Hero or traitor? That's what people are calling "Deep Throat" (aka Mark Felt). People are choosing sides, as they usually do when an important news event takes place.
The ones who always believed Watergate was a nasty piece of work consider him a hero.
He put his career and his life on the line to save the country from Richard Nixon. At the time, he was the most important whistleblower in the government.
For more than 30 years, no one knew who he was. Of course he's a hero to journalists Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein -- he made them famous and rich and a credit to their profession.
Felt is admired in circles that believe in the Constitution and hate presidents who cover up crimes for the sake of politics.
I must admit that I'm one of Felt's hero worshipers.
I always suspected when Nixon said, "I am not a crook," that he really was one, and when he started talking to the paintings on the White House walls, he was going around the bend.
I believed everything Woodward and Bernstein wrote, and I trusted them.
Not everyone in America believe Deep Throat was a hero.
When the story of his identity broke, the television news producers yelled, "Get me anyone who was involved with Watergate and is mad at Mark Felt."
I watched a stream of people who worked for Nixon parade across the TV screen.
Most of them had been in jail, so it was not surprising they would not be kind to one of the people who had put them there.
Pat Buchanan was bitter (when is he not?) and called Felt a "snake."
John Dean III said the information Deep Throat supplied was only 50 percent correct. He claimed there would be egg on Throat's face when all the facts come out.
Charles Colson said Felt was wreaking revenge on Nixon because he was not made the head of the FBI.
Gordon Liddy, who has his own radio show, had nothing good to say about Felt. He said the only reason for revealing his identity now was to make money on a book.
By the way, Felt did not leak information to the reporters. He just confirmed things they already knew.
Several of those of the "traitor" persuasion had mixed feelings. They, like Al Haig, didn't approve of what Felt did, but were relieved they no longer had to prove it wasn't them.
Some of the major players that Deep Throat confirmed to Woodward and Bernstein keep showing up on the TV screen.
Nixon and John Mitchell are now in that Watergate in the sky.
Others, like Jeb Magruder and Howard Hunt are still around, but have lost faith in the FBI.
The story won't die. For years people will ask each other, "Where were you the night Deep Throat was in a garage?"
The only ones who can truthfully say are Woodward and Bernstein.
(c) 2005, Tribune Media Services