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Revenge by 'Deep Throat' alleged

Ex-FBI chief says Felt tried to sabotage him

WASHINGTON -- L. Patrick Gray, the FBI chief during the Watergate break-in, said he believes deputy W. Mark Felt became the anonymous source known as ''Deep Throat" because he was angry at being passed over as J. Edgar Hoover's successor and wanted to sabotage Gray.

''I think there was a sense of revenge in his heart, and a sense of dumping my candidacy, if you will," Gray said on ABC's ''This Week" in an interview broadcast yesterday.

Gray, who was selected to lead the FBI the day after Hoover's death on May 2, 1972, also said he refused White House demands to fire Felt or order a lie-detector test over leaks about the Watergate investigation.

On June 17 of that year, five men were arrested in the break-in at the Democratic National Committee headquarters at the Watergate Hotel in Washington. Nixon resigned the presidency on Aug. 9, 1974.

Disagreeing with other Watergate-era figures who have called Felt a traitor to the Nixon administration, Gray said, ''I think he was treacherous only to me, a man who trusted him."

Gray, 88, served less than a year as acting FBI director, resigning amid allegations he had destroyed documents in the Watergate scandal. Gray was Nixon's choice to be deputy attorney general when Hoover died.

The 91-year-old Felt revealed this month in a Vanity Fair article that he was the shadowy government figure who gave information and direction to Washington Post reporter Bob Woodward as he and Carl Bernstein covered Watergate. Their work is credited with helping to topple the Nixon administration.

According to a transcript of the ABC interview that the network provided, Gray was asked why Felt would have believed he could not have gone to Gray instead of the press with his concern that the Nixon White House was trying to thwart the FBI's investigation.

''I was not a political toady for Mr. Nixon or any other politician," Gray said. ''I never felt that I was doing the White House's bidding. And I resisted them on any number of occasions, particularly in Felt's case."

Woodward and Bernstein's 1974 book ''All the President's Men" says that Deep Throat suggested Gray had blackmailed Nixon into nominating him as permanent director out of fear of what might be revealed if Gray were no longer at the agency to ''keep the lid on" the Watergate investigation.

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