Anonymous sources, June 1, 2005

Published 12:00 am Friday, June 3, 2005

Mark Felts is a hero who should be honored with a Medal of Freedom.

Felts, it was revealed yesterday, was the notorious anonymous source "Deep Throat," who guided Washington Post reporters Carl Bernstein and Bob Woodward in their coverage of the Watergate scandal, which ultimately led to the resignation of President Richard Nixon and prison for top officials of his administration.

The use of anonymous sources has been under assault in the wake of Newsweek's apparently not entirely accurate report of interrogators at Guantanamo prison camp flushing copies of the Koran down the toilet to mess with the heads of Muslim detainees. The report allegedly n though it's debatable n helped touch off riots in Afghanistan that led to the deaths of many.

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Secrecy is endemic to government n whether federal, state or even local. It's used to hide the truth, manipulate the public and the media and is the slippery slope leading to tyranny.

What Woodward and Bernstein and the Post helped accomplish n with Felts' guidance n was exactly what the founders had in mind when crafting the first amendment to the constitution n setting up a free press to expose would-be tyrants in their efforts to subvert democracy.

Without using anonymous sources n people like Felts whose conscience or hidden agenda prompts them to expose misdeeds n there's no way that the people can know what their government officials are up to if the officials do not want them to find out. And that's more and more the case these days as Sunshine laws, which require certain government business to be conducted in public, are under assault nationwide and the present administration has turned secrecy into a way of life. It's happening because people don't care, or through sheer ignorance believe that government should be blindly followed. Fighting tyranny is the foundation of our government. It's what we, as Americans, are about. The light of truth is the only defense we have against it.

Felts will be praised and attacked from all sides over the coming days, but the fact remains that he helped expose a great fraud being perpetrated on the people of the United States. Regardless of his motives n he was apparently p.o.'d

over being passed over for the top job at the FBI n he made it possible for the truth to be revealed. We need more people like him.

It is a generic flaw of our representative system of government. Secrecy is endemic to government; it is the device government officialdom uses to hide the truth and to manipulate the media and the public, and is the slippery slope leading to tyranny.