Authoritative Work on Watergate Questioned

Some scholars accuse Stanley Kutler, author of “Abuse of Power” of shading his transcription of the Nixon tapes to paint John Dean’s role in a rosier light:

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/02/01/washington/01kutler.html?pagewanted=1&_r=1&th&emc=th

I remember Kutler gave a lecture at Bowling Green when I was a student there, shortly after Abuse of Power was published.  The only thing I concretely remember was him rather haughtily batting aside a question someone in the audience posed about Deep Throat’s identity, which back then was very much still a mystery.  Kutler dismissed it out of hand as being a literary invention and not a real person.  Of course, we now know that Deep Throat was a fully alive high ranking CIA official named Mark Felt.  The accusations here are quite serious.  If Kutler really did shade things to make Dean look less bad on purpose, irregardless of motive, that is something that a serious historian simply cannot do and it would greatly de-value all of his career’s work.  Then again, like he said, it was difficult work transcribing tapes that he couldn’t even take outside the National Archives.  Honest mistakes can easily happen in that kind of environment.  What we need is for the full, unedited, unredacted transcript, expletives and all, to finally be published by the Archives people.  Even then we’ll never fully know what Nixon and his aides did outside the Oval Office.  But at least the official record will be complete.

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