The Greatest Whistleblower of All Time

Squeezed June 2, 2005

W. Mark Felt. W. Mark Felt.

Nah, I like Deep Throat better.

But considering the prurient origin of the name, the 91-year-old Felt is the last person you’d ever associate with the name Deep Throat. He doesn’t look like a porn star. Although he does bear a uncanny resemblance to another politician known for his sexual escapades…

All kidding aside, the ultimate anonymous source made himself known this week, thus solving probably the greatest mystery of contemporary American history.

Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein kept Deep Throat’s secret for 33 years. That’s longer than I’ve been alive. The only other person who knew of Deep Throat’s secret identity was Benjamin Bradlee, editor of the Washington Post.

And the two Watergate reporters would have revealed his identity only after his death, but Felt beat them to the punch. Why he did so now is unclear…there were reports that Felt was “near death,” but Felt looked rather healthy in the photos in the paper.

Such is the power of anonymous sources, that they can bring down corrupt governments, as well as spark riots halfway across the world. On the whole, if it weren’t for anonymous sources and whistleblowers, Enron and other companies would still be worth billions as they bilked their stockholders out of their money. Our soldiers would still be abusing prisoners at Abu Ghraib. And President Clinton’s indiscretion would never have become public. On balance, we wouldn’t have a free press without them.

And we need people with strong senses of ethics, who are not afraid to do the right thing, even when it puts them into opposition with their environment. We really need more people like Mark Felt.

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