Felt’s Dark Side

At the same time Deep Throat was leaking information to Bob Woodward, Assistant FBI Director Mark Felt was authorizing illegal searches and burglaries against relatives and friends of Weather Underground fugitives. “There was no instruction to me,” he is quoted in the Church Committee’s report. “Nor do I believe there is any instruction in the Inspector’s manuals, that inspectors should be on the alert to see that constitutional values are being protected.” Felt authorized a break-in at the New York apartment of Jennifer Dohrn, the sister of Weatherwoman Bernardine Dohrn. The agents read Jennifer’s mail, including love letters from John Johnson in Echo Park. Johnson is now the editor of Change-Links, a monthly paper featuring a calendar of events for the progressive community in Los Angeles. Felt was convicted of, among other crimes, the break-in at Jennifer’s place. “All they did,” observed the jury, “was read love letters.” When Ronald Reagan became president, he pardoned Felt before he served time. Jennifer found out from reading her own Freedom of Information files that there had been a plan to kidnap her baby to force Bernardine to surrender. She was tipped off by a reporter that the FBI agents stole a pair of her panties and put them in a glass case, which they gave to Felt. Johnson, in an interview, said he has come to terms with Felt’s intimidation of Jennifer and Deep Throat’s role in Nixon’s downfall. “No mixed feelings,” he said. “I would assume his efforts in bringing Nixon down had little to do with justice but some fraternal war the FBI was having with the White House, who were overtaking their powers.”


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