- The Washington Times - Tuesday, December 5, 2006

Without honor’

Yesterday, when we called on JohnJackMcDermott, who supervised the Watergate investigation as special agent in charge (SAC) of the FBI’s Washington Field Office, he was awaiting a scheduled visit from a Hollywood screenwriter.

The big question now is whether Hollywood will listen.

Tom Hanks has already paid Mark Felt’s family for the rights to write the screenplay on ‘Deep Throat,’ and I can only surmise that they will only be willing to proceed with this if Hanks were planning on projecting Felt in a heroic manner. You don’t make too many films about the devil,” Mr. McDermott tells Inside the Beltway.

“Our aim is to see if we can inject some degree of perspective in this thing,” he says. “So I plan to accommodate them by making myself available for the sole purpose to get the proper slant on this thing — projected in a way consistent with accuracy. You try to save what you can — keep this from becoming historic revisionism.”

Mr. McDermott makes no secret of his disdain for former FBI Deputy Director W. Mark Felt, who after decades of secrecy has conceded to being “Deep Throat.” The retired SAC has charged that Mr. Felt’s repeated leaks to the press not only compromised the Watergate probe, but placed witnesses in jeopardy.

“[A]ll other arguments seeking to justify Felt’s actions are trash,” says Mr. McDermott, handing this column yesterday a three-page, unpublished summary he has written surrounding Mr. Felt’s secret role in Watergate.

“Felt was the bureau’s Benedict Arnold,” Mr. McDermott opines. “Having been entrusted with the highest levels of military command by [Gen. George] Washington and his staff, Arnold betrayed his oath, his country and his fellow citizen-soldiers to pursue his own ambitions. Felt did no less to the bureau and his fellow agents.

“Let’s not fool ourselves,” he says. “The bureau’s reputation for faithfulness and unselfish devotion to duty has been seriously diminished by this foul episode.”

Mr. McDermott acknowledges having “long admired most of Tom Hanks’ work product,” however, the retired SAC is concerned that the Hollywood actor and director is “sold” on a belief that “Deep Throat” is a champion of truth that otherwise would have been suppressed, rather than a cowardly bushwhacker, disloyal to his fellow agents and his oath of office.”

He concludes that “some have called Felt a hero; but heroes don’t lurk in the shadows for 33 years. … The man is without honor.”

Mr. McDermott retired in September 1979 as the FBI’s deputy associate director.

Spoken by Spanish

Rob Toonkel, director of communications for U.S. English Inc., called our attention yesterday to a new Zogby International poll finding that 65 percent of Hispanics favor making English the official language of the United States.

He says the results of the poll of 903 Hispanic adults “challenges the long-standing claim that Hispanics generally oppose official-English measures. ”

Lucky 35

The National Archives on Dec. 15 will continue its moving tradition of holding a naturalization ceremony for petitioners seeking U.S. citizenship.

Chief Judge Thomas F. Hogan of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia will preside as 35 petitioners take the oath of citizenship in front of the Charters of Freedom — the Declaration of Independence, the U.S. Constitution and the Bill of Rights, which was adopted 215 years ago.

Uh-oh

Good grief, have you read the December issue of Popular Mechanics?

“Friday the 13th of April, 2029, could be a very unlucky day for planet Earth,” according to the article penned by David Noland. “At 4:36 a.m. Greenwich Mean Time, a 25-million-ton, 820-foot-wide asteroid called 99942 Apophis will slice across the orbit of the moon and barrel toward Earth at more than 28,000 miles per hour.

“The huge pockmarked rock, two-thirds the size of Devils Tower in Wyoming, will pack the energy of 65,000 Hiroshima bombs — enough to wipe out a small country or kick up an 800-foot tsunami. On this day, however, Apophis is not expected to live up to its namesake, the ancient Egyptian god of darkness and destruction. Scientists are 99.7 percent certain it will pass at a distance of 18,800 to 20,800 miles. We will have dodged a cosmic bullet. Maybe.”

Mr. Noland points out that NASA “is taking a wait-and-see attitude.”

John McCaslin, whose column is nationally syndicated, can be reached at 202/636-3284 or jmccaslin @washingtontimes.com.

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