Monday, December 22, 2008

WHAT THE WASHINGTON POST DIDN'T TELL YOU ABOUT MARK FELT

In all its self-serving coverage of the death of W.Mark Felt, its major source for its Watergate coverage, here is what the Washington Post didn't tell you:

Greg Mitchell, Editor & Publisher - Journalists and many others (rightly) lionizing the late W. Mark Felt, the former FBI official, for his contribution as "Deep Throat" in helping to bring down Richard Nixon, should not overlook the fact that Felt was one of the architects of the bureau's notorious COINTELPRO domestic spying-and-burglary campaign.

He was convicted in 1980 of authorizing nine illegal entries in New Jersey in 1972 and 1973 -- the very period during which he was famously meeting Bob Woodward in a parking garage. Only a pardon, courtesy of Ronald Reagan, kept him out of jail for a long term. . .

The chief probe of COINTELPRO and similar lawless intelligence operations was carried out by the so-called Church Committee (headed by Senator Frank Church). It issued a chilling report in 1976 that briefly had tremendous impact. Here is one section that deals with Felt:

"Internal inspection at the FBI has traditionally not encompassed legal or ethical questions at all. According to W. Mark Felt, the Assistant FBI Director in charge of the Inspection Division from 1964 to 1971, his job was to ensure that Bureau programs were being operated efficiently. . . He could not recall any program which was terminated because it might have been violating someone's civil rights.

"A number of questionable FBI programs were apparently never inspected. Felt could recall no inspection, for instance, of either the FBI mail opening programs or the Bureau's participation in the CIA's New York mail opening project. Even when improper programs were inspected, the Inspection Division did not attempt to exercise oversight in the sense of looking for wrongdoing. Its responsibility was simply to ensure that FBI policy, as defined by J. Edgar Hoover was effectively implemented and not to question the propriety of the policy. Thus, Felt testified that if, in the course of an inspection of a field office, he discovered a microphone surveillance on Martin Luther King, Jr., the only questions he would ask were whether it had been approved by the Director and whether the procedures had been properly followed.

"When Felt was asked whether the Inspection Division conducted any investigation into the propriety of COINTELPRO, the following exchange ensued:

"Mr. FELT. Not into the propriety.

"Q. So in the case of COINTELPRO, as in the case of NSA interceptions, your job as Inspector was to determine whether the program was being pursued effectively as opposed to whether it was proper?

"Mr. FELT. Right, with this exception, that in any of these situations, Counterintelligence Program or whatever, it very frequently happened that the inspectors, in reviewing the files, would direct that a certain investigation be discontinued, that it was not productive, or that there was some reason that it be discontinued.

"But I don't recall any cases being discontinued in the Counterintelligence program."

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