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June 06, 2005

Nixonites Lecture Us on Ethics

Perhaps the most bizarre thing I've seen in months: G. Gordon Liddy and Charles Colson lecturing us on ethics. Martin Schram reports:

Newsday.com: Nixon's henchmen lecture us on ethics: History's latest con happened right before our eyes Tuesday night.... [T]hose faces that just popped up in the looking-glass/screen were all the president's men, once in power and then in disgrace, more than three decades ago. Richard Nixon's ex-convicts - who did jail time for their crimes against democracy and then profited from their crimes by writing books and becoming celebrities - had returned to work one more con. Nixon's former senior White House assistant, Charles Colson, and the Nixon team's burglar-in-chief, G. Gordon Liddy, worked the cable news circuit, expressing moral indignation that the FBI's former deputy director, W. Mark Felt, was Deep Throat. He was the source who had blown their cover by feeding facts to the Washington Post's Bob Woodward - truths that helped land many in jail and drove Nixon from office.

'I was shocked because I worked with him closely,' Colson said on MSNBC. 'And you would think the deputy director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, you could talk to with the same confidence you could talk to a priest.' Then on CNN: 'I was shocked, because ... I talked to him often and trusted him with very sensitive materials. So did the president. To think that he was out going around in back alleys at night looking for flowerpots, passing information to someone, it's . . . not the image of the professional FBI that you would expect.'

Ah, image. Conjure Colson, with Nixon and others in the Oval Office, as Nixon orders a burglary at the Brookings Institution, a Washington think tank. Meanwhile on CNN, Liddy tells Paula Zahn: 'I view him [Felt] as someone who violated the ethics of the law enforcement profession.' Then, back on MSNBC, Liddy brags that not only had he plotted the burglary of the Democratic Party's Watergate offices but, 'I planned the Brookings break-in.' It wasn't done, Liddy said - 'too expensive.'...

Lost in the wailings of Nixon's men is the one thing Americans need to know to understand Felt's dilemma. Felt couldn't go to his boss... an unqualified Nixon loyalist - L.Patrick Gray III, who proved his worth by destroying documents and slipping others to officials running the White House cover-up. Felt couldn't go to the attorney general... a Nixon loyalist not trusted by many FBI hands... the Senate Watergate Committee didn't exist yet. Felt certainly couldn't go to Nixon.... So he helped his young reporter friend, Bob Woodward.

And, three decades later, these Nixon criminals popped up on our looking-glass/screens, doing their shtick. They wailed like pro wrestlers pounding the mat in feigned pain....

Posted by DeLong at June 6, 2005 08:47 PM