It Began With A High-Ranking Person in the FBI Leaking Information …
... and what happened next is history.
Ok, here is the scoop:
A very high-ranking person in the FBI, who illegally started leaking information about what went on during the lead up to the presidential election, started an avalanche and upended the political process in the entire country.
His leaks, though they were illegal and jeopardized his career, aroused incredible interest around the world. An entire presidential campaign was eventually exposed and evidence indicated that the campaign had been using dirty tricks to unfairly sway the election and then engaged in a massive cover-up, replete with lies and denials of guilt.
The clue that broke the entire case open and exposed the corruption was the clue the agent provided: “Follow the money.” The rest is history.
The FBI agent led investigators to a trove of evidence that provided damning evidence of the extent of the corruption and lying involved. The trail of culpability led to the highest office in the country. However, the president and many in his party roundly condemned the leaks and blatantly denied any credibility to the sources used in the investigation.
The clue that broke the entire case open and exposed the corruption was the clue the agent provided: “Follow the money.”
The rest is history.
A list of the principal actors in the story:
- The FBI agent: Mark Felt aka “Deep Throat.”
- The sources: FBI and local law enforcement investigations kept hidden during the election.
- The campaign: The 1972 re-election campaign of Richard Nixon.
- The president: Richard M. Nixon, forced to resign in disgrace.
- The prosecutors: The mainstream media, led by The Washington Post, and then eventual congressional hearings led by Senators Sam Erwin (D), Howard Baker (R), counsel Fred Thompson (R) and others.
- The (former) candidate: Richard M. Nixon, president of the United States. He resigned scarcely a year after the hearings began.
Fast forward to 2016
We have another presidential campaign embroiled in scandal, accused of unfairly swaying the primaries and possibly the election itself through dirty tricks, withholding evidence which might implicate the candidate, and possibly lying under oath (certainly before the media). In addition, there is further evidence of possible widespread corruption and criminal acceptance of money from foreign and other “donors” while the candidate served as the U.S. Secretary of State.
What are the similarities between 1972-74 and 2016?
- The likelihood of corruption. However, 2016 appears far worse. Watergate was a cover-up for breaking into the DNC headquarters to steal intelligence which might influence the 1972 campaign. The 2016 cover-up involves the mishandling of national secrets, destruction of evidence, obstruction of justice, possible perjury, and contempt of Congress. Beyond that new and growing investigations are targeting very likely corruption in accepting payments and “gifts” from donors in exchange for political and State Department favors.
- The exposure of the campaign dirty tricks and cover-up: It has especially been documented by foreign media, using leaked sources, (Wikileaks); and by US-based investigative media (Project Veritas and others).
- Bald-faced lies, denials and evasion of truth on the part of both candidates.
- The uncovering of vast troves of documented evidence proving the culpability of both candidates and exposing the mentality and massive deception practiced by the organizations around them. In Watergate, it was audio tapes. In 2016 it is emails, uncovered both by the FBI and by hackers.
Here is a huge difference:
The American media relentlessly pursued the cover-up in 1972 and beyond. Reporters and editors won Pulitzers. They were heroes. Now they are relatively silent or seemingly providing air cover for the president and the candidate in question.
- In 1972 the president was Republican, while the media was liberal. In 2016 The current president and candidate are both Democrats while the media is even more liberal.
- The FBI has done many investigations on the 2016 candidate (and a number are still ongoing). Despite FBI Director James Comey’s vacillation, large numbers of agents reportedly are insisting on the rule of law and are revolting against the reluctance of their superiors to recommend prosecution.
- In 2016 the Attorney General and the Department of Justice appear transparently involved in the political agenda of the Obama administration. The Attorney General, Loretta Lynch, admitted to meeting secretly with the candidate’s husband during the investigation, and reportedly has put enormous pressure on the FBI to limit or curtail its investigations during the election cycle. In contrast, during Watergate, the Attorney General (Elliot L. Richardson) and Deputy Attorney General (William D. Ruckelshaus) both resigned, stating that this country must “continue to be a government of laws and not of men” when Nixon fired the Special Prosecutor Archibald Cox as the investigation turned against him.
- The Congressional Watergate committee functioned in a very bipartisan (many called it “patriotic”) way. Arguably the most relentless prosecutor was Sen. Howard Baker, R-Tenn., who was investigating a president from his own party. The 2015-2016 Congressional hearings investigating mishandling classified information has been particularly obstructed by committee members loyal to the president’s (and candidate’s) party.
One last important difference:
The Watergate scandal was not revealed to the public until after the election. This one was made public just before the election — to great cries of anguish and “foul play” by the Democrats and the media.
Will this last difference spare the country similar turmoil this time?
That is up to the American people, as they vote.