- The Washington Times - Monday, June 27, 2005

ASSOCIATED PRESS

L. Patrick Gray, the FBI chief at the time of the Watergate break-in, says he believes his deputy, W. Mark Felt, became the anonymous source known as “Deep Throat” because he was angry at being passed over as J. Edgar Hoover’s successor and wanted to sabotage Mr. Gray.

“I think there was a sense of revenge in his heart, and a sense of dumping my candidacy, if you will,” Mr. Gray told ABC’s “This Week” during an interview for yesterday’s broadcast.

Mr. Gray, who was selected to lead the FBI the day after Hoover’s death, May 2, 1972, also says he refused White House demands to fire Mr. Felt or order a lie-detector test over leaks about the Watergate investigation.

On June 17 of that year, five men were arrested in the break-in at the Democratic National Committee headquarters at the Watergate Hotel in Washington. President Nixon resigned Aug. 9, 1974.

“I think he was treacherous only to me, a man who trusted him,” Mr. Gray said of his deputy.

Mr. Gray, 88, served less than a year as acting FBI director, resigning amid accusations he had destroyed documents in the Watergate scandal.

After denying it to friends and family for decades, the 91-year-old Mr. Felt revealed last month, for a Vanity Fair article, that he had been the shadowy government figure who gave information and direction to reporter Bob Woodward of The Washington Post as he and Carl Bernstein covered Watergate. Their work is credited with helping topple the Nixon administration.

Mr. Gray was asked why Mr. Felt would have believed he could not have gone to Mr. Gray instead of the press with his concern that the Nixon White House was trying to thwart the FBI’s investigation.

“I was not a political toady for Mr. Nixon of any other politician,” Mr. Gray said. “I never felt that I was doing the White House’s bidding. And I resisted them on any number of occasions, particularly in Felt’s case.”

Mr. Woodward and Mr. Bernstein’s 1974 book “All the President’s Men” says that Deep Throat suggested Mr. Gray had blackmailed Mr. Nixon into nominating him as permanent director out of fear of what might be revealed if Mr. Gray were no longer at the agency to “keep the lid on” the Watergate investigation.

In the ABC interview, Mr. Gray denied he had blocked any investigations of Watergate. He said he had merely delayed one probe when the White House claimed the CIA was already investigating — and then continued when the CIA reported it was not pursuing that lead.

Mr. Gray said that the White House asked several times that Mr. Felt be fired and that the president himself demanded that Mr. Felt undergo a lie-detector test.

“I felt that was degrading to the second-highest official of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and I would not stoop to that,” Mr. Gray told ABC.

Mr. Felt had assured him on several occasions that he was not secretly passing along information to the press, Mr. Gray said.

Mr. Gray said he trusted Mr. Felt completely, even to the point of putting Mr. Felt in charge of investigating FBI leaks. But they continued.

“I couldn’t stop it because my No. 2 man was the guy that was doing it,” he said.


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