeffrey Wigand began a household name when he told the truth about big tobacco to “60 Minutes” back in 1995.  His story, of course, later made into the movie “The Insider.”  Dr. Wigand joins me now from Montreal. 

Dr. Wigand, welcome. 


Good evening, David, how are you? 

GREGORY:  Good evening.  I‘m fine.  Thanks for being with us.  Talk to me about Mark Felt. 

WIGAND:  My pleasure.

GREGORY:  Did he do the right thing in your book? 

WIGAND:  I‘m sorry? 

GREGORY:  Did Mark Felt do the right thing? 

WIGAND:  I believe so.  I think he did the morally right thing.  He knew the truth.  The truth wasn‘t coming out.  I think he changed the process which was going on, which was the lack of truth and really, I think, helped unfold the issues underpinning Watergate.  So he did the right thing, in terms of setting the record straight.  And has, in fact, changed history with what he did. 

GREGORY:  You were in a different situation.  You were not in government.  You were a high official in a tobacco company.

But take me inside your own story.  Describe that moment when you felt like, “I can‘t work within the system anymore.  I can‘t push my bosses to do what I think is the right thing.  I‘ve got to go outside.  I‘ve got to try to expose this.”  Did you feel trapped?  Describe that. 

WIGAND:  In a way, you do feel trapped.  You feel a very deep, inner conflict between your loyalties, your loyalty to your family, and supporting and protecting your family, the supposed loyalty that you‘re supposed to have through the corporation that‘s actually paying to you support your family. 

And then you look at the hierarchy or the values, and you say, “Did those loyalties outweigh the loyalty that one has or duty one has to public health and safety?”  And after considerable deliberation, I chose the pathway that said that I had a duty and a moral obligation for the truth.  And I owed that on a hierarchy basis to public health and safety for the knowledge I gained while in the tobacco industry that would save lives. 

GREGORY:  Why did you feel you had to go to the news media?  What wasn‘t working by fighting on the inside? 

WIGAND:  It never—the tradition and the process was so embedded that I could never change it from the inside, whether it was the violation of lawyers vetting documents, or violation of rules of civil procedure with the lawyers, or statements inside that we‘re in a nicotine delivery business and tar is the negative baggage, that we hook them young, we hook them for life. 

First is what was the mantra outside.  No, nicotine is not addictive.  Smoking doesn‘t kill.  It hasn‘t been proven, the targeting of children.  I mean, just the outright misrepresentation of the fact that, when put in the right hands of the public, under what we might consider the doctrine of consumer sovereignty, consumers would make different choices. 

And those choices were taken from them, particularly because the industry wasn‘t truthful and not only engaged in what I would say immoral activities but most certainly approached the fringe of being illegal, if not fraudulent. 

GREGORY:  You obviously, Doctor...

WIGAND:  And one see...

GREGORY:  Let me interject one point here, Dr. Wigand.  You obviously felt the need at some point to put your face to this story.  In the case of Mark Felt, he did not feel that was the case.  He did not feel so moved and wanted to remain hidden for more than 30 years.  Do you sympathize with him wanting to be so secret? 

WIGAND:  Well, I have to say, in the beginning, I was secret.  From March of 1993 to August of 1995, I was secret.  I worked under a code name with the FDA.  I worked secretly with the law firm representing ABC News in a $10 billion lawsuit between ABC and Philip Morris. 

But ultimately, I felt that I had the moral imperative that I had to do something with the knowledge I had.  And I chose to go to “60 Minutes,” because I believed that they had the institution, they had the process to reach 30 to 40 million people with the truth.  And I trusted that entity to do that.  One has...

GREGORY:  Is it a good process?  Was the result good for you?  Do you feel good as a whistle-blower, or was it a painful episode in your life? 

WIGAND:  Well, there was pain in it.  I mean, I can‘t say there was no pain.  But as I look today, and I look back at what has happened and what has changed as a result of my actions and those that helped and supported me in what I chose to do, I think it‘s made a change in the way tobacco is viewed in the world today. 

And I have absolutely no regrets.  And I would most certainly do it again.  I‘m not so sure, if I went back to try do it again, I could change the tapestry or the chemistry of the soup in any way, because the alignment of stars, the support I got from both seen and unseen people, was enormous in making it happen. 

GREGORY:  You feared for your life at various points, didn‘t you? 

WIGAND:  Yes, we had to have bodyguards.  The threats were credible.  They were directed towards my children.  They weren‘t always directed towards me.  We were provided two armed ex-Secret Service guards to protect me 24/7.  The school that I was teaching at the time put an armed sheriff‘s deputy on the classroom door because of the threats. 

But in the end, no matter what, the truth did come out.  And I feel relieved that the truth did come out.  I wasn‘t a bystander. 

GREGORY:  Dr. Wigand, just—I have just got a couple of seconds left.  I‘m sorry, the satellite delay creates that interruption.  I apologize.  Just 10 seconds left.  What changes now that Mark Felt has come out?  What changes for whistle-blowers in the future? 

WIGAND:  I don‘t know what changes are—I mean, I would like to you change the word “whistle-blower” and say it‘s “truth-teller.”  I believe there is a need for people who cannot resolve and see harm being done to do something.  And I think Mark Felt did it.  I think Karen Silkwood did it.  I most certainly think Coleen Rowley did it. 

And there are lots of others who have done it and have made the world a better place by telling the truth.  I would hope more people would do it. 

GREGORY:  Dr. Jeffrey Wigand, thank you very much for being with us tonight, with the satellite delay from Montreal.  Appreciate it. 

WIGAND:  Thank you very much, Mark.  Have a good evening. 

GREGORY:  Thank you.  You, too. 

And coming up, The “Washington Post‘s” Sally Quinn on whether Deep Throat was a hero or a traitor, that debate going on, and whether the Watergate scandal would have ever been uncovered without his guidance. 

And tomorrow on “IMUS IN THE MORNING” here on MSNBC, Don will interview Bob Woodward himself for his insights.  And Chris will be back on HARDBALL at 7:00 Eastern with Leslie Stahl to talk about Deep Throat.

You‘re watching a special edition of HARDBALL only on MSNBC.


MILISSA REHBERGER, MSNBC ANCHOR:  MSNBC keeps you up-to-the-minute every 15 minutes.  Hi, everyone.  I‘m Milissa Rehberger. 

A landslide in Laguna Beach, California, destroyed or damaged 18 very expensive homes today.  Another 350 homes were evacuated as a precaution.  Last winter‘s heavy rains are thought to be the cause of this. 

Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld warned Iraq‘s neighbors any country aiding Iraqi terror leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi would be helping someone with blood on his hands.  The warning appears to be a veiled threat to Syria. 

And (UNINTELLIGIBLE) says Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas underwent heart angioplasty at a hospital in Jordan to clear out a clogged artery.  Meanwhile, Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon announced that he and Abbas will hold their second summit on June 21st.  They previously met in February.

GREGORY:  We‘re back with this special edition of HARDBALL, “Deep Throat: The Impact on History.” 

Trying to figure out the identity of Deep Throat has been one of Washington‘s favorite guessing games for the past 30 years.  Yesterday, the world finally found out it was former FBI official Mark Felt.

Someone who knows most of Washington‘s secrets is “Washington Post” journalist and author Sally Quinn.  Sally, welcome. 


GREGORY:  This is one secret you didn‘t know though?

QUINN:  I actually didn‘t know it.  And I never asked my husband, Ben Bradlee, who Deep Throat was.  I just had too much pride, for one thing. 

GREGORY:  Pride, why?  You didn‘t think he‘d tell you?

QUINN:  Well, I knew he wouldn‘t tell me.  And I didn‘t want to be turned down. 

GREGORY:  Really?  You never found the moment to push? 

QUINN:  I never asked him.  No one can believe that.  All of our friends...

GREGORY:  Didn‘t that drive you nuts? 

QUINN:  Well, I‘ll tell you.  What I felt was that I didn‘t want Ben to tell me.  I wanted to know, but I—no, let‘s put it this way.  I didn‘t want to not know. 

In Washington, knowledge is power.  And the people who know the secrets are the people who sort of strut around, and you know, “We know the secrets,” and everybody wants to be near them so they got—I mean, I don‘t think my husband ever made a speech in his life, nor have I, where we were not asked who Deep Throat was.  I mean, literally, in 30-some years...

GREGORY:  You know what I realized today?  That I was a seventh grader doing a story on anonymous sources.  And I called Ben Bradlee‘s office as a seventh-grader and tried to get through. 

QUINN:  Did you really? 

GREGORY:  And I just remember his secretary saying, “He doesn‘t talk about Deep Throat.  And neither should you.” 

Well, how did this happen?  I mean, of all the secrets in Washington that people would like to crack, this one could never been cracked.  How did it happen? 

QUINN:  Well, I think Ben didn‘t tell me, for one thing.  Although, I can be the sphinx, if I have to.  No, it‘s the most extraordinary situation I‘ve ever seen.  I don‘t know a secret like this that‘s ever been—where everybody is trying to find out the answer to it. 

But I think that, you know, it was Bob Woodward, and Carl, and Ben. 

And then Woodward told his wife, Elsa.  And Mark Felt, originally, for

years, and years, and years—and then I gather Mark Felt told a woman who was a friend of his who told her son.  But that was much later on. 

And everyone was sworn to secrecy.  Ben was sworn to secrecy.  I mean, part of the reason I didn‘t want Ben to tell me is because I didn‘t want him to go back on his word.  I mean, I knew he wouldn‘t tell me.  And I didn‘t want him to, because he is a man of integrity.  And I just felt that it would be wrong for him to tell me.  And it wasn‘t his secret to tell. 

GREGORY:  When it got a point, though, where people were asking point-blank, Ben Bradlee, Bob Woodward, Carl Bernstein...

QUINN:  “Who is Deep Throat?”

GREGORY:  Well, not only who, but isn‘t it Mark Felt?  And then they denied it.  Should they have confirmed it at that point?

QUINN:  Well, they never denied it.  What they said was, “We don‘t talk about Deep Throat.”  I think it—I think the one thing they did say was it was a man.  And then recently Mark Felt had been—had had a stroke.  And so we all knew that, I mean, those of us who were close. 

I mean, Ben told me that, that Deep Throat had had a stroke, and that he was very old, and that they were afraid he was going to die, and the “Post” was working on the obit.  And I think they brought in the editor of the “Post” at that point and told him because they had to know.  They were trying to decide how to deal with his death and how to break the story once he died. 

But I don‘t think anybody had any idea this was going to happen.  This was a total shock to everybody at the paper.  I mean, yesterday morning, I mean, Ben found out yesterday morning.  I found out.  Bob found out.  It was a complete surprise. 

GREGORY:  Was it a disappointment, in some ways, not doing it on their terms? 

QUINN:  Well, I don‘t think anybody felt that.  I mean, I think there was probably a little bit of relief.  And I think everyone felt so grateful to Mark Felt for what he had done.  It‘s nice for him to still be alive and to still be able to enjoy some of the accolades that he‘s getting now. 

And it‘s his story.  You know, it‘s his story.  He‘s the one who did it.  And I think he should be getting the credit for it. 

GREGORY:  I want to talk more about the impact of this and also some of the larger questions about anonymous sources, and about him, and whether he did the right thing.  We‘re going to take a break first, though.

We‘re going to be back with Sally Quinn in just a moment.  And when we return, we‘ll hear part of Chris‘ interview with actor Robert Redford who played Bob Woodward, of course, in “All the President‘s Men.”  This is a special edition of HARDBALL, only on MSNBC.


GREGORY:  And we are back with the “Washington Post‘s” Sally Quinn. 

Here is an exchange last night on HARDBALL between Chris Matthews and Robert Redford, the actor who portrayed Bob Woodward, of course, in “All the President‘s Men.”


CHRIS MATTHEWS, MSNBC HOST:  Bob, did they tell you roughly who Deep Throat was, or anything about him, when they were quizzing them on the movie backdrop, the back story? 

ROBERT REDFORD, ACTOR:  No.  Obviously, it was a huge attraction for me because of its cinematic theatrical value.  I courted it in the very beginning.  And Bob and Carl—it was mostly Bob, because Bob had the contact. 

Bob chose not to reveal.  And I chose to honor that.  I didn‘t feel it was my position to be aggressive about it.  And I didn‘t.  But no, he never told me.  I never asked.  I speculated. 

MATTHEWS:  And what was your guess?  What was your guess, Bob, in terms of the last third of a century to think about this? 

REDFORD:  Well, in the beginning when it was hot, there were a whole bunch of names that went around, which I won‘t bore you with.  But over time, I certainly remember that thinking that whoever did this, whoever leaked, must have had some—I‘m not going to say vendetta—but some reason for doing it, either the integrity was being threatened of the institution itself. 

I did feel it probably was somewhere around the FBI, because I‘d thought that they had some stake in it.  I figured it was probably Patrick Gray.  And Mark Felt—there was a lot of speculation in—there‘s a lot of revision thinking about, “Oh, well, I thought all the while.”  No, I didn‘t.  But I did think it probably was in FBI. 


GREGORY:  Sally Quinn, there‘s a contrary view to the view about Mark Felt over the last couple of days.  And that is, did he really do the right thing?  I mean, we‘re reporters.  We want information.  But was leaking to the “Washington Post” the right way to handle his grievances? 

QUINN:  Well, you know, leaking is really an honorable tradition in Washington.  People leak stories so that they will get out and so the public will be informed and often for the better. 

I think Mark Felt is a hero, because he really risked his job, and some might even say his life, by telling Bob Woodward the things that he told him and by steering him in the right direction.  I mean, we had a very, very corrupt government.  And they were not beyond, some would say—and there were some crazies—they were not beyond murder. 

And I think that this country would have been absolutely devastated if Nixon had continued on and Watergate had not been found out.  I think...


GREGORY:  Do you think he wouldn‘t have been found out without his guidance? 

QUINN:  Well, Bob and Carl used him as a sort of secondary source in the beginning to confirm their story.  So I think that, certainly, they would have been reporting it. 

But ultimately, it was very scary to go up against the government when you‘re being called a liar and a traitor, and when the whole White House organization is coming down on you.  And I think “The Post” would have been a lot less willing to print some of the stories had they not had his verification of some of the information. 

GREGORY:  Nobody knows this town better than you do.  What‘s it been like these last couple of days?  I mean, not only reliving a story that defined a generation, but also reliving the debate about all of this, as well? 

QUINN:  Well, first, it‘s been wild, as you can imagine.  I mean, when the story broke, the phones started ringing.  Everybody was running around. 

And I didn‘t go into the newsroom yesterday just because I didn‘t have anything to do there.  I wasn‘t working on a particular story.  But everybody who was in the newsroom yesterday, the old people who had been there during Watergate, just said it was just like the old times.  I mean, there was just an enormous amount of electricity. 

And all the younger reporters were going around saying, “Oh, my God,” you know, Bernstein, Woodward, Bradlee, is this what it was really like?  And it was, I mean, in those days.  It was just extraordinary to be in the newsroom.

You can‘t imagine how exciting it was, and how everyday there was a story was being broken.  And I was working in the Style section, so I was doing profiles of the Watergate characters.  So I was part of it in that way. 

GREGORY:  What do you think we‘re going to learn about Mark Felt? 

QUINN:  Well, I—probably not much more.  I think he was a patriot.  I think he was a person who was really deeply disturbed by what was happening in the government.  And I think that he did what he felt was right. 

He clearly didn‘t do it to make money or for self-aggrandizement, otherwise he would have let the secret out.  And in fact, I think he was reluctant to go for it this time.  So I think that what we now know of him is, is that this is a man, an honorable man, and somebody who cared about his country. 

GREGORY:  Sally Quinn, thank you very much.  Appreciate you being here. 

In a moment, former CBS chief Watergate correspondent Daniel Shore who was on President Nixon‘s list of enemies.  He‘s going to be with us, along with former Nixon White House speechwriter Pat Buchanan. 

And tomorrow on HARDBALL, Chris interviews legendary news woman Leslie Stahl.  That‘s 7:00 p.m. Eastern on HARDBALL.

You‘re watching a special edition of HARDBALL, only on MSNBC.



GREGORY:  Welcome back to a HARDBALL special edition, “Deep Throat:

The Impact on History.”  I‘m David Gregory, sitting in tonight for Chris Matthews.

The revelation that Mark Felt is Deep Throat raises the question of whether Watergate would have ever been uncovered without his cooperation.  Also, are anonymous sources needed to cover the modern presidency?

Our guests are Daniel Schorr, who was number 17 on the so-called enemies list compiled by President Nixon‘s White House and CBS News chief Watergate correspondent.  He‘s now with National Public Radio, of course.  And MSNBC‘s own Pat Buchanan, who, as I think most people know, was a White House aide to President Nixon. 

Welcome back to both of you. 

Daniel Schorr, I want to begin with you with a point of debate over the past couple of days.  And it‘s about Mark Felt and what he did.


GREGORY:  And whether he had a choice.  Is this how he should have handled his grievance with the Nixon administration?  Should he have leaked? 

SCHORR:  I can only speak as a journalist.  I‘m glad he leaked.  Whether he should have or shouldn‘t have is something between him and the Nixon administration. 

I stand outside when somebody gets upset enough to do this unbelievable thing of going out, as he did, and telling a journalist or journalists what had happened.  I have to tell you, I‘m on the side of people who want more information.  So, I love it. 

GREGORY:  Pat Buchanan, you have a different view. 


I think that Mark Felt was a—I mean, he‘s entrusted with the secrets of the administration.  He‘s number two at the FBI.  If he felt there was an investigation that was going awry or something was wrong, he should have gone Pat Gray and said, we have got to go see the president.  The White House is interfering with our investigation.  And if he thought Gray was wrong, I think the honorable thing to do—I mean Richardson resigned.  Ruckelshaus resigned.  I didn‘t agree with it. 

The honorable thing to do, I think, would have been gone up, stand up and say, look, something is wrong with this investigation.  I believe the White House may be involved.  I‘m not going to be a part of it.  And I think people would have said, he was pretty heroic.  But, instead, he sneaks around garages and he hands information that the White House had gotten in investigations to a hostile newspaper.  Clearly, “The Washington Post” had hated Nixon since the Hiss days.

And then he hides that information, that he‘s doing this, and he goes out and he lies about it for 30 years.  Now, if it was honorable and if it was heroic, why, even after he left the FBI, didn‘t he say, look, I did this and I want to say why I did it?

GREGORY:  But how could he have come forward, when you had—I mean, his major grievance was that the Nixon White House was interfering with the investigation, even—and that his boss was also culpable of that.  Where was he going to go? 


BUCHANAN:  Well, look, I thought myself at one point I was going to resign over Nixon‘s policy towards Taiwan.  Lots of men inside the administration quit over policy matters.  A friend of mine did quit over China policy.  Go to the press club.  He would have had standing-room-only there and say, here‘s what I want to tell you as an FBI agent with more than 20 years experience what is going on. 

And he would have busted this wide open.  Why did he do the sneaky thing and lie about it for 30 years? 

SCHORR:  Well, it‘s fairly clear why he did what you call the sneaky thing.  And that was, he was the number two, the associate director of the FBI. 

After the death of J. Edgar Hoover, he counted on succeeding to that position.  Instead, they passed over him and went to L. Patrick Gray, who knew nothing about the FBI.  And he didn‘t take that lightly.  Secondly, there was the fact that White House people like John Dean were sitting in on FBI interrogations.  And he had reason to fear that what would happen would be that the cover-up would succeed and the FBI would be blamed for a bungled—for a bungled investigation.

So, what he was doing was to say, if they won‘t tell you what‘s going on, I guess I‘ll have to. 

GREGORY:  Daniel Schorr, wasn‘t there—was there any clear moment when he could have done what Pat suggests, which is go over to the press club? 

You‘re not the first Republican who suggested that to me today.

Go up and stand up and say, this is wrong and you ought to look into this, members of the media.  Was there any clear point at which he could have done that?

SCHORR:  At any point, he could have done that, but he didn‘t do that. 

I mean, we deal with what we have. 

BUCHANAN:  This is why, Daniel, I think what we have got here is a sneak.  You know, he was involved co-intel program.  He was doing the black bag jobs for the FBI.  He knew that.  He was no saint. 

And then he is suddenly upset because he finds out there‘s a dirty tricks operations, where they‘re sending pizzas to the Muskie‘s rally.  So, that has to be given to “The Washington Post.”  You said that people have a right to know. 

SCHORR:  Yes. 

BUCHANAN:  They have a right to know the motives of people who come to them and say, here.  Here is some good stuff which hurts X.  People have a right to know the character, the motivation of the leakers, in my judgment.  Now, let‘s suppose I was in the administration.

SCHORR:  And we count on journalists like you to get that part of it and tell what the motives were.  That‘s additional information, always welcome.


BUCHANAN:  Look, if someone comes out of an administration and is leaking stuff, I think a journalist, after a while, you‘re going to protect their source, but you‘re going to say people inside the information who believe the president‘s policy is dead wrong say this, or conservative critics.


GREGORY:  But, Pat, this wasn‘t a matter of policy.  This was not policy that he was dropping a dime on.  These were practices. 


BUCHANAN:  Well, look, he was not.  He was in charge an investigation. 

Look, there‘s an investigation...


GREGORY:  An investigation that believes was compromised. 

BUCHANAN:  There‘s investigations going on right now into an alleged Israeli spy ring. 

There‘s the plane investigation.  Would it be fair if the FBI said, you know, I don‘t think this is moving fast enough; let‘s give out the names of all the suspects?  You damage reputations and names.  The people who decide who is going to be named in an indictment are the U.S. attorneys after they get all the information.  They say, look, this is garbage.  We‘re going to have to indict this guy.  You don‘t drop this stuff out in the middle of the campaign to a hostile institution. 

Let me say one more thing in terms of motivation.  He‘s got two motives.  One of them is, he‘s bitter.  The second is, he‘s sucking up to “The Washington Post.”  Why weren‘t—why doesn‘t anyone address these motives today?

GREGORY:  Daniel Schorr, go ahead.

SCHORR:  We do.  I just said that, that he had two reasons counted as motives.  One of them was that he had been passed over for director.  And the other was that he thought the reputation of the FBI would be hurt by the cover-up. 

GREGORY:  Let me ask you a question, though, about anonymous sources. 

SCHORR:  Sure.

GREGORY:  Do we—don‘t we need anonymous sources to find out what is really going on in the government? 

SCHORR:  Yes.  I think, if we didn‘t have anonymous sources, we‘d be much the poorer.  A lot of things would have happened.  If the Nixon administration hadn‘t been caught at the moment it had, heaven knows what would have happened.  Nixon at that point was planning, after being reelected, to send sort of people down to every one of the government departments to help run these departments from the White House.

BUCHANAN:  That‘s what you do when you win an election. 

I‘ll tell what you would have happened.  We might have won the Vietnam War and one million Cambodians might not have died.  And all those Vietnamese might not be in prison camps and on boats in the South China Sea. 

SCHORR:  Well, Pat...


BUCHANAN:  Look, the Nixon—look, the Nixon administration.

GREGORY:  But, Pat, but, Pat...


BUCHANAN:  Hold it.  Wait a minute.

GREGORY:  But you made this argument—go ahead.  Finish your thought and then we‘ll...

BUCHANAN:  Let me say this.  Here‘s a thought. 

The Nixon administration went up against “The Post” on the left and CBS.  We won 60 percent of the country, 49 states.  The country wanted Nixon‘s leadership.  They had seen him for four years.  And to suggest that somehow something horrible was going to happen because we were going to manage the departments tighter is preposterous. 

GREGORY:  We‘re going to come right back with Daniel Schorr and Pat Buchanan after this break. 

Plus, we‘ll hear from the editor of “The Washington Post” during Watergate, Ben Bradlee. 

This is a special edition of HARDBALL, only on MSNBC. 


GREGORY:  Coming up on this special edition of HARDBALL, we‘ll hear from Ben Bradlee, editor of “The Washington Post” during Watergate. 

HARDBALL returns in a minute. 


(NEWS BREAK)        

GREGORY:  Welcome back to the special edition of HARDBALL, “Deep Throat: The Impact on History.”

Ben Bradlee, “The Washington Post”‘s executive editor at the time of Watergate, said he was amazed that the mystery of Deep Throat endured for over 30 years. 

And, as NBC‘s Andrea Mitchell reports now, the stakes were, indeed, very high for the newspaper. 



Woodward and Bernstein, the two reporters and their boss, Ben Bradlee, kept Washington‘s biggest secret for three decades, since the days when everything was on the line. 

(on camera):  How tough it was? 

BEN BRADLEE, FORMER “WASHINGTON POST” EDITOR:  We didn‘t know what President Nixon and the people closest to him were up to. 

MITCHELL:  Is it hard for a newspaper to go up against a popular reelected president? 

BRADLEE:  That‘s my kind of hard.  I like that.  If you‘re right, it isn‘t hard.

MITCHELL (voice-over):  Mark Felt had been an FBI source of Woodward on local stories.  But why did he risk helping “The Post” take on the president of the United States? 

BRADLEE:  He plainly felt that there was—the stakes were incredibly high and that it was up to him to act.  I think he‘s a great hero in this story. 

MITCHELL:  Bradlee himself didn‘t know Felt‘s identity for two years, only that Deep Throat‘s information was never wrong.  Then, in August 1974, Nixon resigned.  “The Post” was again under fire. 

BRADLEE:  So, Bob and I took a walk down to McPherson Square here, sat on a park bench.  And I said, who the hell is he?  I‘ve got to know.  And he told me right away.  It lasted three minutes, the whole conversation. 

I didn‘t tell a soul.  And if you want to know, did I tell Sally?  No, I didn‘t. 

MITCHELL:  Sally Quinn, a “Post” reporter, later to become Bradlee‘s wife. 

QUINN:  I never asked Ben who Deep Throat was, because I didn‘t want him to tell me no.  I can‘t stand to be rejected.  

MITCHELL:  Now “The Post”‘s old adversaries are on the attack again. 

BRADLEE:  It makes me sick to hear Gordon Liddy talk about morality in government.  He hasn‘t been out of jail all that long. 

MITCHELL:  Bradlee says this is a good civics lesson and good for journalism. 

BRADLEE:  We behaved responsibly and, for a long time, kept our word. 

MITCHELL:  Andrea Mitchell, NBC News, Washington. 


GREGORY:  And we‘re back with Pat Buchanan and Daniel Schorr. 

Pat Buchanan, why wasn‘t there a higher calling in this case to expose the truth?  And how do you react to Ben Bradlee saying that Gordon Liddy and you and others who are offering moral judgments about Mark Felt are simply apologists for what when on in the Nixon administration? 

BUCHANAN:  No.  I think what Nixon did, clearly, was wrong.  And he made terrible mistakes.  And partly as a result of his mistakes, he was destroyed, but he was destroyed also by his political enemies. 

You got Ben Bradlee there.  Here‘s a fellow that knew John F. Kennedy was engaged in conduct that was reprehensible on a personal level.  And because he was a friend, he covered up for him.  Ben Bradlee ran “The Washington Post” in the mid-1960s, when the FBI wiretapped Martin Luther King, got photographs of him in compromising positions.

Those were leaked to the journalist, who did not publish them, but they knew exactly in the White House who was doing it, and they covered up for it.  Now, David, here‘s the point in the Nixon White House.  We weren‘t saints in there.  And Nixon made mistakes.  But there was a belief that “The Washington Post” is an institution and the journalists in this town hated Nixon, were out to get him and they covered up for sins and crimes that were far greater in the Kennedy and Johnson administrations.

And when they got Nixon and he stumbled, they put the knife in. 


BUCHANAN:  Like what they did with Martin Luther King.  Was there anything Nixon did more squalid than taking photographs of him in compromising behaviors and taking the wiretaps of him and leaking them to journalists, who did not then report?  People know exactly—I know who did that in the White House.  I won‘t say now because it‘s too long past.  But they knew right here in this town who did it. 

GREGORY:  Is there any equivalency here? 

SCHORR:  No, I have a prejudice that I have to reveal to you.  To be reunited with Pat Buchanan after these years is a very interesting experience for me, because, back in 1971, I criticized on CBS a speech that Pat had written for President Nixon.  And the next thing that happened was that the FBI was on my doorstep.  Pat Buchanan had talked to the president and said, why do we let this guy get along with...


GREGORY:  You were on the enemies list. 

SCHORR:  And I also was on the enemies list, but also had a special FBI investigation, which, when it was revealed, made them manage the thing by saying that they were considering me for a White House job. 

Remember those days? 


BUCHANAN:  I remember the days well. 

But, now, look, I testified before the Watergate Committee in 1973 for five-and-a-half hours.  and if anything like this had been done by Pat Buchanan, it would have been brought up.  It is not true that I ordered the FBI or knew the FBI was interested in Daniel Schorr‘s tax return or anything else. 

SCHORR:  I didn‘t say ordered.

GREGORY:  Gentlemen, we‘re going to have to leave it there. 

But, before we do, one question to Daniel Schorr.  Would Watergate have been unraveled without Deep Throat? 

SCHORR:  It would have been more difficult. 

There was one other very signal event, in addition to Deep Throat, and that was one of the—one of the Watergate convicted burglars, Jim McCord, wrote a letter to Judge Sirica, telling him that it was a cover-up and that people were being paid for their silence.  And that, along with Deep Throat, were probably together the reasons. 

GREGORY:  We‘re going to have to leave it there.

BUCHANAN:  I agree.  I agree with the McCord thing.

I think—I mean, look, Woodward and Bernstein did a good job covering this thing.  But I think the real thing was Sirica and the McCord thing in March.

GREGORY:  We got to go.

Thanks to both of you, Daniel Schorr and Pat Buchanan.

When we come back, we‘ll be joined by Paul Farhi of “The Washington Post.” 

This is a special edition of HARDBALL, only on MSNBC. 


UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  The dominant reaction around the world after President Nixon announced his resignation was a sense of relief that uncertainties in Washington had ended.  There were also expressions of admiration for the American democratic system. 



GREGORY:  And we are back on this special edition of HARDBALL. 

Paul Farhi is with “The Washington Post,” and he wrote today‘s story about how “Vanity Fair” scooped his own paper on the identity of Deep Throat. 

Well, Paul, how did it happen?  It certainly came as a shock to everyone, right?

PAUL FARHI, “THE WASHINGTON POST”:  We were certainly shocked by it. 

We were blindsided. 

This goes back a couple of years, actually.  A lawyer named John O‘Connor got to know the grandson of Mark Felt at a dinner given for his daughter.  He recognized that the grandson had this connection to Mark Felt, became friends with the family, provided legal advice, and then pitched “Vanity Fair” basically with a cold call.  And from there, events began to tumble. 

They kept incredible secrecy and confidentiality.  We couldn‘t have possibly known. 

GREGORY:  You know, Paul, we are going to learn more, I am sure, about Mark Felt in the weeks and the months to come, but this was a guy who really seemed bothered by what he had done, frankly.  And it looked like he had to be convinced to come forward.  Is that your take on it as well? 

FARHI:  Well, certainly. 

He kept his own secret for 33 years.  “The Post” kept its bargain as well for all that time.  Clearly, if you are keeping a secret 33 years, you have a certain amount of problem with what you did.  I think he was very conflicted.  He was very conflicted with coming forward.  But this is a 91-year-old man.  He probably realized that his life would not go on forever. 

His family certainly realized that, and they felt he was a hero.  They also wanted to cash in on his—on his glory as well. 

GREGORY:  Do you think there are too many anonymous sources today?  Do you think what began with him has proliferated and gotten out of control? 

FARHI:  Too many is hard to know. 

I would say that the practice is widespread, and it is widespread for a very good reason.  Journalists certainly want accurate information, but they also want the best information.  And, as you well know from your reporting, the best information usually comes from the people highest in government, highest in—and closest to the information itself. 

When you get to that level, the stakes go up, and people have a lot at stake when they provide information to a reporter.  There are a lot of very good reasons why they need to stay anonymous.  And reporters do offer that to them in exchange for information.  It benefits everyone, frankly. 

GREGORY:  Do you think this is a fair debate to be having about his motives?  The fact that he clearly had mixed motives, Mark Felt did, did that compromise what he did in any way? 

FARHI:  Well, I certainly the Pat Buchanans of the world are going to make that case, which you can certainly interpret from a political bias and a political slant, but so be it.  I—I think Mark Felt was a very, very dedicated FBI agent, and he felt that the code of honor of FBI agents was that you didn‘t leak information. 

But I also felt that he was in a compromised position.  He felt that the Nixon White House was interfering with the FBI and that the only way he was going to get this information out was to leak it to “The Washington Post.” 

GREGORY:  Paul Farhi with “The Washington Post,” thanks very much for being with us tonight. 

FARHI:  Thank you, David. 

GREGORY:  Chris will be back at 7:00 p.m. Eastern tomorrow night with more HARDBALL.  His guest, legendary “60 Minutes” correspondent Lesley Stahl. 

And tomorrow morning, don‘t forget, Bob Woodward will be on “IMUS IN THE MORNING” right here on MSNBC.

Right now, it‘s time for “SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY.”

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