Watergate Leak Was Mark Felt’s Attempt to Climb Up Career Ladder, Expert Says
Holland claims that Felt, an F.B.I. official, was basically using Woodward in his quest to ascend to the role as the bureau’s director. “He thought he was the natural heir because effectively [J. Edgar] Hoover was suffering from old age, and Felt, in the last year of Hoover's life, was running the bureau,” Holland says.
But, to his chagrin, after Hoover’s death, Nixon named L. Patrick Gray as acting director. Undeterred, Felt started to give Woodward information about the Watergate break-in, hoping that would make Nixon think Gray was not doing a good job. Holland says his scheme worked at first, as Nixon began to lose faith in Gray . . . but, of course, it all backfired when Felt’s intel soon directly implicated Nixon in the Watergate scandal, and the White House, according to Holland, subsequently learned who was doing the leaking. If this was a fable about animals, now would probably be the spot for a moral about a fox learning that a little ambition can be a good thing, but overzealousness can lead to the entire forest getting destroyed, or something like that.
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