Many people in government were outraged by the sheer bulk and gravity of the corrupt activities they witnessed in the White House. Reporters were their allies and confidants. Those men, who dealt with the most sensitive national-security issues, had their worst fears confirmed by the revelation, in July, 1973, of the White House’s taping system, which recorded their meetings and conversations with the President.Over the last five years, we've seen tens of government officials sufficiently outraged by the Bush administration that they were willing to go on the record under their own names to denounce its practices. And one by one, they've all been accused of bad faith: "they're just bitter at having been passed up"--"they just want to sell books"--"Bush-hatred will gain them upper-westside cachet" and it goes on. These open leakers are discredited and destroyed in the public realm: enough fog is cast to ambiguite their clear indictments
There are deep sources who are engaging in secret Watergate-style leaks today. My favorite candidate for the first term is Dick Armitage, who not only carried water for Powell but also had a less, erm, metaphysically encumbered idea of loyalty. My sense, though, is that generally these dissonant voices are operating tactically: on a specific issue or story, putting out a politically savvy leak that had Washington as its primary target. There have been a number of leaked reports on US military abuses, but I wonder about the genuineness of these leaks, given current FOIA standards and the coordinated responses to them.
For me, what stands out in the comparisons of today to the Watergate era is this idea that one could find hard evidence of the executive's intentions. Nixon taped his offhand conversations? Was he mad? I do understand that within his worldview, it was unthinkable that anyone would ever gain access to these tapes whom he had not explicitly authorized to do so; my understanding is that these tapes represent in part his desire to control other people's conversation. But as all computer users these days now know, private data is rarely guaranteed to be such; I suspect that most politicians have learned either by example or by experience that detailed records--particularly of political skullduggery--can be used more devastatingly against oneself in the long run. The result is that the political opposition has had myriads of informants, named and otherwise but that there's been an unfortunate lack of smoking, scilllizing white-hot guns.
Oh, and there's the on-going problem at our permanent intelligence-gathering and -analyzing institutions that people feel as though their expert opinions are being warped into political talking points. Disgruntled? Clearly, some of them are. Solid proof of wrongdoing into the highest causes?