Another Bulletin From the Deep Throat Desk

Gossip, speculation, and scuttlebutt about politics.
July 26 1999 11:32 AM

Another Bulletin From the Deep Throat Desk

(Continued from Page 1)

Nixon: But my point is: Who's going to hire him?

Advertisement

Dean: That's right.

Nixon: Let's face it.

Dean: He can't. He's--

Nixon: If he--the guy that does that can go out and, uh, you mean he's a--of course, he couldn't do it unless he had a guarantee from somebody like Time magazine saying, "Look, we'll give you a job for life." Then what do they do? They put him in a job for life, and everybody would treat him like a pariah. He's in a very dangerous situation. These guys you know--the informers, look what it did to [Whittaker] Chambers. ... They finished him.

Dean: Uh huh. Well, I think I, there's no--

Nixon: Either way, either way, the, the, the informer is not wanted in our society. Either way, that's the one thing people do sort of line up against. They--

Dean: That's right.

Nixon: They say, "Well, that son-of-a-bitch informed. I don't want him around." We wouldn't want him around, would we?

There's a lot going on in this exchange. As we now know, before the year was out Dean would do precisely what Nixon said Felt would never dare do--inform on Nixon--and so on one level Nixon was clearly trying to persuade Dean to keep mum. (That "We wouldn't want him around, would we?" is vintage Nixon, and it must have chilled Dean to the bone.) On a more elementary level, though, Nixon is trying to persuade both Dean and himself that Felt would never commit career suicide by blowing the whistle. That Nixon himself isn't entirely convinced is suggested by the fact that Nixon makes the point over and over, even dragging in Chambers and all but saying the man was a fool to turn in Alger Hiss. Nixon never entertains the possibility that Felt would do precisely what Limpert and Mann (and, subsequently, Nixon himself) believed Felt to have done: be an informer, but a secret informer, exacting the promise not of lifetime employment but of lifetime confidentiality that he was indeed Woodward's source.

Of course, Felt has always denied it.

TODAY IN SLATE

Justice Ginsburg’s Crucial Dissent in the Texas Voter ID Case

The Jarring Experience of Watching White Americans Speak Frankly About Race

How Facebook’s New Feature Could Come in Handy During a Disaster

The Most Ingenious Teaching Device Ever Invented

Sprawl, Decadence, and Environmental Ruin in Nevada

View From Chicago

You Should Be Able to Sell Your Kidney

Or at least trade it for something.

Space: The Next Generation

An All-Female Mission to Mars

As a NASA guinea pig, I verified that women would be cheaper to launch than men.

Terrorism, Immigration, and Ebola Are Combining Into a Supercluster of Anxiety

The Legal Loophole That Allows Microsoft to Seize Assets and Shut Down Companies

  News & Politics
Jurisprudence
Oct. 19 2014 1:05 PM Dawn Patrol Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s critically important 5 a.m. wake-up call on voting rights.
  Business
Business Insider
Oct. 19 2014 11:40 AM Pot-Infused Halloween Candy Is a Worry in Colorado
  Life
Outward
Oct. 17 2014 5:26 PM Judge Begrudgingly Strikes Down Wyoming’s Gay Marriage Ban
  Double X
The XX Factor
Oct. 17 2014 4:23 PM A Former FBI Agent On Why It’s So Hard to Prosecute Gamergate Trolls
  Slate Plus
Slate Picks
Oct. 17 2014 1:33 PM What Happened at Slate This Week?  Senior editor David Haglund shares what intrigued him at the magazine. 
  Arts
Behold
Oct. 19 2014 4:33 PM Building Family Relationships in and out of Juvenile Detention Centers
  Technology
Future Tense
Oct. 17 2014 6:05 PM There Is No Better Use For Drones Than Star Wars Reenactments
  Health & Science
Space: The Next Generation
Oct. 19 2014 11:45 PM An All-Female Mission to Mars As a NASA guinea pig, I verified that women would be cheaper to launch than men.
  Sports
Sports Nut
Oct. 16 2014 2:03 PM Oh What a Relief It Is How the rise of the bullpen has changed baseball.