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Ben C. Bradlee, the vice president at large of the Washington Post, is one of only four living people who know the identity of “Deep Throat,” the secret informant who unravelled the Watergate scandal in the 1970s. This fall, as Bradlee and nine others join Harvard’s Institute of Politics (IOP) as fellows, Harvard students will get the chance to pry him to reveal the best-kept secret in journalism.
Along with Bradlee, the IOP named an eclectic group of journalists and public servants Wednesday to fill its 2004 fall fellowships.
The seven resident fellows and three visiting fellows include a diverse array of individuals who will lead weekly study groups—which are open to the public—on various political topics of their choosing.
Departing IOP Director Dan Glickman—who was recently named to succeed Jack Valenti as chair of the Motion Picture Association of America—praised the incoming fellows for the many viewpoints they will bring to the table.
“This is probably the most diverse group we have ever had,” Glickman said. “Almost everybody we have brings a different perspective.”
Chair of the Fellows Committee David M. Kaden ’06, who is also a Crimson editor, said that Bradlee was heavily sought after and directly requested by the students on the Fellows Selection Committee.
“Ben Bradlee is somebody who has been on the students’ radar for a long time. It was through a great deal of perseverance that we were able to make it happen,” Kaden said.
But Glickman says it still remains to be seen if Bradlee will share the identity of Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein’s secret Watergate source with his IOP study group.
“I have asked him who it was, and he just laughed at me,” Glickman said. “That is a challenge for the students to see if they can get that out of him.”
Bradlee is currently recovering from knee surgery and could not be reached for comment.
Another of the fellows, John Bridgeland ’82, who recently retired as director of President Bush’s Domestic Policy Council and USA Freedom Corps, says he will present actual case studies in his study group on presidential decision making.
“I am going to show the different roles played by the president’s advisers and his cabinet in how the president makes decisions on domestic policy,” Bridgeland said.
Bridgeland, who was active in the IOP while a student at Harvard, said he is most looking forward to interacting with a group of highly ambitious students.
“I am looking forward to [the students’] extraordinary enthusiasm for understanding how the system works and how they can participate in it,” Bridgeland said.
Incoming fellow Vicki J. Divoll, who recently served as the Assistant General Counsel to the Central Intelligence Agency and General Counsel to the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, said that above all she hopes to use her study group to educate students on matters of intelligence.
“When Janet Reno testified before the 9/11 commissions, she said that when she became Attorney General she didn’t fully understand the world of foreign intelligence,” Divoll said. “My goal is to make sure students have exposure to it and understand how it works.”
Divoll—who staffed vice-presidential candidate Sen. John R. Edwards, D-N.C., on the Senate Select Committee and said she is “looking forward to the Kerry administration”—said that this year’s presidential election should heighten interest in her study group.
“I think it will make it a lot more exciting,” Divoll said. “My teaching of the issues will be influenced by the position that the candidates take on them throughout the election.”
Glickman echoed Divoll’s statement, saying that the presence of the fellows at Harvard will be extremely valuable during the election.
“Being here during an election year, most of them will be a terrific asset to Harvard,” Glickman said.
Fellows either apply for the position or are recommended to the IOP and then are ultimately selected after undergoing an interview process with the student fellows selection committee and Fellows and Study Groups Programs Coordinator Eric R. Andersen. All selections are given final approval by the director of the IOP.
Fellows Election Coordinator Kevin P. Kiley ’07 described the selection process as highly student-driven.
“We interviewed each of the candidates and evaluated them with the foremost concern being their willingness and capacity to have meaningful interactions with students and to inspire undergraduates to engage themselves in the political process,” Kiley said.
Andersen said that this group of fellows is as strong as any he can remember.
“I am really thrilled about this group,” Andersen said. “I feel as good, if not better, about this group than any of the other groups.”
In addition to Bradlee, Bridgeland and Divoll, the four other resident fellows will be Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Vermont Jeff Amestoy, former U.S. Coordinator for Baghdad Barbara Bodine, Washington news anchor Kathleen Matthews and Joe Trippi, who recently managed the unsuccessful primary candidacy of former Vermont Gov. Howard B. Dean.
The three visiting fellows, who will only spend part of the semester at the IOP, are U.S. Assistant Surgeon General Susan Blumenthal, former Maine Gov. Angus King and former Maryland Lt. Gov. Kathleen Kennedy Townsend.
Although he will no longer be the director of the IOP when the fellows actually begin their terms, Glickman said he will remain in close touch with the Institute.
“All of them are great,” Glickman said. “I am going to maintain a relationship with the IOP and try and help in any way I can.”
—Staff writer Evan M. Vittor can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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