Was Nixon engaging in deepthink realpolitik or just being a real man?

You tell me. As more and more information about Watergate was leaking to the press (notably Bernwood and Steinword), this conversation occurred in the Oval office, according to a taped conversation on Oct. 19, 1972:

Nixon: Well, if they’ve got a leak down at the FBI, why the hell can’t Gray tell us what the hell is left? You know what I mean? …

Haldeman: We know what’s left, and we know who leaked it.

Nixon: Somebody in the FBI?

Haldeman: Yes, sir. Mark Felt. You can’t say anything about this because it will screw up our source and there’s a real concern. Mitchell is the only one who knows about this and he feels strongly that we better not do anything because —

Nixon: Do anything? Never.

So, Nixon knew Felt—the putative “Deep Throat”—had leaked at least some of the information that brought his presidency down when, after Mark Felt retired (1973) and then later was indicted for ordering warrantless searches on the Weather Underground, Nixon testified in his behalf.

Now, you tell me: who’s the real mensch in this story?

I’d give someone a hat tip on this, but the basic facts are long well-known (that Nixon knew Felt was leaking and his testimony in Felt’s behalf).

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