Ben Bradlee, Set for a Vacation, Doesn’t Mind Felt Family’s Financial Motive

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By: Joe Strupp

Former Washington Post editor Ben Bradlee has no problem with W. Mark Felt’s family trying to cash in on the revelation that the former FBI official was Deep Throat.

“How does that make her different from anyone else?” Bradlee asked of Felt’s daughter, who has admitted a potential payday was a factor in convincing her father to unmask himself. “Her motive was to get him some glory, and he obviously doesn’t mind,” he told E&P this afternoon. “I don?t see anything wrong with her motives.”

In fact, he doesn’t give much credence to any of the recent criticism of the famous source. “Who is criticizing Felt?” Bradlee said. “Gordon Liddy and Chuck Colson? They don’t have much to tell America about morality.”

A week after the identity of Deep Throat was revealed — setting off days of debate and discussion over his actions and those of the Post — the former executive editor is ready for a break.

“I was getting ready to go on vacation,” Bradlee said about his disrupted plans for last week. Vanity Fair’s surprise announcement of Felt’s admission threw Bradlee — along with his former reporters Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein, into a whirlwind of TV appearances, editorial discussions, and interviews. Now he can once again focus on more relaxing matters: “I’m going to Australia and New Zealand later this month, and then I am coming home and going to Long Island for a month in East Hampton, and then later to Europe.”

The former editor also said he is planning to write a book, unrelated to Deep Throat, but he would not elaborate on the subject. He said the busy week forced him to put off discussions. Now, he said, he can get back to those efforts.

Looking back on the week that was, Bradlee said he was glad that the story unfolded the way it did, even if Vanity Fair broke the news instead of the Post, after Felt died. “If we had broken it on his death, it would have been questioned,” he told E&P. “Now it is not questioned. The only question is from [former Nixon aide John] Dean, who has identified three people in the past and doesn’t like this one.”

Bradlee added that he was surprised at the interest the revelation prompted. “I’m always surprised by the staying power of this story,” he said. “Thirty years is a long story; it has lasted a long time.” The former editor also adds that he has no plans to write anything about his involvement in the Deep Throat saga, unlike Woodward and Bernstein, both of whom will be involved in an upcoming Woodward book.

“This is their story, not mine,” he said. “It’s Woodward’s story.”

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