Alexander Meigs Haig, the son of a lawyer, was born in Bala Cynwyd, a suburb of Philadelphia, on 2nd December, 1924. His father died when he was ten but a prosperous uncle helped to support the family.
Haig was sent to a private school but he struggled academically and was transferred to a local high school. He wanted a military career but his teachers felt he was " definitely not West Point material". Haig's initial application to West Point failed but as a result of the huge loss of officers during the Second World War, entry qualifications were lowered and in 1944 he was admitted to the US military academy.
Haig graduated three years later as 214th in the class of 310. First Lieutenant Haig was sent to Japan and became aide-de-camp to General Alonzo Fox, deputy chief of staff to General Douglas MacArthur, the supreme Allied commander. Haig later married Fox's daughter. According to Harold Jackson: The experience of MacArthur's megalomania left an indelible impression on Haig." Haig admitted later: "I was always interested in politics and started early in Japan, with a rather sophisticated view of how the military ran it."
Haig's next assignment was to accompany his father-in-law to Taiwan, on a liaison mission to Chiang Kai-shek. Haig served as aide-de-camp to General Edward Almond in Korea. During the battle for Seoul, Haig was awarded a Bronze Star for bravery during a crossing of the Han River. Almond later awarded him two further Silver Stars for flying over enemy positions. In 1951 he was promoted to the rank of captain.
In 1953 Haig was appointed to the staff at West Point Military Academy and executive officer at Annapolis. This was followed by a period in the U.S. Naval War College. He was then assigned to a tank battalion with the American forces in Europe. Given the rank of major he was redeployed to the European Command headquarters in Germany.
In 1959 Haig began a master's degree program in international relations at Georgetown University. The topic of his thesis in 1962 was the role of the military officer in the shaping of national security policy. After completing his degree Haig went to the International and Policy Planning Division of the Pentagon. This brought him into contact with Strom Thurmond and Fred Buzhardt.
Haig was considered a hawk during the Cuban Missile Crisis. He later claimed that it disillusioned him with the way the doctrine of flexible response was applied. He complained that John F. Kennedy "never applied one iota of force" and added "I was against this. It provided an incentive to the other side to up the ante." Soon afterwards he appointed as military assistant to Joe Califano, a lawyer in the army secretary's office. In 1963 Califano arranged for Haig to assimilate into the army some of the Cuban exile veterans of the Bay of Pigs operation.
The army secretary was Cyrus Vance and when he was promoted to become deputy to the defence secretary, Robert McNamara, Califano and Haig went with him. In 1965 went to the Army War College. The following year was made operations planning officer for the First Infantry Division, stationed near Saigon. During the Vietnam War he was promoted to the rank of Lieutenant Colonel and won the Distinguished Service Cross for heroism. In 1968 he returned to the United States where he was promoted to full colonel, and went to West Point Military Academy as deputy commander.
In 1968 Haig was appointed to work under Henry Kissinger in the new Richard Nixon administration. Three years later he became Deputy Assistant for National Security Affairs. Kissinger noted in his memoirs: "Haig soon became indispensable ... By the end of the year I had made him formally my deputy. Over the course of Nixon's first term he acted as my partner, strong in crises, decisive in judgment, skilful in bureaucratic infighting."
Haig played a leading role in the overthrow the regime of Salvador Allende in Chile. Haig also helped Richard Nixon in selecting the 17 officials and journalists whose telephones were tapped by the FBI. According to Harold Jackson he was also involved in the plot to deal with Daniel Ellsberg: "He was also closely involved in the aftermath of the massive leak in 1971 of the secret history of the Vietnam war, the Pentagon Papers, when the White House moved illegally against the man responsible, Daniel Ellsberg. This loyalty was rewarded by promotion to major-general in 1972 and, six months later, by appointment as vice-chief of staff of the army, raising him to full general and allowing him to leapfrog 240 more senior officers."
After H. R. Haldeman was forced to resign over the Watergate Scandal, Haig became Nixon's Chief of Staff. In the first week of November, 1973, Deep Throat told Bob Woodward that their were "gaps" in Nixon's tapes. He hinted that these gaps were the result of deliberate erasures. On 8th November, Woodward published an article in the Washington Post that said that according to their source the "conservation on some of the tapes appears to have been erased". According to Fred Emery, the author of Watergate: The Corruption and Fall of Richard Nixon, only Haig, Richard Nixon, Rose Mary Woods, and Stephen Bull knew about this erased tape before it was made public on 20th November.
Len Colodny and Robert Gettlin, the authors of Silent Coup: The Removal of a President, claimed that Haig was Deep Throat. Jim Hougan (Secret Agenda) and John Dean (Lost Honor) agreed with this analysis. However, Haig was not in Washington during Woodward's meeting with Deep Throat on 9th October, 1972. The other problem with Haig concerns motivation. Was it really in his interests to bring down Richard Nixon? According to Leon Jaworski Haig did everything he could, including lying about what was on the tapes, in order to protect Nixon from impeachment.
1974 President Gerald Ford appointed Haig as Supreme Allied Commander of NATO. He held the post until 1979. After leaving this post he became President and Chief Operating Officer of United Technologies Corporation. In January, 1981, President Ronald Reagan appointed him Secretary of State. Haig attempted to develop a strong interventionalist policy. The Democratic speaker of the House of Representatives, Tip O'Neill, said: "Haig hadn't been secretary of state more than three weeks when he told me over breakfast that we ought to be cleaning out Nicaragua." When John Hinckley shot Reagan in an assassination attempt Haig asserted: "I'm in control here". It has been claimed that this error of judgement brought an end to his political career. Haig resigned on 5th July, 1982.
Haig ran for the Republican Party nomination for President in 1988, but he withdrew after obtaining 3% in the opinion polls. As a result he concentrated on a business career. He has been Chairman of Worldwide Associates, a senior advisor to United Technologies Corporation, and served on the Board of Directors of America Online, Interneuron Pharmaceuticals, MGM Grand and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer.
Alexander Haig died on 20th February 2010.
Under Haig, Larry Higby recalls, the day-to-day operation of the White House changed dramatically from what it had been under Higby's former boss, Haldeman. Higby told us that "The changes were fundamentally that Al controlled everything-everybody and everything." Whereas Haldeman had acted as a "general manager and coordinator as well as a personal adviser," Higby contends that Haldeman never blocked people from seeing the president, particularly Kissinger or Ehrlichman, and actually interceded to urge the president to see these men. "Bob [Haldeman] would often just glance at the stuff Henry was putting in or John was putting in or anybody else. Whereas Al tightly controlled each and every thing. I mean Al got much heavier involved in policy... Al was trying to manage the whole thing personally."
Haig's heavy hand meshed with the increasingly difficult times to heighten Nixon's isolation. Often the president would sit alone in his office, with a fire roaring and the air-conditioner running, a yellow tablet and pencil in hand, unwilling to see anyone. Stephen B. Bull, who served as a scheduler and later as a special assistant to Nixon during his entire presidency and also after his resignation, says that "The irony of Richard Nixon is that he had little trust in a lot of people, and he put too much trust in too few people.... When the world started closing in... it was quite convenient for [Nixon] to deal with Haig on a lot of matters and a lot of areas in which Haig really wasn't qualified." Bull remains angry at Haig, not because they were rivals, but because he viewed Haig as looking out for himself over Nixon.
The second Woodward and Bernstein book, The Final Days, paints a picture of a Haig who did not want to be everything to the president, and did not want to get Nixon into trouble. Bull saw precisely the opposite behavior on Haig's part during Bull's tenure as the day-to-day administrator of the president's office from February 197 3 through the August 1974 Nixon resignation. He watched with dismay as Haig "allowed the president to be isolated and indeed perhaps encouraged it." White House logs of the president's last fifteen months in office show Haig and Ziegler as the aides most often let into the inner sanctum with the president. To Bull, in those fifteen months, Haig seemed "duplicitous ... motivated by self-aggrandizement, rather than ideology or principle."
When Haig learned at a staff meeting of a decision that had been made without consulting him, Bull recalls that Haig "began pounding the table with his fist... and said two or three times, `I am the chief of staff. I make all the decisions in the White House.' We thought he was crazy." Such outbursts would characterize Haig's responses even to decisions made on nonpolicy matters such as the president's daily schedule. According to Bull, Haig at one point said, "If you think that this president can run the country without Al Haig... you are mistaken."
I was back in Washington at the request of J. Fred Buzhardt, the Special Counsel to the President appointed by Nixon after John Dean sold out and jumped ship in May 1973. At the time of his appointment, Buzhardt, a West Point classmate of Alexander Haig, Jr. (they graduated a year apart), was general counsel to the Department of Defense. I met with Buzhardt in John Dean's old office. Buzhardt said he wanted to know my real feelings about Nixon and where I was going to stand when the impeachment hearings began. He said he couldn't find anything in any White House files that was stamped with my initials or any memos I prepared, or any hint that I had incriminating evidence against the President in my pocket. Since I never signed or initialed anything, there was nothing there to find. But lurking in the background was an apparent feeling on the part of General Alexander Haig, who took over as White House Chief of Staff after Haldeman was booted out, that I knew something about Nixon supposedly getting part of a storehouse of cash that was left in Vietnam after the United States scrambled out of there. Although appointed by President Nixon himself, Haig, I began to think, was actually turning against the President in the final days before Nixon resigned.
In June 1974, Haig ordered the US. Army's Criminal Investigation: Command (CIC) to conduct a high-priority, classified investigation to determine whether Nixon had stuffed his pockets with cash contributions from leaders of Southeast Asia and the Far East. Haig even went so far as to ask for confirmation as to whether Nixon had connections with organized crime and had received payoffs from the Mafia. The State Department was contacted to see if I had a passport and, if so, whether I had used it to head for Vietnam. I didn't go, but if I had I certainly wouldn't have left a trace of how I got there and back. The Army CIC spent over a month trying to verify my nonexistent trip to Southeast Asia to pick up booty for the President. The investigation went nowhere, of course, but the timing of Haig's efforts to undercut the President meant that Haig - and perhaps others - wanted the President discredited long before this.
According to Time magazine, only a handful people in the White House were privy at this early date to the existence of the tape gaps. They were Richard Nixon, Rose Mary Woods, Alexander Haig, Charles Colson, Stephen Bull (Alexander Butterfield's assistant) and three of the President's attorneys: Fred Buzhardt, Leonard Garment and Samuel Powers.
If Time is correct, and if Woodward and Bernstein have told the truth, then four of these eight must have been Bernstein's sources. Declaring Nixon and Woods "nonstarters," Time eliminated attorney Samuel Powers from consideration, saying that his tenure at the White House was too brief. Stephen Bull was then ruled out because he did not match Woodward's description of Throat. There, however, the magazine balked, unwilling to go any further. But of the four candidates with whom its readers were left, three could be eliminated at once. Colson, for example. The idea that Colson might be Deep Throat is as comical as it is surreal. Not only had he planned to "shove it to the Post, " but he would hardly have told Woodward-as Throat did-that he, Charles Colson, was the official to whom Howard Hunt was reporting about his undercover operations. Colson, in any case, can be eliminated as a candidate for Throat on the grounds that his government career ended in the midst of the Watergate affair, whereas Woodward tells us that Throat continued in federal service for years afterward. This same reason rules out Leonard Garment, and as for Fred Buzhardt, he cannot have been Deep Throat because, according to Woodward, "If [Throat] were to die, I would feel obliged to reveal his identity." Since Buzhardt is dead and we still do not know who Throat is, we must conclude that he is someone else.
Which is to say Haig, since only he is left among Time's eight candidates. But who is to say that the magazine was correct when it asserted that only eight people knew of the tape gaps during the first week in November i973? The White House was full of tremulous whispers in the fall of that year, and no one can say for certain just who knew what or when they learned it.
Esquire had it wrong; Atlantic Monthly had it right.
Leonard Garment's book missed the mark; Ronald Kessler's was on the money.
William Gaines' college journalism class flunked the test; Chase Culeman-Beckman's high-school history paper, although he didn't get an "A" when he turned it in six years ago, should have put him at the head of the class.
A 30-year national guessing game is over: W. Mark Felt, former associate director of the FBI, has revealed to Vanity Fair magazine that he was Deep Throat, the anonymous source who leaked information to The Washington Post about President Nixon's Watergate cover-up.
The Post confirmed on its Web site yesterday that Felt indeed was Deep Throat.
Thus ends one of the nation's longest-running modern-day mysteries.
Felt, it turns out, is the final answer and not too many had it right. One can rightfully expect in weeks ahead some apologies from those who guessed wrong, and a few "I-told-you-so's" from those who nailed it, including Culeman-Beckman.
Born well after Watergate, Culeman-Beckman was only 8 years old when, he says, Jacob Bernstein, a son of Watergate reporter Carl Bernstein, revealed Deep Throat's identity to him during playtime at summer day camp in 1988.
Except for telling his mom, Culeman-Beckman would keep the secret for nearly 10 years until spilling the beans in a high-school research paper.
In a 1999 Hartford Courant article about Culeman-Beckman's disclosure (which was printed in The Seattle Times), Felt denied he was Deep Throat. Bernstein said neither he nor reporting partner Bob Woodward had ever told their wives, children or anyone else Deep Throat's identity.
In fact, the two men had agreed not to divulge his identity until after his death. They took pains to exclude any documents identifying him when they sold their Watergate papers two years ago to the University of Texas. And neither, initially, would confirm yesterday that Felt was Deep Throat. By late afternoon, though, Woodward, Bernstein and former Washington Post Executive Editor Ben Bradlee said in an article posted on the paper's Web site that Felt was the anonymous source.
Since Woodward and Bernstein's best-selling book, "All the President's Men," disclosed the existence of Deep Throat, speculation has been rampant, and entire books have been written about his identity.
Some, including the authors of "Silent Coup: The Removal of a President," suspected Alexander Haig, chief of staff under Nixon. Some suspected Nixon adviser David Gergen, whom Esquire magazine in 1976 picked as the No. 1 candidate for Deep Throat.
"Watergate: the Secret Story," a documentary by CBS News and The Washington Post, concluded it was acting FBI director L. Patrick Gray.
Leonard Garment, Nixon's special counsel and author of "In Search of Deep Throat: The Greatest Political Mystery of Our Time," opted for fellow presidential lawyer John Sears.
Fred Fielding, deputy White House counsel to John Dean, was the choice of both Watergate conspirator H.R. Haldeman in his book, "The Ends of Power," and William Gaines' journalism classes at the University of Illinois, which spent four years investigating Deep Throat's identity.
A relative handful of guessers had it right.
Felt was seen as the most likely suspect in "The Bureau: The Secret History of the FBI," a book by Kessler, a former Washington Post reporter; in "Deep Throat: An Institutional Analysis," a 1992 Atlantic Monthly article by James Mann, a former colleague of Woodward's at the Post; and in articles in Washingtonian magazine by its editor, Jack Limpert.
Felt was suspected by the White House, according to the Nixon tapes:
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. ... If we move on him, he'll go out and unload everything. He knows everything that's to be known in the FBI. He has access to absolutely everything. ... "
Nixon: "What would you do with Felt? You know what I'd do with him, the bastard? Well that's all I want to hear about it."
Haldeman: "I think he wants to be in the top spot."
Nixon: "That's a hell of a way for him to get to the top."
Felt, in his own memoir, "The FBI Pyramid: Inside the FBI," denied being Deep Throat and said he met with Woodward only once.
The name meant nothing to Culeman-Beckman when he heard it in 1988. Now a graduate student at Cornell University, he could not be reached for comment yesterday.
"I'm 100 percent sure that Deep Throat was Mark Felt," he quoted Bernstein's son as saying. "He's someone in the FBI." He told The Hartford Courant that the boy attributed the information to his father.
After the article, Bernstein, Jacob and his mother, writer and movie director Nora Ephron, all denied that Bernstein had told anyone the identity of "Deep Throat."
To Culeman-Beckman, turnabout was fair play.
"They've been cute about it long enough," Culeman-Beckman said then. "I just think if it's fair of them to dethrone a president, for all intents and purposes, and not tell anyone their source, I don't see why it's not fair for a person like myself to come forward. ... Let the cards fall where they may. There's a chance this could be the answer to one of the greatest political mysteries of our time."
Curiously enough, it was.
If Woodward wanted a meeting, says the book, he would signal Deep Throat by moving a flowerpot on his apartment balcony, and if Deep Throat wanted a meeting he would scribble a message inside the morning newspaper at Woodward's front door.
Bernstein had developed material about the dirty tricks activities of Donald Segretti that Woodward wanted to confirm. Barely stopping for drags on his cigarette, Deep Throat told Woodward in the garage more of what he had alluded to in September, the extent of the Nixon campaign's intelligence-gathering activities. Throat said that "fifty people worked for the White House and CRP to play games and spy and sabotage and gather intelligence," that the November Group which had handled campaign advertising was involved in the dirty tricks, and that the targets included Republican contributors as well as Democratic candidates. He also said that Mitchell was behind the Watergate break in and other illegal activities, and that for ten days after the break-in, Howard Hunt had been assigned to help Mitchell conduct an investigation of Watergate.
This information was wildly inaccurate in many particulars, for instance, the number of people in campaign intelligence, and Hunt's role in the cover-up. But Deep Throat's disclosures reflected White House thinking in the fall of 1972, insofar as it related to Mitchell's role in the break-in.
If Deep Throat was Haig, why would he release a flood of information-some of it clearly inaccurate-at this time? In the fall of 1972, Nixon was riding high as a result of major success in his foreign policy and arms control initiatives, including the antiballistic missile and SALT treaties with the Soviet Union and the China opening. These initiatives had been opposed by the military as giving too much away to the Russians and the Chinese. At the time of the October 10 Post article, Haig was scheduled to leave the White House to assume the position of vice chief of staff of the Army and Nixon was on his way to an unprecedented landslide reelection victory that would give him even more power in the foreign policy arena. Revelations of the dirty practices of the Nixon campaign as reported in the Post would have the effect of weakening Nixon's post election influence, a desirable outcome to someone seeking a greater role for the military and a dampening of Nixon's secret diplomacy. Whether or not Deep Throat knew that some of the information given to Woodward was inaccurate, the inaccuracies did serve to cover the trail that could identify him as Woodward's source. Most important to Deep Throat, however, was that his purpose had been served-tarring Nixon before the election.
Woodward had a great need for Deep Throat's information. Deep Throat's revelations were Woodward's way to vault to the forefront of investigative reporters by having a confidential source who divulged information to him and to him alone. For Woodward, Deep Throat was key to the realization of journalistic ambitions. If Deep Throat was Haig, he and Woodward were engaged in a high-stakes game in which confidentiality was essential-to Haig especially, for if Nixon knew that his trusted general was leaking damaging stories to a man who had briefed Haig in the basement of the White House in 1969-1970, even that fourth star would not be enough to protect the general from the president's well-known wrath....
Around 11:00 p.m. on May 16, according to All the President's Men, Woodward had another meeting with Deep Throat, an ultra dramatic one in the underground garage. When Woodward arrived, his source "was pacing around nervously. His lower jaw seemed to quiver. Deep Throat began talking, almost in a monologue. He had only a few minutes, he raced through a series of statements. Woodward listened obediently. It was clear a transformation had come over his friend." Deep Throat would answer no questions about his statements or anything else, but did add that Woodward should "be cautious."
In this rendering, Woodward called Bernstein, who arrived at Woodward's apartment to find his reportorial twin refusing to talk and masking the silence with classical music while he tapped out on his typewriter a warning that electronic surveillance was going on and that they had "better watch it." Who was doing the monitoring? "Woodward mouthed C-I-A." Both men then feared for their lives, and went around for some days looking for spooks behind every tree.
Later in the book, Woodward and Bernstein describe the doings of that night as "rather foolish and melodramatic." Actually, the dramatic elements of the scene draw the reader away from the material that Deep Throat presented to Woodward that night, which concerned the precise matters that Nixon had been discussing with Haig and Buzhard those incoming missiles, and Dean's allegations of a cover-up. Some of the leads that Deep Throat gave to Woodward that night were outlandishly wrong, such as the claim that some of the people involved in Watergate had been in it to make money, that Dean had regular talks with Senator Baker, and that the covert national and international schemes had been supervised by Mitchell. The matters about which Deep Throat spoke that were later proved correct-discussions of executive clemency, Hunt's demands for money, Dean's activities with both the White House and the CRP officials, Dean's talk with Liddy were the ones Nixon had earlier that evening discussed with Buzhardt and Haig.
"The irony of Richard Nixon is that he had little trust in a lot of people, and he put too much trust in too few people... When the world started closing in ... it was quite convenient for (Nixon) to deal "with Haig on a lot of matters and a lot of areas in which Haig really wasn't qualified." Stephen Bull remains angry at Haig, not because they were rivals, but because he viewed Haig as looking out for himself over Nixon.
The second Woodward and Bernstein book, The Final Days, paints a picture of a Haig who did not want to be everything to the president, and did not want to get Nixon into trouble. Bull saw precisely the opposite behavior on Haig's part during Bull's tenure as the day-to-day administrator of the president's office from February 1973 through the August 1974 Nixon resignation. He watched with dismay as Haig "allowed the president to be isolated and indeed perhaps encouraged it." White House logs of the president's last fifteen months in office show Haig and Ziegler as the aides most often let into the inner sanctum with the president. To Bull, in those fifteen months, Haig seemed "duplicitous ... motivated by self-aggrandizement, rather than ideology or principle."
When Haig learned at a staff meeting of a decision that had been made without consulting him, Bull recalls that Haig "began pounding the table with his fist... and said two or three times, `I am the chief of staff. I make all the decisions in the White House.' We thought he was crazy." Such outbursts would characterize Haig's responses even to decisions made on non policy matters such as the president's daily schedule. According to Bull, Haig at one point said, "If you think that this president can run the country without Al Haig... you are mistaken."
Haig's arrogance masked his insecurity. On one working trip to San Clemente, he complained to Bull about the quarters he had been given, and snapped that Haldeman would not have been so badly treated. Colonel Jack Brennan, another military aide to Nixon who had also been a colleague and a friend of Haig's at the NSC, said, "there wasn't really the respect for him" among the White House staffers that there had been for Haldeman. "Haig did not have the capability or the confidence to run the White House the way Haldeman did, yet he tried to," Brennan says.
Moreover, Haig kept deprecating Nixon to the staff. Brennan recalls that Haig would say to the staff, "`We're in trouble, we're really in trouble,' and would cast some disparaging remarks about the president. It was like he was saying, "I'm the hero around here. And this guy (Nixon) doesn't know what he's doing.' It was that kind of attitude."
Haig's role in the highly successful Inchon landings remained obscure, but the ensuing campaign led to the first of many controversial episodes in his military advance. During the battle for Seoul, Haig was awarded a Bronze Star for bravery during a crossing of the Han River. The official citation referred to his outstanding heroism. However, the later official history of the crossing said there had been "no enemy resistance" and that the North Korean positions were "lightly manned". Almond had recommended the decoration for his assistant and later awarded him two further Silver Stars for flying over enemy positions.
Haig left Korea as a captain in 1951, suffering from hepatitis. In 1953 he was appointed to the staff of West Point as a disciplinary officer, remembered for his obsession with spit and polish, and was then assigned to a tank battalion with the American forces in Europe. He gained a routine promotion to major and, redeployed to the European Command headquarters in Germany, had his first experience of diplomacy.
Congress had been grumbling about the cost of maintaining the US presence in Germany, and Haig took part in the 18-month negotiations to persuade the West Germans to shoulder more of the burden. This brought him another medal for "remarkable foresight, ingenuity, and mature judgment"...
The key moment in Haig's career came in 1963 when he was picked to act as military assistant to Joe Califano, a lawyer in the army secretary's office. The army secretary was Cyrus Vance, and this period established personal and political connections from which Haig benefited for the rest of his public life. He seemed to sense that it was time to make his mark. When Vance was promoted to become deputy to the defence secretary, Robert McNamara, Califano and Haig floated up with him. Though Haig still held a relatively low-level job, he acquired considerable access both to information and to Washington's movers and shakers.
But the growing US involvement in the Vietnam war made it essential that any ambitious officer become directly involved in the fighting. In 1966 Haig was made operations planning officer for the First Infantry Division, stationed near Saigon and, in a war that saw 1,273,987 medals awarded to American troops, gained a Distinguished Flying Cross within a month of his arrival. Lightly wounded in the eye when a prisoner blew himself up, Haig was involved in a number of battles in which he gained two more DFCs and 17 Air Medals. Once again, there was a conflict between some of the citations and later official accounts of the incidents.