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  OPEN UP AND SAY AHHH, WE NEED YOU TO BE THE NEXT DEEP THROAT.  
   
   
 

While the Nixon White House was breaking into Democratic Party headquarters or stealing files out of a psychiatrist's office, Mark Felt was paying attention. Felt, formerly a No. 2 at the FBI, was Deep Throat, the source who corroborated, confirmed and corralled information for Carl Bernstein and Bob Woodward, those intrepid Washington Post reporters.

The duo only told their editor, Ben Bradlee, of Deep Throat's identity. They vowed to ID their source only after his death. But Felt, perhaps sick of the shadows, outed himself to Vanity Fair. Nixon supporters have been critical of Felt; Pat Buchanan called him a "traitor" on Tuesday.

If Felt is a traitor, we want more of them. From unmarked CIA planes taking prisoners for more "liberal" interrogations in far-off lands to the embarrassment that is Guantanamo Bay, someone needs to step up and volunteer all the dark secrets festering in the Bush Administration. The Black Table is begging these people -- pick up a phone and spill to some nimble-minded reporter. Your country needs you.

Here are our most likely candidates:

Colin Powell

Perhaps the most obvious candidate for a latter-day Deep Throat, Powell would have a multitude of reasons for undermining the neo-conservatives that President Bush has surrounded himself with. Powell humiliated himself before the United Nations at their behest on the eve of the Iraq invasion, declaring the existence of WMDs that simply weren't there. More important than the personal slights are Powell's convictions that foreign policy simply isn't as black-and-white as the hawks in office would like it to be. It's not much of a stretch to imagine Powell leaking State Department documents to The New York Times to head off White House attempts to build a faulty case that Iran was still secretly proceeding with plans to build the Bomb. While it's hard to picture a soldier as proud as Powell indulging in vaguely traitorous behavior, it's no less strange than a J. Edgar Hoover protegé turning out to be Deep Throat. And if there's one thing that came across in GQ's profile of a burned-out Powell last year, it's that he knows how to send a message to the press through his friends and subordinates. If Powell were to ever turn Deep Throat, it would likely be through personally loyal intermediaries, and not even the next Woodward and Bernstein would know his identity.

George Tenet

What ultimately motivated Felt -- the No. 2 man at the FBI -- to set Woodward and Bernstein on the trail from Watergate to the White House? Nixon's choice of a flunkie named L. Patrick Gray to succeed the late J. Edgar Hoover as head of the FBI. Felt, a career bureaucrat, was appalled at Nixon's blatant attempt to effectively take over the Bureau. George Tenet, the retired director of central intelligence under both Bush and Clinton, would likely turn Deep Throat for the same reason -- under President Bush's plan to create a Director of National Intelligence, Tenet's successor, Porter Goss, will report to the new director. The CIA, which historically has fought tooth-and-claw with the Defense Department, FBI, NSA and every other agency it's now expected to play nice with, may actually cease to exist underneath the umbrella of "National Intelligence." So Tenet and other retired lifers would fight back by doing everything in their power to make the other intelligence agencies look bad -- including the White House's in-house intelligence arm -- in an effort to make the CIA look good. God only knows how many mistakes the CIA has made over the years (from its classic coups in Central America, Iran in the 50s and Southeast Asia, to its persistent disinterest in tracking down Osama Bin Laden pre-9/11) but a lot of other dirty laundry would come out in the wash.

Ari Fleischer

We always got the impression that nobody really told Ari much when he was the President's press secretary. He was kind of like Stuart on "Beavis and Butt-head;" the nerd they let hang around as the wimp the larger kids beat up on so everyone could go about their business in peace. That said, the guy was undeniably brilliant at his job, almost mesmerizing in his ability to spin horseshit into … well … quotable bullshit. And he had to have known something; at the very least, he could explain the ludicrousness of the party lines he had to tote. Motive here is tough to come up with, though; he wouldn't be able to stoke book sales by being anonymous, after all. Still, the guy has got to have some stories from those nine minutes of "My Pet Goat."

Thomas H. Kean

 

Tom Kean used to be governor of New Jersey and rose high in the Republican Party. President Bush appointed him chairman of the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States, a group that managed to turn a government report into a best seller. Lauded for its scrutiny and bipartisanship, the 9/11 Commission eventually found that the September 11 attacks could have been prevented. Publicizing this conclusion means that Kean is close to fearless. Besides, he is the only New Jersey aristocrat left who still speaks in a weird accent. Given his role as 9/11 Commission chairman, Kean's probably got some info to spill that didn't make it into the report, for national security reasons. He hasn't held elective office since 1990 and will soon leave as president of Drew University. His career in government at this point is limited to an elder statesman role, so Kean has little to lose. He gained massive bipartisan points for his calm stewardship of the 9/11 Commission and has become that rare species - a trusted name in government.

Christine Todd Whitman

Christie Whitman may have left the Environmental Protection Agency to spend more time with her family (yawn), but she likely got a little shove toward the door from her boss, George W. Bush. After leaving Washington, Whitman wrote It's My Party, Too: Taking Back the Republican Party… And Bringing the Country Together Again. The book is critical of the Bush Administration and the GOP, now apparently filled with "social fundamentalists." But does attacking Bush successfully deflect allegations about an EPA cover-up of air quality at Ground Zero? Only Whitman knows for sure, and now would be a great time to discuss it. As long as the GOP's ideology stays so far right, there's not much room for moderate Whitman at the trough. Running the EPA was a thrown bone of a job, so if Whitman wants to return to the action, she needs to give up a little something. How shitty was the Ground Zero air? Do you actually think that humans don't contribute to global warming? We know you know, Christie. Being a moderate Republican has got to be lonely, so come out of the wilderness and into the newsroom.

George H.W. Bush

Hear us out. Sure, fine, Dubya put the entire world's security and well-being at risk because he was trying to get the guy who "tried to kill [his] dad." And yeah, he is his dad. But think about it. With one protracted war, Bush Junior has not only eradicated almost everything his dad did in his presidency, he has stamped it -- publicly -- an embarrassment. Bush Senior is now the less important president, the one who left a mess that his son had to clean up. And considering how many of Bush Junior's policies differ from his father's, they certainly have clear disagreements. A well-placed tip here or there would make it clear who Daddy really is.

 

Aileen Gallagher and Will Leitch are managing editors at The Black Table. Greg Lindsay is a freelance reporter in New York City.