Monday, December 22, 2008

The FBI's Coup

Why did W. Mark Felt and others in the FBI illegally give government secrets to Bob Woodward and other newspaper reporters? Because they were out to get Richard Nixon for his failure to honor the power-abusing legacy of J. Edgar Hoover. Writes Dan K. Thomasson:

Why was the FBI so obviously determined to bring all this to light outside official channels? A clear reason was the anger many of Hoover's lieutenants felt about Nixon's refusal to pick the director's successor from their ranks. The president appointed a Navy man, L. Patrick Gray, as acting head of an agency he and every other politician in town feared. The idea of continuing the Hoover legacy through the appointment of one of those the dreaded director had tutored was unacceptable. It has remained that way in a succession of directors with one exception, the appointment of former judge Louis Freeh, who had spent a short time as an agent during the Hoover years. His tenure was marked by dissension.

In the end, that fear furthered Nixon's demise. The bureau quite literally bit back.

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