Deep Throat

On 3rd July, 1972, Frank Sturgis, Virgilio Gonzalez, Eugenio Martinez, Bernard L. Barker and James W. McCord were arrested while breaking into the Democratic Party campaign offices in an apartment block called Watergate. It appeared that the men had been to wiretap the conversations of Larry O'Brien, chairman of the Democratic National Committee.

Bob Woodward, and Carl Bernstein, two journalists employed by the Washington Post, began working on the story. On 19th June, Woodward telephoned a man who he called "an old friend" for information about the burglars. This man, who Woodward claims was a high-ranking federal employee, was willing to help Woodward as long as he was never named as a source. Later, Howard Simons, the managing editor of the newspaper, gave him the nickname "Deep Throat".

During their first telephone conversation with Bob Woodward Deep Throat insisted on certain conditions. According to All the President's Men: "His identity was unknown to anyone else. He could be contacted only on very important occasions. Woodward had promised he would never identify him or his position to anyone. Further, he, had agreed never to quote the man, even as an anonymous source. Their discussions would be only to confirm information that had been obtained elsewhere and to add some perspective."

The first information that Deep Throat gave Woodward on 19th June was that the Federal Bureau of Investigation considered that E. Howard Hunt, a former member of the Central Intelligence Agency, was a major suspect in the case.

At first Woodward and Deep Throat communicated via telephone. However, by October, 1973, Deep Throat had become very worried that he would be identified as Woodward's main source and insisted that they had their meetings at about 2:00 am. in a pre-designated underground parking garage. Deep Throat even refused to use the phone to set up the meetings. It was agreed that if Woodward wanted a meeting he would place a flower pot with the red flag on the balcony of his apartment. On one occasion (25th February, 1973) the men met in a Washington bar.

As Bob Woodward, and Carl Bernstein explained in All the President's Men: "If Deep Throat wanted a meeting-which was rare-there was a different procedure. Each morning, Woodward would check page 20 of his New York Times, delivered to his apartment house before 7:00 am. If a meeting was requested, the page number would be circled and the hands of a clock indicating the time of the rendezvous would appear in a lower corner of the page."

According to Woodward's book, All the President's Men, he had at least fifteen conversations with Deep Throat while investigating the Watergate scandal. This included communications on 19th June (2 phone calls); 16th September, 1972 (phone call); 8th October, 1972 (phone call); 9th October, 1972 (garage meeting); 21st October, 1972 (garage meeting), 27th October, 1972 (garage meeting), late December, 1972 (undisclosed), 25th January, 1973 (garage meeting); 25th February, 1973 (meeting in bar); 16th April, 1973 (phone call); 16th May, 1973 (garage meeting) and a meeting during the first week of November, 1973.

In his book, Lost Honor (1982), John Dean made a list of 30 possible candidates: White House Staff (Stephen Bull, Alexander P. Butterfield, Kenneth Clawson, Charles Colson, Leonard Garment, David Gergen, Alexander Haig, Richard Moore and Jonathan Rose); FBI (Thomas E. Bishop, Charles Bowles, Mark Felt, L. Patrick Gray and David Kinley), Justice Department (Carl Belcher, Richard Burke, John Keeney, Laurrence McWhorter, Henry Peterson and Harold Shapiro); Secret Service (Lilburn Boggs, Charles Bretz, Roger Schwalm, Alfred Wong and Raymond Zumwalt).

In his memoirs, The Ends of Power (1978), H. R. Haldeman, came to the conclusion that Deep Throat was John Dean's assistant, Fred F. Fielding. This view is supported by William Gaines, head of the Department of Journalism at the University of Illinois. As he points out "my students over 12 semesters poured over FBI reports, congressional testimony, White House documents in the National Archives and autobiographies of Watergate figures". Eventually, like Haldeman, they became convinced that Fielding was Deep Throat.

In an article published in 1976, J. Anthony Lukas, of the New York Times, claimed that Robert F. Bennett was Deep Throat. In his book, In Search of Deep Throat (2000), Leonard Garment argues that Bennett was probably trying to "distance the CIA, his sponsor and source of income, from the events of Watergate".

The authors of Silent Coup: The Removal of a President (1991) claimed that the culprit was Alexander Haig, the man who replaced Haldeman as chief of staff in the Nixon administration. Jim Hougan (Secret Agenda) and John Dean (Lost Honor) also argued that Haig was probably Deep Throat. 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.

Mark Riebling, the author of Wedge: From Pearl Harbor to 9/11 points out that Bob Woodward described Deep Throat as "having an aggregate of information flowing in and out of many stations" and "perhaps the only person in the government in a position to possibly understand the whole scheme, and not be a potential conspirator himself". Riebling goes on to argue that this indicates that Deep Throat was a senior official in the Central Intelligence Agency. He points out that Woodward virtually confirmed that his source was from the CIA: "As you know, I'm not going to discuss the identify of Deep Throat or any other of my confidential sources who are still alive. But let me just say that the suggestion that we were being used by the intelligence community was of concern to us at the time and afterward."

Riebling suggests three possible CIA suspects: William Colby, Cord Meyer and Richard Helms. He finally opts for Meyer arguing that like Deep Throat he was a chain-smoker and heavy drinker. Riebling also suggests that Meyer met Woodward while working as a Washington briefer in naval intelligence. The problem with this theory is that Meyer was transferred to London during the summer of 1973 and could not have made the meeting with Woodward in November of that year.

Deborah Davis, the author of Katharine the Great (1979) also believes that Deep Throat was a senior official of the CIA. Her candidate is Richard Ober, the head of Operation Chaos. Ober was given an office in the White House and worked closely with Richard Nixon, H. R. Haldeman and John Ehrlichman during this period.

Leonard Garment, Nixon's special counsel, later wrote the book, In Search of Deep Throat (2002). Garment came to the conclusion that Deep Throat was fellow presidential lawyer John Sears.

James Mann, a former colleague of Woodward's at the Washington Post, argued in an article in the Atlantic Monthly that was published in 1992 that Mark Felt was Deep Throat. This view was supported by Ronald Kessler (The Bureau: The Secret History of the FBI). Nora Ephron, the former wife of Carl Bernstein, has been claiming for several years that Felt was Deep Throat.

Bob Woodward promised Deep Throat that he would never reveal the man's position with the government, nor would he ever quote him, even anonymously, in his articles. Woodward also promised not to tell anyone else the identity of his source. Woodward did not keep these promises. He gave the name of Deep Throat to both Ben Bradlee and Carl Bernstein. He also quoted him in his book, All the President's Men.

The best way to identify Deep Throat is to take a close look at what he told Bob Woodward. The initial information suggested that his source was someone involved in the FBI investigation of the Watergate break-in. However, Jim Hougan (Secret Agenda) argues that Deep Throat was unlikely to have been a member of the agency. He points out that Deep Throat did not tell Woodward about the role played by Alfred Baldwin in the Watergate break-in. This was first revealed by a press conference held by the Democratic Party in September.

Hougan suggests that the only reason Deep Throat did not pass this important information to Woodward was that he did not know about it. If that is the case Deep Throat was not from the FBI (L. Patrick Gray or Mark Felt). Nor could he have been one of Nixon's aides who all knew about Baldwin's key role in the break-in (John Dean, H. R. Haldeman, John Ehrlichman, Charles Colson, John N. Mitchell, Jeb Magruder, Egil Krogh and Frederick LaRue).

Another clue to the identity of Deep Throat comes from Barry Sussman, Woodward's editor at Washington Post. In his book, The Great Cover-Up, Sussman claims that Woodward first made use of Deep Throat when writing about how Arthur Bremer attempted to kill George Wallace on 15th May, 1972. This suggests that his informant was working in a senior position in the FBI.

In April, 1982, John Dean met Bob Woodward at a conference being held at the University of Massachusetts. Although Woodward refused to identify Deep Throat it was possible for Dean to work out that he was someone working in the White House.

According to Woodward it was Deep Throat who first suggested that Alexander P. Butterfield could be an important figure in the investigation. In May, 1973, Woodward told a member of the Senate Watergate Committee (undoubtedly his friend, Scott Armstrong) that Butterfield should be interviewed.

On 25th June, 1973, John Dean testified that at a meeting with Richard Nixon on 15th April, the president had remarked that he had probably been foolish to have discussed his attempts to get clemency for E. Howard Hunt with Charles Colson. Dean concluded from this that Nixon's office might be bugged. On Friday, 13th July, Butterfield appeared before the committee and was asked about if he knew whether Nixon was recording meetings he was having in the White House. Butterfield reluctantly admitted details of the tape system which monitored Nixon's conversations.

John Dean argues in Lost Honor that it was Deep Throat who had told Woodward about Nixon's taping system that had been installed by Alexander P. Butterfield. This was the best-kept secret in the White House with only a few people knowing about its existence.

In the first week of November, 1973, Deep Throat told Woodward that their were "gaps" in Nixon's tapes. He hinted that these gaps were the result of deliberate erasures. On 8th November, Woodward and Bernstein published an article in the Washington Post that said that according to their source the "conversation on some of the tapes appears to have been erased". It was later claimed by Jim Hougan (Secret Agenda) and John Dean (Lost Honor) that only a very small group of people could have known about these these gaps at this time. According to Fred Emery (Watergate: The Corruption and Fall of Richard Nixon) only Richard Nixon, Rose Mary Woods, Alexander Haig and Stephen Bull knew about this erased tape before it was made public on 20th November.

In his book Deep Truth: The Lives of Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein(1993) Adrian Havill argues that Deep Throat was a dramatic devise used by Woodward. Havill visited the place where Woodward lived during the Watergate investigation. He discovered that the balcony where he placed the flower pot with a red flag faced an interior courtyard. Havill argues in his book that the only way Deep Throat could see the flag was "to walk into the center of the complex, with eighty units viewing you, crane your neck and look up to the sixth floor". Havill argues that Deep Throat would have been highly unlikely to have exposed himself if this way.

Nor was Havill impressed with the way Deep Throat communicated to Woodward when he wanted a meeting with the journalist. According to All the President's Men Deep Throat drew a clock on page 20 of his New York Times. Havill discovered that the papers were not delivered to each door, but left stacked and unmarked in a common reception area. Havill argues that there is no way Deep Throat could have known which paper Woodward would end up with each morning.

In May, 2005, John O'Connor, a lawyer working for Mark Felt, told Vanity Fair magazine that his client was Deep Throat. Shortly afterwards Bob Woodward confirmed that Felt had provided him with important information during the Watergate investigation. Ben Bradlee also said that Felt was Deep Throat. However, Carl Bernstein was quick to add that Felt was only one of several important sources.

However, there are serious problems with the idea that Mark Felt was Deep Throat. In his autobiography, The FBI Pyramid: Inside the FBI, Felt denied being Deep Throat and said he met with Woodward only once. Felt's last word on the subject came in 1999, on the 25th anniversary of Nixon's resignation, when he told a reporter that it would be "terrible" if someone in his position had been Deep Throat. "This would completely undermine the reputation that you might have as a loyal employee of the FBI," he said. "It just wouldn't fit at all."

Felt had not made the confession himself. In 2001 Felt suffered a stroke that robbed him of his memory. Before this happened Felt had told his daughter Joan that he was Deep Throat. She admits that the family have gone public in an attempt to obtain money. Joan Felt told journalists: "My son Nick is in law school and he'll owe $100,000 by the time he graduates. I am still a single mom, still supporting them (her children) to one degree or another."

Vanity Fair only paid the Felt family $10,000 (£5,500) but the whole project is linked to a $1m book deal. It is rumoured the book will be written by Bob Woodward. However, on 4th June, 2005, the publisher Judith Regan (HarperCollins) revealed that negotiations over a possible book deal had collapsed because of serious concerns that Felt was no longer of sound mind.

There are several major problems with Mark Felt being Deep Throat. Felt resigned from the FBI. in June, 1973 and no longer had to worry about his career. Why did he not come forward with his information at this stage of the Watergate investigation? He would have been seen as a national hero and would no doubt have made a fortune from his memoirs.

In November, 1980, Felt was convicted of conspiring to violate the constitutional rights of Americans by authorising illegal break-ins and wire taps of people connected to suspected domestic bombers. Why did Felt not attempt to rebuild his public image by disclosing that he was Deep Throat?

If Felt had been Deep Throat why did he not tell Woodward about the role played by Alfred Baldwin in the Watergate break-in. The FBI knew about this within days of the break-in. Yet Woodward did not mention it in his articles until the story was revealed by a press conference held by the Democratic Party in September, 1972.

According to Woodward it was Deep Throat who first suggested that Alexander P. Butterfield could be an important figure in the investigation. In May, 1973, Woodward told a member of the Senate Watergate Committee that Butterfield should be interviewed. On Friday, 13th July, Butterfield appeared before the committee and was asked about if he knew whether Richard Nixon was recording meetings he was having in the White House. This was the best-kept secret in the White House with only a few people knowing about its existence. How could Felt have known about this system?

Felt left the FBI in June 1973. Yet according to All the President's Men Woodward he continued to meet Deep Throat after this date. The most important of these meetings took place in the first week of November, 1973. At this meeting Deep Throat told Woodward that their were "gaps" in Nixon's tapes. He hinted that these gaps were the result of deliberate erasures. On 8th November, Woodward and Bernstein published an article in the Washington Post that said that according to their source the "conversation on some of the tapes appears to have been erased". It has been claimed by several writers that only a very small group of people could have known about these gaps at this time. How could Felt had known about this?

Maybe he did have meetings with Woodward in underground garages. However, if Felt was Deep Throat, he was getting information from someone working in the White House. He also had to get information from someone senior in the CIA. The most sensible explanation is that Deep Throat was more than one man. That is he represented several of Woodward's sources. If that is the case, I think Deep Throat was Mark Felt, William Sullivan, Richard Ober and Stephen Bull.

© , September 1997 - April 2014

Primary Sources

(1) Carl Bernstein and Bob Woodward, All the President's Men (1975)

Woodward had a source in the Executive Branch who had access to information at CRP as well as at the White House. His identity was unknown to anyone else. He could be contacted only on very important occasions. Woodward had promised he would never identify him or his position to anyone. Further, he, had agreed never to quote the man, even as an anonymous source. Their discussions would be only to confirm information that had been obtained elsewhere and to add some perspective.

In newspaper terminology, this meant the discussions were on "deep background." Woodward explained the arrangement to managing editor Howard Simons one day. He had taken to calling the source "my friend," but Simons dubbed him "Deep Throat," the title of a celebrated pornographic movie. The name stuck.

At first Woodward and Deep Throat had talked by telephone, but as the tensions of Watergate increased, Deep Throat's nervousness grew. He didn't want to talk on the telephone, but had said they could meet somewhere on occasion.

Deep Throat didn't want to use the phone even to set up the meetings. He suggested that Woodward open the drapes in his apartment as a signal. Deep Throat could check each day; if the drapes were open, the two would meet that night. But Woodward liked to let the sun in at times, and suggested another signal.

Several years earlier, Woodward had found a red cloth flag lying in the street. Barely one foot square, it was attached to a stick, the type of warning device used on the back of a truck carrying a projecting load. Woodward had taken the flag back to his apartment and one of his friends had stuck it into an old flower pot on the balcony. It had stayed there.

When Woodward had an urgent inquiry to make, he would move the flower pot with the red flag to the rear of the balcony. During the day, Deep Throat would check to see if the pot had been moved. If it had, he and Woodward would meet at about 2:00 am. in a pre-designated underground parking garage. Woodward would leave his sixth-floor apartment and walk down the back stairs into an alley.

Walking and taking two or more taxis to the garage, he could be reasonably sure that no one had followed him. In the garage, the two could talk for an hour or more without being seen. If taxis were hard to find, as they often were late at night, it might take Woodward almost two hours to get there on foot. On two occasions, a meeting had been set and the man had not shown up - a depressing and frightening experience, as Woodward had waited for more than an hour, alone In an underground garage in the middle of the night Once he had thought he was being followed - two well-dressed men had stayed behind him for five or six blocks, but he had ducked into an alley and had not seen them again.

If Deep Throat wanted a meeting-which was rare-there was a different procedure. Each morning, Woodward would check page 20 of his New York Times, delivered to his apartment house before 7:00 am. If a meeting was requested, the page number would be circled and the hands of a clock indicating the time of the rendezvous would appear in a lower corner of the page. Woodward did not know how Deep Throat got to his paper.

The man's position in the Executive Branch was extremely sensitive. He had never told Woodward anything that was incorrect. It was he who had advised Woodward on June 19 that Howard Hunt was definitely involved in Watergate. During the summer, he had told Woodward that the FBI badly wanted to know where the Post was getting its information. He thought Bernstein and Woodward might be followed, and cautioned them to take care when using their telephones. The White House, he had said at the last meeting, regarded the stakes in Watergate as much higher than anyone outside perceived.

(2) Bob Woodward memo to Ben Bradlee (16th May, 1973)

Dean talked with Senator Baker after Watergate committee formed and Baker is in the bag completely, reporting back directly to White House...

President threatened Dean personally and said if he ever revealed the national security activities that President would insure he went to jail.

Mitchell started doing covert national and international things early and then involved everyone else. The list is longer than anyone could imagine.

Caulfield met McCord and said that the President "knows that we are meeting and he offers you executive clemency and you'll only have to spend about 11 months in jail."

Caulfield threatened McCord and said "your life is no good in this country if you don't cooperate..."

The covert activities involve the whole U.S. intelligence community and are incredible. Deep Throat refused to give specifics because it is against the law.

The cover-up had little to do with the Watergate, but was mainly to protect the covert operations.

The President himself has been blackmailed. When Hunt became involved, he decided that the conspirators could get some money for this. Hunt started an "extortion" racket of the rankest kind.

Cover-up cost to be about $1 million. Everyone is involved - Haldeman, Ehrlichman, the President, Dean, Mardian, Caulfield and Mitchell. They all had a problem getting the money and couldn't trust anyone, so they started raising money on the outside and chipping in their own personal funds. Mitchell couldn't meet his quota and... they cut Mitchell loose. ...

CIA people can testify that Haldeman and Ehrlichman said that the President orders you to carry this out, meaning the Watergate cover-up... Walters and Helms and maybe others.

Apparently though this is not clear, these guys in the White House were out to make money and a few of them went wild trying.

Dean acted as go-between between Haldeman-Ehrlichman and Mitchell-LaRue.

The documents that Dean has are much more than anyone has imagined and they are quite detailed.

Liddy told Dean that they could shoot him and/or that he would shoot himself, but that he would never talk and always be a good soldier.

Hunt was key to much of the crazy stuff and he used the Watergate arrests to get money... first $100,000 and then kept going back for more...

Unreal atmosphere around the White House - realizing it is curtains on one hand and on the other trying to laugh it off and go on with business. President has had fits of "dangerous" depression.

(3) John Dean, Lost Honor (1982)

Much of the information that Deep Throat knew was known by many people. While it is impossible to know who might have whispered secrets to whom, thus broadening the circle of knowledge, working logically two particular bits of information that were given to Woodward by his friend easily point to Al Haig.

On March 5, 1973, Time magazine broke a story that the White House had wiretapped newsmen and White House aides in an effort to track down leaks. The White House denied the story was true, although it was true. Time had cracked this case, but they could not learn from their sources in the FBI and Justice Department who had been bugged. The records of the taps had been removed by Bill Sullivan, and passed by Bob Mardian to the White House. When the Time story broke, the records were in John Ehrlichman's safe.

When Woodward met with his friend in late February, shortly before Pat Gray's confirmation hearings, Deep Throat was able to tell Bob that Gray had been aware of these wiretaps and that the work was done by an "out-of-channels vigilante squad." This last piece of information could have been a deliberate effort to mislead Woodward, since it was not true. Deep Throat also gave Woodward the names of two people who had been tapped: "Hedrick Smith and Neil Sheehan of The New York Times." It is the revelation of these names that is the extraordinary information.

I found it interesting that, first, Deep Throat could state flatly that Gray knew about the taps, when he was also saying this was not an FBI operation, and when the Watergate special prosecutor would be unable to prove that Gray knew after an intense investigation with the full resources of the FBI, Justice Department, and several years of digging. Second, the only people who knew the names of those who had been tapped at the time the information was given to Woodward were Richard Nixon, Henry Kissinger, John Ehrlichman, John Mitchell, Bob Mardian, a very small group in the FBI, Bill Sullivan, Mark Felt, and the man who gave the FBI the names - Al Haig.

When you add to this the scarcely known secret that was given to Woodward about the "deliberate erasures" on the court-subpoenaed tape, Haig passes another test that uniquely qualifies him as the most likely person to have been Woodward's friend.

(4) Bob Woodward, PR Newswire (29th December, 1988)

As you know, I'm not going to discuss the identy of Deep Throat or any other of my confidential sources who are still alive. But let me just say that the suggestion that we were being used by the intelligence community was of concern to us at the time and afterward.

(5) Mark Riebling, Wedge: From Pearl Harbor to 9/11 (2002)

Just such a deflection of suspicion away from CIA was accomplished by Deep Throat, a source who began feeding leads to Post reporter Woodward, by the reporter's own account, on June 19 - only hours after Helms launched CIA's damage-control plan. Woodward's later description of Deep Throat as having "an aggregate of information flowing in and out of many stations" would seem a pointed signal to someone in Langley. Woodward also said that Deep Throat had an "extremely sensitive" position in the Executive Branch, which would perfectly fit someone at CIA, who (according to Woodward) did not like getting calls at the office. The use of an underground parking garage for clandestine meetings would seem to evidence a certain skill at "tradecraft." Furthermore, with the exception of Helms and his DDCI, CIA officers were not political appointees, and therefore their careers, unlike those of Dean and most other possible Throats, would not have automatically fallen with Nixon's own. Woodward himself would later all but confirm that Deep Throat was a spook. "As you know, I'm not going to discuss the identity of Deep Throat or any other of my confidential sources who are still alive. But let me just say that [the] suggestion that we were being used by the intelligence community was of concern to us at the time and afterward."

Could Deep Throat have perhaps been Colby? Much of the information Colby provided to the FBI in the days after the burglary was immediately leaked to the press, as Colby later admitted, though he blamed those leaks on the Bureau. Colby was a political liberal, and no great fan of the Nixon White House; as Helms' damage-control officer on Watergate, he would be perfectly positioned to leak; he was later rumored to use underground parking structures for secret meetings of a personal nature. 'Moreover, the final pages of Colby's i978 book, Honorable Men, would contain a suggestive reference to Throat. Discussing how "the public must be informed of what intelligence is doing in its name," Colby cites "unofficial leaks" as one means of so informing the citizenry; sometimes material is made available to the media though "its source in the intelligence community is obscured from the people who use it." Colby then immediately raises the subject of Deep Throat, and although one might expect him to resent the role of Throat as a competitor in controlling public perceptions of Watergate, he actually characterizes Throat as a force for national good: "Deep Throat remains a secret," Colby says, "but the public has benefited from his information."

Woodward's clues suggest, however, that Throat was more likely another CIA officer present at the June 19 damage-control meeting. This was Cord Meyer. Woodward describes Throat as a chain-smoker and heavy drinker, which Meyer was and Colby was not. Throat was an intellectual who "knew too much literature too well," and Meyer was an awardwinning literary talent. Throat's appearance bespoke "too many battles," and Meyer had a glass eye from the Battle of Iwo Jima. Meyer also reportedly bore a special grudge against Nixon because of his complicity in the McCarthyist drama which had once almost cost Meyer his CIA job; he was even said to have made digs at CIA secretaries who wore Nixon campaign buttons on their blouses. Meyer was practically a charter member of the Old Boys Network of Yale graduates who had gone on to work in intelligence, and Woodward, too, was a member of this club. In fact, Meyer may well have become acquainted with Woodward during the latter's 1969-70 tenure as a Washington briefer in naval intelligence: as part of his daily rounds, Woodward sometimes addressed top people in CIA's Department of Plans, where Meyer was then the number-two man. Moreover, Throat knew all about Hunt's activities-his first tips and most of his early leads concerned Hunt-and Meyer was one of the few at CIA . who knew, even before the Watergate burglary, that Hunt was working for the White House. On March 27, 1972, for instance, when CIA's domestic contact office in Miami queried Langley about Hunt's frequent contacts with Cuban exiles, Meyer cabled back that Hunt was in Miami on White House work and that Miami Station should "cool it," i.e., not concern itself with Hunt. Meyer, it should also be noted, possessed great family wealth his father controlled a lot of real estate in Manhattan-which would explain why Throat could afford not to come forward for big bucks (the advance for his book even now, two decades later, would be colossal). But perhaps most important, Meyer had extremely intimate connections with Ben Bradlee, Woodward's boss at the Post. Indeed, they were in-laws, having both married sisters from the socially prominent Pinchot family. Meyer's interface with Bradlee could have had a close professional aspect as well, since Meyer's main duty at CIA was to penetrate and influence leftist but anticommunist organs of opinion. Among other things, Meyer's close relationship to the editor of the Post might have accounted for the special access that allowed Throat to get to Woodward's morning copy of the Post and scribble on it times for secret meetings.

(6) John Dean, diary account (22nd April, 1982)

Before I go to sleep, I should make just a few notes about my conversations with Bob Woodward. We spent twelve hours together. I did not really probe or push him on Deep Throat, but he did drop a few clues.

Before we were about to be taken to the U. of M. campus, I stopped by Bob's room to go with him to the lobby, where we'd meet the students. We talked about the lecture, and he suggested we ask each other questions. I said, "Fine," then jokingly added, "Like, why don't I ask you who Deep Throat is?" Bob chuckled, and said, "I hope you're not still one of those who doesn't really believe I had such a source."

"No, not me. I believed you when you told me several years ago. In fact, I think I know who Deep Throat is." I was bluffing, but it must have worked.

Bob looked over at me, a little startled at my confident tone and statement. "Well, I guess a lot of people at the Post know who he is, but he doesn't want to be identified, even at this late date." I sensed that Bob was saying, "Don't try to put me in a tight spot tonight on this question," but I also felt he was fishing, wondering if someone at the Post had told me who Deep Throat was.

"No Deep Throat tonight," I said. "We'll save that for another time and place." He smiled, and we were off.

Driving back to the motel, after the lecture, we were both tired and relaxed. I felt Bob had enjoyed our joint effort. I knew I had, far more than most lectures. It was late, about 11 o'clock, and the two of us were spread out in the back seat as our student hosts piloted us along the highway. We began talking further about Watergate, comparing notes, and the conversation evolved to the accuracy of some of Bob's and Carl Bernstein's reporting. I said that some of the information in All the President's Men had proved wrong. We were talking about this when Woodward said, "Is that story about Pat Gray marching over to the White House and virtually blackmailing Nixon into appointing him director of the FBI correct?"

"No, not really." Gray had been acting director, and it was Attorney General Richard Kleindienst who had gone to bat for Gray.

"Got that story from a source at the White House, usually a pretty good source," Bob lamented, and the conversation moved on. According to All the President's Men, that source was Deep Throat, so Woodward confirmed that Deep Throat was not at the Justice Department or FBI, but rather the White House, which certainly could include the Secret Service, and, more particularly, Al Wong!

(7) Jim Hougan, Secret Agenda (1984)

In considering the identity of Bob Woodward's most important and most secret source, "Deep Throat," it should be said at the very beginning that any conclusion must be speculative. Only Woodward and Deep Throat-if there is a Deep Throat-can be certain of the latter's identity. And if, as many of Woodward's colleagues in the Washington press corps believe, Throat is actually a composite of several sources, then the secret of their separate identities may never be known.

Still, it is possible to reach some conclusions based upon what we know about Woodward and what we are told about Throat. If, for example, Deep Throat is a public figure who served in the Nixon administration in a highly visible capacity, then only one person comes close to satisfying Woodward's description of his source. If, on the other hand, Throat is (or was) a relatively obscure bureaucrat, then the problem is more complex.

One's interest in the subject is more than idle curiosity. As the guiding light behind much of the Post's Watergate reportage, Throat has a historic responsibility with respect to the Nixon administration's downfall. One would like to know who he is. The Post's editors insist that they are only protecting a valuable source. They would have us believe that Throat is an altruist who seeks no personal gain and who wants to shun the tribulations that sometimes attend whistle-blowers. The suggestion, then, is that Throat is a patriotic civil servant who, while outraged by the administration's disregard of constitutional concerns, fears the retribution that has been meted out to other whistle-blowers. But, surely, this is a specious argument. Throat belongs in a category different from that of GSA employees and disaffected CIA officers who have protested cost-overruns and underestimates of enemy troop strengths. The whistle that he blew was heard 'round the world, and a grateful nation has offered to bestow its accolades upon him even as publishers dangle the lure of seven-figure advances for his story. Clearly, Deep Throat's anonymity has nothing to do with job security. It may be, therefore, that Throat remains anonymous because if he was identified our perception of him and of the Post's Watergate reportage would change. That is, it may be that Throat's position within the Nixon administration was such that he would stand revealed as a Machiavellian figure moved more by his own ambitions than by any concern for fair play in national politics. In which case, Woodward and the Post would be seen as mere tools in a power struggle. So there is reason to be skeptical. While Woodward and Bernstein prefer to believe in Deep Throat's altruism, we should not trust their judgment on that matter: the Post's reporters, after all, have an important stake in the selflessness of their source.

Two routes may be taken in an effort to identify Deep Throat. The first is a study of Woodward and Bernstein's All the President's Men. While Woodward's description of his source is deliberately vague, and while the circumstances of their meetings are intentionally obscured, analysis of the book will enable us to narrow the field of candidates to a single one-providing only that we may assume that Deep Throat was a prominent figure in the Nixon administration, because, of course, we can only compare the characteristics of those who are known to us: if Throat is someone of whom we have never heard, Woodward's description will not help us to identify him. It would then be necessary to examine Woodward's own background to learn where he might have met someone who, while perhaps unknown to the public, was in a position to know, and had the motive to reveal, so many of the Nixon administration's most embarrassing secrets.

(8) Carl Bernstein and Bob Woodward, All the President's Men (1975)

By May 17, 1973, when the Senate hearings opened, Bernstein and Woodward had gotten lazy. Their nighttime visits were scarcer, and, increasingly, they had begun to rely on a relatively easy access to the Senate committee's staff investigators and attorneys. There was, however, one unchecked entry on both lists, presidential aide Alexander P Butterfield. Both Deep Throat and Hugh Sloan had mentioned him, and Sloan had said, almost in passing, that he was in charge of "internal security." In January, Woodward had gone by Butterfield's house in a Virginia suburb. No one had come to the door. In May, Woodward asked a committee staff member if Butterfield had been interviewed. "No, we're too busy."

(9) (9) Len Colodny and Robert Gettlin, Silent Coup: The Removal of a President (1991)

Woodward twice pushed Butterfield on the committee - and his explanation of why he did so requires some examination. He wrote that Deep Throat mentioned Butterfield's name first in a conversation in October 1972. When Woodward asked Hugh Sloan in December of 1972 if he knew the name, Sloan responded "almost in passing" that Butterfield "supervised internal security and the paper flow" to Nixon. Woodward wrote that he knew that at justice, the internal security division, which had been under the direction of Robert Mardian before he went to work for the Nixon campaign, was in charge of government wiretapping, and therefore suspected that the same terminology in the White House might have to do with monitoring private conversations. Woodward underlined the Sloan reference in his notes and in March mentioned it to the Watergate committee investigators.

But the "internal security" label is oddly attributed to Sloan, who had been a scheduling assistant at the White House. Hugh Sloan knew of Butterfield but could not have regarded Butterfield as an "internal security" man because Butterfield's position was overseer of White House administration and Sloan was not in a position to know about Butterfield's covert duties involving President Nixon's taping system. However, Alexander Haig was, because he was a long-term friend of Butterfield's and also knew quite a bit about "internal security" wiretapping. It is more likely that Deep Throat, not Sloan, urged Butterfield on Woodward.

In March, Butterfield had left the White House to become administrator of the Federal Aviation Administration. It was a reward for four years of arduous service to the president. It was in May that Woodward first mentioned Butterfield to the committee investigators.

Several weeks after the first contact, Woodward again raised Butterfield's name with a committee staff member, this time stressing Butterfield's "internal security" duties at the White House. For the moment, though, the committee had more important work to do, on the John Dean testimony that held the nation's attention for several weeks.

(10) Russ Baker, The Real Story Bob Woodward Won’t Tell (30th September 2010)

Now, for a bit of cognitive dissonance. Woodward’s signature achievement - bringing down Richard Nixon - turns out not to be what we all thought. If that comes as a surprise, you have missed a few books, including bestsellers, that put pieces of this puzzle together. (Family of Secrets has several chapters on the real Watergate story, but there are others that present detailed information, including those by Len Colodny and Robert Gettlin, James Rosen, Jim Hougan and others.)

Here’s the deal: Bob, top secret Naval officer, gets sent to work in the Nixon White House while still on military duty. Then, with no journalistic credentials to speak of, and with a boost from White House staffers, he lands a job at the Washington Post. Not long thereafter he starts to take down Richard Nixon. Meanwhile, Woodward’s military bosses are running a spy ring inside the White House that is monitoring Nixon and Kissinger’s secret negotiations with America’s enemies (China, Soviet Union, etc), stealing documents and funneling them back to the Joint Chiefs of Staff. They then give what they stole to columnist Jack Anderson and others in the press.

That’s not the iconic Woodward of legend, of course - so it takes a while for this notion to settle in the mind. But there’s more - and it’s even more troubling. Did you know there was really no Deep Throat, that the Mark Felt story was conjured up as yet another layer of cover in what became a daisy chain of disinformation? Did you know that Richard Nixon was loathed and feared by the military brass, that they and their allies were desperate to get Nixon out and halt his rapprochement with the Communists? That a bunch of operatives with direct or indirect CIA/military connections, from E. Howard Hunt to Alexander Butterfield to John Dean - wormed their way into key White House posts, and started up the Keystone Kops operations that would be laid at Nixon’s office door?

Believe me, I understand. It sounds like the “conspiracy theory” stuff that we have been trained to dismiss. But I’ve just spent five years on a heavily documented forensic dig into this missing strata of American history, and I myself have had to come to terms with the enormous gap between reality and the “reality” presented by the media and various establishment gatekeepers who tell us what’s what.

Given this complicity, it’s no surprise that when it comes to Woodward’s latest work, the myth-making machine is on auto pilot. The public, of course, will end up as confused and manipulated as ever. And so things will continue, same as they ever were. Endless war, no substantive reforms. Unless we wake up to our own victimhood.

(11) Adrian Havill, Deep Truth: The Lives of Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein (1993)

In mid-September 1972, seven men were indicted for the Watergate break-in. To the original five who had been arrested inside the Democratic headquarters, G. Gordon Liddy and Howard Hunt were added. After reporting the story for the Post, Bob wrote in the duo's 1974 book, All the President's Men, he "broke the rule" and telephoned his source in the government known as Deep Throat.' The source told him that the go-ahead to give funding for the break-in had come from officials who were above CREEP employees.

Bob's "rule," of course, was the now-legendary signaling ritual made famous to everyone who read the book or watched the movie of All the President's Men. If Bob wanted to talk with his source, he would pull a flowerpot, into which a red flag was stuck, back to the rear of his sixth-floor apartment balcony. If the source wished to meet with Bob, he would mark page twenty of his New York Times with a hand-drawn clock before it was delivered. Bob would then meet the source by taking two cabs to be sure that he wasn't followed and then rendezvous in an underground garage late at night.

This does strain credulity! We are asked to believe the skulking around, taking two cabs, meeting in man-made subterranean caverns, and after all this are told Bob would cavalierly break the rules on a whim by telephoning to read him a story he had just written. This author has been on every floor of 1718 P Street, N.W.-Bob's former apartment building-and has been inside Bob's sixth-floor apartment and has stood in the courtyard several times. He found the following discrepancies between Bob's account in All the President's Men and what was physically possible.

Bob's apartment, number 617, faced into an inner sunken courtyard, a small area that, stepped off, is approximately one hundred feet in length and thirty feet in width. Bob's unit was the second one in from the alley, yet its balcony couldn't be viewed from there-one needs to get deep into the courtyard in order to just see part of it. The balcony floor is a single slice of concrete with an opaque divider set in the middle to separate another apartment's share of the same cement slab. Bob's half was the innermost one.

In order to have a chance of spotting a flowerpot, one would have to walk far into the courtyard and crane one's head sharply up to see the sixth floor. The flowerpot would then have had to be pulled against the rear and all the way to one side, up against the metal railing. Otherwise it couldn't have been seen on the balcony from any angle inside the courtyard. So if one made it into the courtyard and if the flowerpot were at the outside angle of the balcony, it could be seen, but one wouldn't have gotten away with such an action more than a few times. There were eighty apartments that looked down into the tiny courtyard, and anyone staring up to an apartment and daily lurking around in the enclosure would have been observed and likely reported after more than one visit. If Deep Throat had checked daily, as Bob said on page 72 of All the President's Men he would have been noticed within weeks.' The author knows from firsthand experience. The few times he came to the building and looked up to the sixth floor, a resident came out, leaned over the railing, and engaged him in friendly, sometimes suspicious, conversation. This was during the daylight hours. The author didn't have the nerve to try it at night.

To get to the courtyard one had to pass through two locked doors and within view of the reception desk. The building was heavily secured. But there was another way to view Bob's apartment in 1972, and that was by entering from the alley, walking fifty-six steps and then looking up. This was an even steeper angle, yet was more accessible. It was much harder to see anything on Bob's balcony floor from that angle, and again a daily intruder would have been on display to eighty apartments. For "a source in the executive branch," as Bob described him (page 71), to attempt either gambit on a regular basis would have been an unacceptable risk, given the many alternatives. The flowerpot adventure was the stuff of spy novels as the reader shall soon see.

In a June 17, 1992, twentieth-anniversary story in the Washington Post on Watergate, Bob said he couldn't remember his apartment number. Then he misled Karlyn Barker, the Post reporter, by saying, "606 or 608 or 612, something like that."' In APM, Bob vaguely described it as a "sixth-floor apartment" (page 72) even though he had long moved out by the time the book was released. On the other hand, he described a single visit to Martha Mitchell (page 93) precisely as "room 710, Marriott Suite." By giving equalnumbered digits to Karlyn Barker, Bob placed each unit on the outside of the building and in a location able to be easily seen without ever entering the premises. But the even-numbered red herring was simply that, a false clue. The author acquired documents handwritten by Bob Woodward updating his resume in 1972. He had clearly written "Apt. 617" on those papers. That Bob-a master recordkeeper-would somehow forget the number of an apartment in which he lived for several years and where such historic events took place is surprising.

Bob said he never knew how the New York Times got marked. Fewer than ten residents usually subscribed to the paper. Thus, the Times was not delivered to his door, but left at the reception desk, unmarked and stacked with several others in the lobby. In 1972, the front door was locked at night for security reasons. This author also doesn't know how Bob's paper could have been "marked with a clock." Other parts of APM fail to add up. Bob said he once had to walk for "fifteen blocks" (page 195) to meet with his source because he couldn't find a cab. But Bob knew that three of Washington's largest and most prominent hotels-the Mayflower, the Capital Hilton and the Madison-were all within six blocks of his apartment. All normally have taxis lined up in front twenty-four hours a day. Each had an all-night doorman available to summon or whistle a cab.

So why were there so many questionable cloak-and-dagger scenes in All the President's Men? Money. It was that simple. Carl had the idea to write a book and the two dutifully began their work on it.

"At first we were going to do it about the Watergate burglars," Bob said in a 1974 Los Angeles Times interview. "We had a chapter about Howard Hunt. Carl wrote one about the 1970 elections." The book that Bob and Carl originally intended to write also included chapters on G. Gordon Liddy and John Mitchell. It was about the men and women closest to Richard Nixon. According to Bob, the original title was simply Reporting Watergate.

What changed it all was a phone call from Robert Redford. He wanted to make a movie about Watergate. He had just finished making a political film titled The Candidate, and he had gotten into an argument with some Washington reporters about Watergate and whether or not Richard Nixon had been involved. Redford, who had met Nixon when he was thirteen-Redford was awarded a tennis trophy by him-had a low opinion of the president. Always political, Redford began following Bob and Carl's byline in the Post and became fascinated with the odd pairing. The coupling of the classic Ivy League WASP and the dead-end, dropout Jewish kid was, to Redford, as if Martin and Lewis had gone into journalism rather than comedy. He checked them out and was further impressed with the chemistry-Bob's iceberg-lettuce crispness and Carl's seething volatility. There was a movie to be made here, Redford told friends.

But he suggested to Bob Woodward the movie should be about two reporters and how they cracked the Watergate mystery. If that's how Redford wanted it, then that's how the book would be written. Redford was willing to pay $450,000, plus profit participation, for the privilege. For that, Bob and Carl could take poetic license.

(12) Len Colodny and Robert Gettlin, Silent Coup: The Removal of a President (1991)

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.

(13) The Deceptions of All the President's Men, Probe Magazine V3 N2 (1995)

In his book Deep Truth, author Adrian Havill presents several events in All the President's Men that are, to put it generously, highly suspect. One example is the scene in which Woodward and Bernstein have made their first egregious mistake. They sourced Hugh Sloan's grand jury testimony for a story that Sloan had never told the Grand Jury, showing that Haldeman was one of the inner group at CREEP controlling the mysterious slush fund. In the book, the dejected Woodward and Bernstein walk home in the rain, beaten both physically and symbolically by the elements, with only newspapers over their head to keep them dry. Havill did some checking. It never rained that day. That might seem an inconsequential detail to some, but others will understand that it was a device created to bring drama. How many other "events" were merely fictional devices? Havill found several. For instance, at one point, Carl Bernstein is about to be subpoenaed by CREEP, and Ben Bradlee advised Carl to go hang out at a movie until after 5:00 p.m., then to call into the office. According to the book, Carl went to see Deep Throat, hence the reason for the name "Deep Throat" having been given to Woodward's secret source. But there was no Deep Throat playing anywhere in D.C. at that time. In fact, the theaters were being very cautious, having recently been raided by law enforcement authorities. Not one theater in town was showing Deep Throat....

One of the most astonishingly bald-faced inventions was the process by which Woodward and "Deep Throat" allegedly made contact when they needed to speak to one another. In the book, much is made of the spooky, clandestine meetings between "Deep Throat" and Woodward. When Woodward needed to ask "Deep Throat" something, he was to put a flower pot with a red flag in it on his sixth floor balcony, which, we are supposed to believe, this high level source checked daily. When "Deep Throat" wanted to speak to Woodward, a clock would supposedly be drawn in his copy of the New York Times designating the meeting time. But neither of these scenarios fits the reality of where Woodward lived. Woodward, who could remember the exact room number (710) where he met Martha Mitchell just once, evidently had trouble remembering the address at which he had lived. In an interview he once said it was "606 or 608 or 612, something like that." However, Havill found that Woodward's actual address was 617. This is important, because the balcony attached to 617 faced an interior courtyard. Havill poked around and found that the only way to view a flower pot on the balcony was to walk into the center of the complex, with eighty units viewing you, crane your neck and look up to the sixth floor. Even then, a pot would have been barely visible. There was an alley that ran behind the building that allowed a glimpse of the apartment and balcony, but at an equally difficult angle. And in both cases, we are to believe that this source, who strove hard to protect his identify, would walk up in plain view of the eighty apartments facing the inner courtyard or the alley on a daily basis, on the chance that there might be a sign from Woodward. When Havill tried to poke around, just to look at the place, residents of the building stopped him and inquired who he was and what he was looking for. Unless "Deep Throat" was well known to the residents of the building, his daily visits seem to preclude being able to keep his identity a secret.

As for the clock-in-the-paper, the New York Times papers were delivered not to each door, but left stacked and unmarked in a common reception area. There was no way "Deep Throat" could have known which paper Woodward would end up with each morning.

Havill, in fact, believes that "Deep Throat" is no more real than the movie episode or the rain, but rather, a dramatic device. It certainly worked well. And Woodward's and Bernstein's editor at Simon and Schuster, Alice Mayhew, urged them to "build up the Deep Throat character and make him interesting." While it is now clearly known that at least one of Woodward's informants was, in fact, Robert Bennett, the suggestions from Colodny and Gettlin in Silent Coup about Al Haig and Deborah Davis's suggestions in Katherine the Great about Richard Ober may not be contradictory. Other names that have been suggested have included Walter Sheridan (Jim Hougan in Spooks) and Bobby Ray Inman (also in Spooks). If Havill is correct and there is no "person" who was known as "Deep Throat", it is possible that any or all of the above were passing along information, explicitly not to be sourced or credited to them in any way, on deep background.

(14) H. R. Haldeman, The Ends of Power (1978)

The memo of Bob Bennett's C.I.A. case officer points almost overwhelmingly to Bennett as Deep Throat, the phantom source for Woodward and Bernstein. In that CIA memo it states that Bennett is feeding information to Woodward for which the reporter is 'suitably grateful'.

'Suitably grateful' of course, implies that Woodward is protecting the CIA in exchange for the information. And, in fact, an, examination of Woodward and Bernstein's book, All the President's Men, shows a remarkable coincidence. The CIA is barely mentioned, even-though Woodward admits his first interest in the case came when he heard McCord, at the precinct station, say he had been employed by the CIA

Strange. Nevertheless Woodward has denied that Bennett is Deep Throat. I agree with him. I have my own candidate, based on my knowledge of what was going on at the time Deep Throat was feeding Woodward his stories. Nixon has this same knowledge, too, and from time to time he swings away from Bennett and points to my candidate. His name is Fred Fielding. He was John Dean's staff assistant; a shy, slightly prissy fellow.

Why do I think Fielding is Deep Throat?

1. I begin by accepting Woodward's own description of Deep Throat as a "source in the Executive Branch who had access to information at C.R.P. as well as the White, House." That, if true, eliminates Bennett, who was not in the Executive Branch. Woodward later said in the book that Deep Throat also had special access to the Justice Department and the F.B.I. Only Dean, or his associate, had access from the White House to CRP, the FBI . and the Justice Department during Watergate.

2. The second fact that makes me suspect Fielding is that Dean told us he personally had kept Fielding "out of things" during Watergate. If that's true, you had a man with access to a lot of information from different sources but kept away from other vital information. And that accounts for a mystifying aspect of Deep Throat's behaviour that has gained little or no notice. Not what he told Woodward that was accurate - but what he told Woodward that was wrong and almost every White House staffer knew was wrong. This could only happen if Deep Throat had access to much information, but was deliberately kept "out of things", as Dean had said. Fielding would then let his imagination fill in the gaps.

(15) San Francisco Chronicle (5th May, 1977)

Watergate burglar Frank Sturgis said yesterday the CIA planned the break-in because high officials felt the then-President Nixon was becoming too powerful and was overly interested in the assassination of President Kennedy.

Sturgis also said he believes "Deep Throat" - a major source for Washington Post reporters Carl Bernstein and Bob Woodward - was Robert Bennett, a partner in a CIA-front public relations firm in Washington. Bennett, a son of former Senator Wallace Bennett (Rep-Utah), is employed by the Summa Corp., part of the empire of the late Howard Hughes. Hughes was a major client of Mullen Corp., Bennett's old firm.

Sturgis was convicted in the break-in at Democratic headquarters. He said Bennett - on orders from then-CIA Director Richard Helms - was fed information by Alexander Haig, Nixon's chief of staff; Alexander Butterfield, who disclosed the existence of Nixon's taping system; and Watergate burglar Howard Hunt.

(16) John Dean, Lost Honor (1982)

Bob Haldeman's book about Watergate, The Ends of Power, named Fred Fielding as Deep Throat. I felt I should do something.

Fred Fielding had been more than my deputy at the Nixon White House, he'd been one of my closest friends. We'd shared good times and tough times, and, when Watergate became a part of my daily life at the White House, it had strained both our friendship and working relationship. At first I had talked openly with Fred about Watergate, and we'd worked on it together, as we did so many matters that came through our office. However, when I realized the direction Watergate was headed, I stopped talking with Fred. From the day I was asked to find out about raising hush money for the men arrested at the Watergate complex, I knew the cover-up was headed toward criminal activity. There was no reason to draw Fred into the mess I'd found myself a part of.

At the time, Fred was annoyed and upset with me. Later, when he realized I had protected him and the others on my staff-from the facts of Watergate, he was appreciative. I knew Fred had not had it easy in convincing investigators and reporters that he knew nothing, but I knew he knew nothing about Watergate. And I was sure that the name Deep Throat, courtesy of Bob Haldeman, would be a most unwelcome appellation, since it all but made Fred a liar. I called Fred to talk with him about how he was going to deal with the situation.

Fred said he had learned several weeks before publication that Haldeman had named him Deep Throat. "An old friend, a reporter, called me," Fred explained. "He'd seen an advance copy and wanted to know if I'd give an exclusive interview I was quite taken aback by the whole thing."

I asked why he thought Haldeman had named him.

"I've got no idea why he'd name me." And then, with the old Fielding wit, he added, "Everybody in the world knows it was Hal Holbrook."

Fred explained what I knew well, that he didn't have access to the information that Deep Throat possessed; however, he felt he had something even more important going for him: "I'm fortunate that I've got evidence that'll show I couldn't be Deep Throat. When I learned what Haldeman had done, I reread Woodward's book, and one of the most critical conversations he had with Deep Throat was on January 24, 1973. As it happened, you'll recall, I was out of the country, in South America on government business, from about the 22nd of January until the 27th or 28th. I've been looking for my old passport, which will have the evidence stamped right on it."

We talked about how he'd proceed if and when he located his passport. I suggested he take it over to Hays Gorey, at Time magazine. I told him Hays had had a continuing interest in the Deep Throat story and, if he could prove it to Hays, Time magazine would certainly shoot down the Haldeman allegation. Fred agreed.

Understandably, Fred was angry with Haldeman's dragging him back into Watergate. "And another thing about his book that I guess I shouldn't be surprised about, but I was," Fred noted, "is that he has nothing good to say, nothing positive to offer, about anyone he discusses-except himself." Somewhat bitterly, Fred observed, "Haldeman may have made his mark in history, but it certainly isn't as a historian."

(17) Leonard Garment, In Search of Deep Throat (2000)

The most obvious fact about Mullen & Co.'s relationship to the CIA was that if it were revealed, the CIA would have to discontinue it, along with the financial benefits it provided to the company. That is in fact what happened not long after Watergate, when the company's cover was finally blown.

This set of mixed motives made Bennett, to my mind, even more plausible as a Deep Throat candidate. When some writer claims that Deep Throat acted because he hated Richard Nixon's Vietnam policy, the alleged motivation is murky and uncertain. But when I thought of Deep Throat acting to keep the bread and butter coming, I had found a motivation I understood.

In addition, when I thought of Bennett as Deep Throat I remembered the one positive clue that Woodward had given me. The reason Deep Throat does not come forward even after all these years, Woodward said, is that his post-Watergate public persona is so different from the persona of Deep Throat.

There could not have been a Deep Throat candidate whom this description fit better than Robert F. Bennett. After Watergate, Bennett left Washington and made his fortune. In due course, he re-entered politics - this time electoral politics in his home state of Utah. Bennett, once an obscure public relations entrepreneur, succeeded his father as senator from Utah. The younger Senator Bennett is now a figure of considerable stature within the Senate...

Bennett even had the physique attributed to Deep Throat in All the President's Men. He is extremely tall. That would explain how he could, without thinking, place a message for Woodward on a garage ledge that Woodward could not reach. Finally, Bennett was the only Deep Throat candidate on record as admitting that he had provided Woodward with unacknowledged, off-the-record information. He had access, opportunity, and motivation...

I wondered why the Bennett testimony, once declassified, had not been enough to settle the question of Deep Throat's identity once and for all. If Bennett was not literally Deep Throat, in my view at the time, he was the closest that any candidate would ever come. Bennett knew immediately about the Watergate break-in; he knew as well about the White House connections to the event, both before and after the fact. Bennett also had a powerful motive for playing the "source" card with the press: He was anxious to safeguard the existence and economic well-being of his company by protecting the secrecy of its relationship with the CIA. He had confirmed under oath that he had preserved this secret by disclosing to Woodward "everything" he knew about Watergate-which was, at the time, just about all there was to know.

(18) Sharon Theimer, Buffalo News (2nd June, 2005)

Breaking a silence of 30 years, former FBI official W. Mark Felt stepped forward Tuesday as "Deep Throat," the secret Washington Post source who helped bring down President Richard M. Nixon during the Watergate scandal. Within hours, the newspaper confirmed his assertion.

"It's the last secret" of the story, said Benjamin C. Bradlee, the newspaper's top editor at the time the riveting political drama played out three decades ago.

The revelation tumbled out in stages during the day - first when a lawyer quoted Felt in a magazine article as having said he was the source; then when the former FBI man's family issued a statement hailing him as a "great American hero." Within hours, the newspaper confirmed Felt's assertion, ending one of the most enduring mysteries in American politics and journalism.

"I'm the guy they used to call "Deep Throat,' " Felt, the former No. 2 official at the FBI, was quoted as saying in Vanity Fair.

He kept his secret even from his family for almost three decades before his declaration.

Felt, now 91, lives in Santa Rosa, Calif., and is said to be in poor mental and physical health because of a stroke. His family did not immediately make him available for comment, asking the media to respect his privacy "in view of his age and health."

A grandson, Nick Jones, read a statement. "The family believes that my grandfather, Mark Felt Sr., is a great American hero who went well above and beyond the call of duty at much risk to himself to save his country from a horrible injustice," it said.

In a statement issued later, Watergate reporters Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein said, "W. Mark Felt was "Deep Throat' and helped us immeasurably in our Watergate coverage. However, as the record shows, many other sources and officials assisted us and other reporters for the hundreds of stories that were written in the Washington Post about Watergate."

Among other things, "Deep Throat" urged the reporters to follow the money trail - from the financing of burglars who broke into Democratic National Committee offices to the financing of Nixon's re-election campaign. The reporters and Bradlee had kept the identity of "Deep Throat" secret at his request, saying his name would be revealed upon his death. But then Felt revealed it himself.

Even the existence of "Deep Throat," nicknamed for an X-rated movie of the early 1970s, was kept secret for a time. Woodward and Bernstein revealed their reporting had been aided by a Nixon administration source in their best-selling book "All the President's Men."

A hit movie starring Robert Redford as Woodward, Dustin Hoffman as Bernstein and Hal Holbrook as "Deep Throat" was made in 1976. In the film, Holbrook's shadowy, cigarette-smoking character met Redford in dark parking garages and provided clues about the scandal.

The source's identity had sparked endless speculation. Nixon chief of staff Alexander M. Haig Jr., acting FBI Director L. Patrick Gray III, White House Counsel John W. Dean III and his deputy, Fred Fielding, and former Nixon deputy counsel John Sears were among those mentioned.

Felt himself was mentioned several times over the years as a candidate for "Deep Throat," but he regularly denied that he was.

"I would have done better," Felt told the Hartford Courant in 1999. "I would have been more effective. "Deep Throat' didn't exactly bring the White House crashing down, did he?"

Felt had hopes that he would be the next FBI director, but Nixon instead appointed Gray, an administration insider who was an assistant attorney general.

The Vanity Fair article, by California lawyer John D. O'Connor, described Felt as conflicted over his role in the Watergate revelations and over whether he should publicly reveal who he was.

A Nixon associate who wound up behind bars, G. Gordon Liddy, said he did not consider Felt a hero for going to the Post reporters.

"If he were interested in performing his duty, he would have gone to the grand jury with his information," Liddy, who was finance counsel at Nixon's reelection committee and helped direct the break-in, said on CNN.

According to the article, Felt once told his son, Mark Jr., that he did not believe being the Post's key confidential source on Watergate "was anything to be proud of.... You (should) not leak information to anyone."

Felt was convicted in the 1970s for authorizing illegal break-ins at homes of people associated with the radical Weather Underground. He was pardoned by President Ronald Reagan in 1981.

(19) Bob Woodward, The Guardian (3rd June, 2005)

A month later, on Saturday June 17, the FBI night supervisor called Felt at home. Five men in business suits, pockets stuffed with $100 bills, and carrying eavesdropping and photographic equipment, had been arrested inside the Democrats' national headquarters at the Watergate office building at about 2.30am.

By 8.30am, Felt was in his office at the FBI, seeking more details. About the same time, the Post's city editor woke me at home and asked me to come in to cover an unusual burglary.

The first paragraph of the front-page story that ran the next day in the Post read: "Five men, one of whom said he is a former employee of the Central Intelligence Agency, were arrested at 2.30am yesterday in what authorities described as an elaborate plot to bug the offices of the Democratic National Committee here." The next day, Carl Bernstein and I wrote our first article together, identifying one of the burglars, James W McCord Jr, as the salaried security coordinator for Nixon's reelection committee. On Monday, I went to work on E Howard Hunt, whose phone number had been found in the address books of two of the burglars with the small notations "W House" and "WH" by his name.

This was the moment when a source or friend in the investigative agencies of government is invaluable. I called Felt at the FBI, reaching him through his secretary. It would be our first talk about Watergate. He reminded me how he disliked phone calls at the office but said the Watergate burglary case was going to "heat up" for reasons he could not explain. He then hung up abruptly.

I was tentatively assigned to write the next day's Watergate bugging story, but I was not sure I had anything. Carl had the day off. I picked up the phone and dialled 456-1414 - the White House - and asked for Howard Hunt. There was no answer, but the operator helpfully said he might be in the office of Charles W Colson, Nixon's special counsel. Colson's secretary said Hunt was not there but might be at a PR firm where he worked as a writer. I called and reached Hunt and asked why his name was in the address book of two of the Watergate burglars.

"Good God!" Hunt shouted before slamming down the phone. I called the president of the PR firm, Robert F Bennett, who is now a Republican US senator from Utah. "I guess it's no secret that Howard was with the CIA," Bennett said blandly.

It had been a secret to me, and a CIA spokesman confirmed that Hunt had been with the agency from 1949 to 1970. I called Felt again at the FBI. Colson, White House, CIA, I said. What did I have? Anyone could have someone's name in an address book. Felt sounded nervous. He said - off the record, meaning I could not use the information - that Hunt was a prime suspect in the burglary at the Watergate for many reasons beyond the address books. So reporting the connections forcefully would not be unfair.

In July, Carl went to Miami, home of four of the burglars, on the money trail, and he ingeniously tracked down a local prosecutor and his chief investigator, who had copies of $89,000 in Mexican cheques and a $25,000 cheque that had gone into the account of Bernard L Barker, one of the burglars. We were able to establish that the $25,000 cheque had been campaign money that had been given to Maurice H Stans, Nixon's chief fundraiser, on a Florida golf course. The August 1 story on this was the first to tie Nixon campaign money directly to Watergate.

I tried to call Felt, but he wouldn't take the call. I tried his home and had no better luck. So one night I showed up at his Fairfax home. It was a plain-vanilla, perfectly kept suburban house. His manner made me nervous. He said no more phone calls, no more visits to his home, nothing in the open. I did not know then that in Felt's earliest days in the FBI, during the second world war, he was assigned to work on the general desk of the espionage section. Felt learned a great deal about German spying in the job, and after the war spent time keeping suspected Soviet agents under surveillance. So at his home in Virginia that summer, Felt said that if we were to talk it would have to be face to face, where no one could observe us.

I said anything would be fine with me.

We would need a preplanned notification system - a change in the environment that no one else would notice or attach any meaning to. I didn't know what he was talking about.

If you keep the drapes in your apartment closed, open them and that could signal me, he said. I could check each day or have them checked, and if they were open we could meet that night at a designated place. I liked to let the light in at times, I explained.

We needed another signal, he said, indicating that he could check my apartment regularly. He never explained how he could do this. Feeling under some pressure, I said that I had a red cloth flag - the kind used as a warning on long truck loads - that a girlfriend had found on the street. She had stuck it in an empty flowerpot on my apartment balcony. Felt and I agreed that I would move the flowerpot with the flag, which usually was in the front near the railing, to the rear of the balcony if I urgently needed a meeting. This would have to be important and rare, he said sternly. The signal, he said, would mean we would meet that same night at about 2am on the bottom level of an underground garage just over the Key Bridge in Rosslyn.

Felt said I would have to follow strict countersurveillance techniques. How did I get out of my apartment?

I walked out, down the hall, and took the elevator.

Which takes you to the lobby? he asked.

Yes.

Did I have back stairs to my apartment house?

Yes.

Use them when you are heading for a meeting. Do they open into an alley?

Yes.

Take the alley. Don't use your own car. Take a taxi to several blocks from a hotel where there are cabs after midnight, get dropped off and then walk to get a second cab to Rosslyn. Don't get dropped off directly at the parking garage. Walk the last several blocks. If you are being followed, don't go down to the garage. I'll understand if you don't show. The key was taking the necessary time - one to two hours to get there. Be patient, serene. Trust the pre-arrangements. There was no fallback meeting place or time. If we both didn't show, there would be no meeting.

Felt said that if he had something for me, he could get me a message. He quizzed me about my daily routine, what came to my apartment, the mailbox, etc. The Post was delivered outside my apartment door. I did have a subscription to the New York Times. A number of people in my apartment building near Dupont Circle got the Times. The copies were left in the lobby with the apartment number. Mine was 617, and it was written clearly on the outside of each paper. Felt said if there was something important he could get to my New York Times - how, I never knew. Page 20 would be circled, and the hands of a clock in the lower part of the page would be drawn to indicate the time of the meeting that night, probably 2am, in the same parking garage.

The relationship was a compact of trust; nothing about it was to be discussed or shared with anyone, he said.

How he could have made a daily observation of my balcony is still a mystery to me. At the time, before the era of intensive security, the back of the building was not enclosed, so anyone could have driven in to observe my balcony. In addition, my balcony and the back of the apartment complex faced on to a courtyard that was shared with other buildings. My balcony could have been seen from dozens of apartments or offices, as best I can tell.

(20) John Woestendiek, The Seattle Times (1st June, 2005)

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.

(21) Cliff Kincaid, Was Mark Felt Really Deep Throat? (3rd June, 2005)

History professor Joan Hoff of Montana State University, an expert on the Watergate scandal, finds it interesting that Bob Woodward is claiming that he had a close relationship with former FBI official Mark Felt, now identified as Deep Throat, when Felt suffers from serious health problems, including dementia, and can’t deny it. “It’s just like when he said he interviewed (former CIA director Bill) Casey when Casey was comatose,” she says.

Len Colodny, co-author of Silent Coup, about the “removal” of President Nixon, finds the identification of Mark Felt as Deep Throat to be rather remarkable: “A Deep Throat who can’t talk.”

The fact is, as AIM founder Reed Irvine documented, Woodward has been known to make things up. Woodward’s Casey “interview” is a case in point. As Reed noted, “In his 1987 book, Veil, Woodward claimed he had interviewed William J. Casey, the CIA director, after Casey had brain surgery and could not speak intelligibly. Woodward didn’t know that, and he made up an interview in which Casey is supposed to have spoken 19 intelligible words. It was clear that this was a falsification not only because of Casey’s condition, but because his hospital room was guarded and Woodward was never admitted to it.”

Hoff believes the identification of Deep Throat is part of “an orchestrated publicity stunt on the part of the Post and Woodward” because Woodward plans to publish his own book on Felt. “Lo and behold,” says Hoff, “Felt’s family decides he’s Deep Throat and Felt can’t say whether he is or not, and we get the big story.”

In fact, despite his serious health problems, Felt can still utter a few words. He was captured on film outside his home yesterday saying that he enjoyed the publicity and that, “I’ll arrange to write a book or something, and collect all the money I can.” A New York Times account indicates that members of the Felt family have been envious of the money that will be made from the Deep Throat disclosures and that they were trying to pursue their own book deal independent of Woodward after he rebuffed their pleas for a collaborative effort.

Felt seems to have been a source of some kind for Woodward. But was he the source known as Deep Throat? Hoff isn’t the only one who has some doubts.

Colodny says that what is known about Felt “doesn’t match what Woodward wrote in his book. He describes Deep Throat as someone he had known for a long time and had many discussions about power in Washington and so on. There’s not a shred of evidence that Felt is that person.”

In the June 2 Post, Woodward describes for the first time the details of his “friendship” with Felt. They are said to have met accidentally when Woodward, then a young Navy Lieutenant, was delivering Navy documents to the White House in 1970. Hoff points out that Felt, because of his severe memory problems, can’t deny any of this and the account “is based only and exclusively on Woodward’s word.”

But there are other reasons to doubt that Felt is Deep Throat.

Colodny and Hoff point to the claim in the Woodward/Bernstein book, All the President’s Men, that Deep Throat provided the Post reporters exclusive information about the “deliberate erasures,” as “Throat” told Woodward in November of 1973, on the White House tapes. “There’s no reason to believe that Felt had access to that information because it was closely held in the White House,” says Colodny, “and Felt had left the FBI in April - six months earlier.”

Hoff agrees. “It’s conceivable that as the second in command at the FBI, the deputy director, he could have gotten information from somebody about this,” she said. “But I don’t think he gave them this information. I think it was somebody in the White House. At that point, the White House was so embattled over the tapes and the possible subpoena (of them), there were only 3 or 4 people who had access to those tapes.”

That means, apparently, that either Felt is not Deep Throat or that he had his own Deep Throat.

But if Felt did somehow have access to that information and provided it to Woodward, important questions are raised.

“The guy is deputy director of the FBI,” Colodny says. “Why is he not protecting the tapes? Why is he not arresting the people who are doing this? Why doesn’t he go to (Watergate Judge John) Sirica’s court, which is hearing this? He’s a sworn law enforcement officer. He knows there’s a crime being committed. But instead of doing something about it, he goes in a garage and talks to Woodward.”

Hoff makes the same basic point. “He is the top law enforcement officer in the country because there’s only an acting director (of the FBI) at that point,” says Hoff. “Why didn’t he go to Sirica or a grand jury and blow the story open?”

If Felt was concerned about the hostility between the FBI and President Nixon, Hoff counters, “This is the very story that he could have killed the Nixon Administration with. Why in God’s name would a top law enforcement officer meet in a garage with a rookie reporter and give him this information? It makes no sense.”

Hoff predicts that the story will rebound to the discredit of Woodward. It’s another flashy story, she concedes, “but I think they made a mistake in choosing Felt.”

Last February 4, when the University of Texas in Austin opened the Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein Watergate papers (for which it had paid them $5 million), Hoff participated in a symposium with Woodward and suggested that he put Deep Throat on videotape. Hoff wrote that she told Woodward that “he should video tape that individual as soon as possible so the public could be sure of the authenticity of the man Woodward would ultimately reveal as Deep Throat when the person could not deny it.”

Of course, this should have been done years ago. The Felt family has affirmed the Deep Throat designation but it’s now clear that they had a financial interest in doing so as well. And the questions about the conspiracy behind the Watergate conspiracy will be shunted aside and will remain unanswered.

(22) BBC News (1st June, 2005)

It was one of America's greatest mysteries: Who was the anonymous source who had leaked information about the Watergate scandal that led to the resignation of US President Richard Nixon in 1974?

Mark Felt, a former deputy head of the FBI, has revealed that it was he who made the suggestion that led to the discovery of the link between the burglary at the Democratic National Committee HQ in Washington's Watergate complex in June 1972, and the financing of Nixon's reelection campaign.

For decades, the informant was known only as Deep Throat. He was the shadowy, chain-smoking character played by Hal Holbrook in the hit movie All the President's Men starring Robert Redford and Dustin Hoffman.

Mr Felt, who was responsible for investigating the burglary, has figured prominently in the 30-year guessing game about Deep Throat's identity.

But he repeatedly denied that he was the source who met Washington Post reporters Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein in underground car parks to provide clues to the scandal.

Mr Felt, now 91, lives in retirement in Santa Rosa, California. According to reports, he has lived for decades in the belief that he betrayed his FBI badge by disclosing government secrets.

On Tuesday, his lawyer John O'Connor told US media: "Mark felt that he was somehow a dishonourable guy, an FBI agent who was disloyal, who leaked when he shouldn't have leaked. He kept saying an FBI agent doesn't do this."

Mr Felt's family only learned of his secret three years ago and, according to Mr O'Connor, they talked to him and helped convince him that he "was a hero".

"After talking to him for two to three years, probably for the last six to nine months, he was really convinced he was a hero. He knows he did the right thing. He knows he had to breach his code of ethics to save the country."

Mr Felt's son, Mark Junior, told Vanity Fair in an article detailing the revelation: "He would not have done it if he didn't feel it was the only way to get around the corruption in the White House and Justice Department. He was tortured inside, but never would show it."

(23) Rutland Herald (5th June, 2005)

Last week, another one of those irresistible TV occasions came along when 91-year-old Mark Felt, who had been the No. 2 official at the FBI back in the early 1970s, acknowledged that he was the mysterious "Deep Throat" who systematically fed critical information to the Washington Post's Bob Woodward during that newspaper's lonely and courageous investigation of the events we now call Watergate. Felt was the greatest anonymous source we've ever seen.

Because it led to Richard Nixon's resignation as president, Watergate was the biggest political story of the 20th century in these United States. Given Deep Throat's critical role in helping a single newspaper unravel the sordid tale of corruption, intrigue and deceit that was leading inexorably to Nixon's impeachment, the tipster's identity was a compelling mystery.

As soon as the mystery was solved, the debate about the rectitude of the nation's most famous whistle-blower began. David Gergen, an aide to four presidents, stated his views on at least four different programs within hours of Felt's admission. Gergen, painfully reluctant to applaud Felt, was more moderate and responsible than most; others with similar ties to the Republican Party were downright snide about Felt and practically branded him a traitor.

The most offensive, I thought, was Chuck Colson, who found religion while serving a term in prison for misdeeds he committed while serving as the president's special counsel during the Watergate scandal. Now a man of God, he gave CNN's Aaron Brown no sign that the word "forgiveness" is part of his language. Mark Felt, he insisted, should have reported his misgivings to his superiors rather than spill the beans to the (ugh) press.

But look who Felt's superiors were: John Mitchell, the attorney general, and L. Patrick Gray III, the acting head of the FBI. We now know what Felt knew – that Mitchell was deeply involved in Watergate, at least the cover-up, which is what finally brought Nixon down. And Gray, a former assistant attorney general with no FBI experience, was loyal to the president who had appointed him to succeed the late J. Edgar Hoover, who was a greatly flawed character whom Nixon knew he could never control.

And of course we also know that Nixon himself was at the very center of the scandal. Colson apparently would have us believe Mitchell and Gray would have done something noble and good with Felt's reports. So, why can't we believe him?

The infamous Nixon tapes revealed that when the president was told that Felt might be the Post's source, he wondered aloud if Felt was a Catholic. No, he was told by his chief of staff, H.R. Haldeman, he's a Jew. And Nixon replied: "[Expletive], [the bureau] put a Jew in there?" And Haldeman responded "Well, that could explain it." Incidentally, Felt is not Jewish.

(24) David Nason, The Australian (4th June, 2005)

To many Americans, Felt was not the whistleblower who risked all to save US democracy but a self-serving rat who was just as big a danger to democracy as Nixon and his band of crooked advisers.

For these people, the Deep Throat epithet accurately conveys a sense of the political gutter they believe Felt occupies.

Not surprisingly, this debate has tended to be along party lines, with Democrats by and large embracing Felt as a courageous man of honour, the patron saint of whistleblowers.

Republicans, on the other hand, have targeted Felt's repeated breach of his oath of office, namely his release of confidential government information to Woodward and his failure to report his evidence of White House criminality to prosecutors.

Some, such as former Nixon speechwriter Pat Buchanan, have brutally dismissed Felt as a "traitor". Others, such as former Nixon chief counsel Charles Colson, have been more considered.

Colson said Felt's unique position in the intelligence community deprived him of the right to become a whistleblower.

"He had in his hands about the most sensitive portfolio in the US government and I think he abused it," Colson said this week.

"Do you want to live in a country where the deputy director of the FBI, who has access to the files of half the American people -- top-secret files -- feels free to give them out because he has a higher calling? To me, that's a pretty scary proposition."

Colson also pointed to the hypocrisy of Felt leaking when he was later convicted of organising the same kind of illegal Watergate-style burglaries against student radicals. In a strange twist, Nixon testified on Felt's behalf at his trial.

"I'm very sorry for Mark Felt," Colson said. "I liked him, I'm very sorry he leaves as Deep Throat. That's going to be on his tombstone and that is not a good legacy."

Former Nixon chief of staff Alexander Haig, one of those always high on the list of Deep Throat suspects, said a true man of honour caught in Felt's position would have resigned.

"If you see something that your conscience tells you you can't live with, then you resign and you take whatever action you can," Haig said this week.

"Sometimes you just resign. I've resigned from several presidencies for what I couldn't agree with. But you do resign. You don't have it both ways. You don't stay in a government position while you're leaking secrets to the outside newspapers."

In a taped phone conversation from May 12, 1973, Nixon told Haig that Felt was a "goddamn traitor" and told Haig to watch him carefully. Haig had told Nixon in 1973 that: "We've got to be careful as to when we cut his nuts off."

Gordon Liddy, the Nixon agent who was jailed for organising the 1972 break-in at the Democratic campaign headquarters in the Watergate building, said Felt's duty was to seek a grand jury indictment if he had evidence of White House criminality, a remark that earned a swift rebuke from Ben Bradlee, the Washington Post editor who backed Woodward and Bernstein.

"Liddy is a common crook," Bradlee said. "For these people to talk about the immorality of Deep Throat makes me laugh."

Of course the question of Felt's morality turns largely on his motivation for becoming Deep Throat in the first place. Was Felt, as a Post columnist Richard Cohen claimed this week, a man who "took seriously all that stuff about duty and loyalty and the American Way"?

Or was he just angry at being passed over by Nixon as head of the FBI after the death of J.Edgar Hoover and decided a revenge play in the media was the best way to get even?

Sadly, it seems the world will never hear from Felt on this critical point. At 91, and with a severe stroke behind him, he reportedly has no clear memory of the Watergate era, a factor likely to limit the cash value of his sudden celebrity.

Felt's last word on the subject came in 1999, on the 25th anniversary of Nixon's resignation, when he told a reporter that it would be "terrible" if someone in his position had been Deep Throat. "This would completely undermine the reputation that you might have as a loyal employee of the FBI," he said. "It just wouldn't fit at all."

This week, Felt, frail and almost clownish, was capable only of parroting the financial agenda of his family. "I'll arrange to write a book or something, and collect all the money I can," he told reporters outside his daughter's California home.

But that day publisher Judith Regan revealed that negotiations over a possible book deal had collapsed because of serious concerns that Felt was no longer of sound mind.

(25) William Gaines, We Were Wrong (4th June, 2005)

We were wrong. We had to accept we were wrong when on May 31, 2005, Bob Woodward, the famous Washington Post reporter, revealed that his super-secret source in the Watergate investigation of the Nixon Administration was Mark Felt, second in command at the FBI.

I had my class in investigative reporting at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign make a systematic approach to finding the identity of that source who for more than 30 years was known only as Deep Throat.

My students over 12 semesters poured over FBI reports, congressional testimony, White House documents in the National Archives and autobiographies of Watergate figures. We started with the premise that everything Woodward wrote or spoke about Deep Throat was true to the best of his knowledge at the time. At the start, everyone was a suspect. Then we started narrowing the field.

We were aware of Mark Felt. There had been several claims that he was Deep Throat but we eliminated everyone in the FBI for several reasons.

It was known that Throat provided information from May 1972 until November 1973, according to Woodward and Carl Bernstein's book, All The President's Men. Felt had left the FBI in June 1973. At that time, the FBI was not directly involved in the Watergate investigation. It had been taken over by the staff of a special prosecutor.

In November 1973, according to the book, Throat told Woodward by phone that the Nixon tapes had gaps of a suspicious nature that could have been deliberate. When the students checked the newspaper reports of that week, they found that quotation from Throat to be attributed to a White House source. The FBI is an agency of the Justice Department, outside the gates of the White House.

A similar circumstance was found when students visited the Harry Ransom Research Center at the University of Texas that purchased Woodward and Bernstein's notes. Students located a report to Woodward from Throat that explained the transactions involved in checks from a Mexican bank that had gone into one of the Watergate burglar's bank account. When that was written about in the newspaper, the information was attributed to "one knowledgeable Republican source."

There were other seemingly more important reasons to feel that Throat was not harbored in the FBI. Information he gave Woodward did not always agree with FBI reports. One instance that stood out was that Throat had been quoted as telling Woodward: "You can safely say that 50 people worked for the White House and CRP (Nixon's re-election committee) to play games and sabotage and gather intelligence." It's all in the files, Deep Throat said; "Justice and the Bureau know about it."

The Post story of October 10, 1972, that resulted from the conversation, stated that "according to FBI reports, at least 50 undercover Nixon operatives traveled throughout the country." Students located an FBI report written the day the Post story was published that stated the FBI did not have such information in its files and furthermore it was not true.

Examination of Throat's words and the newspaper stories that resulted shows that much of the information was far removed from the FBI, and instead was White House insider information. An example in our study concerned the knowledge that John Ehrlichman, assistant to Nixon, told E. Howard Hunt, a leader of the Watergate burglars, to get out of town. John Dean, Nixon's chief counsel, testified that Ehrlichman gave that order and told Gordon Liddy, who passed the order to Hunt. Charles Colson, special counsel to Nixon, learned it from Dean and told Dean to rescind the order. But Liddy, Hunt and Colson wrote that they only knew it came from Dean and not from Ehrlichman, and Ehrlichman denied it. Dean said he never told anyone. The only other person believed to have knowledge of Dean's version was Fred Fielding, his chief deputy, who Colson said was present when he talked about it with Dean. We found no mention of the subject in any of the 16,000 pages of FBI reports we examined.

After the announcement that Throat was Felt, it was widely reported that Felt quit smoking in the 1940s. We did not know that because we only went into that much detail when we probed White House suspects. Unlike Felt, our choice for Deep Throat smoked and was in the White House during the entire time when Woodward was getting information from Throat.

While the facts in our online report have not been found to be in error, the big mistake that negates the study is that we came to the wrong conclusion. We were 100 percent sure that Fielding was Deep Throat, I had said publicly. We were that sure, but we were wrong. Only Woodward and Throat together can make that statement.

Fielding was the last man standing in the process of elimination and we then ticked off a list of Throat's facts and compared them with Fielding's knowledge. Fielding saw FBI reports that Dean was getting from L. Patrick Gray, the acting director of the FBI, and sat in on FBI interviews of White House staff members. He prepared White House staff people for investigator's interviews and in one instance got a full report on what the grand jury was asking.

Most surprising was that Fielding's name was left out of Woodward and Bernstein's stories, and we were able to show that they knew of his involvement.

Fielding at one time said he was out of the country when Deep Throat met with Woodward, but we learned that Woodward had not specifically stated the date of the meeting, and had seemingly written around it to obscure it.

Finally, we recounted a published report in which Fielding stated it was probably true that when he was very ill that he said he was Deep Throat.

Fielding would not be interviewed by us or any of the media concerning our report. He would only deny being Deep Throat. He was correct. He is not Deep Throat.

I immediately accepted that we were wrong when Woodward confirmed that the account in Vanity Fair magazine was true. The media response was overwhelming. My e-mail took about 200 messages the first day, and my voice mail filled to capacity. Some of it was ridicule and insults, but there were some comments of support. The most heartening response was from former students. They found Woodward's statement unbelievable, but I told them it had to be accepted. I was especially grateful to students who were on summer break but volunteered to come to my office and help handle the phone calls.

I promised in my media interviews that our next investigation would be of how we went wrong. We also will look at some of the questions that have arisen, such as did Felt work with other people or were there other independent sources who were as important as Throat.

Did we learn from the experience? We probably learned more from being wrong than if we were right.

(26) Jim Hougan, Deep Throat, Bob Woodward and the CIA (8th June, 2005)

Until Woodward outed Felt, the only candidate who fit the bill was Bennett.

In 1972, when Mark Felt was reading transcripts of Yeoman Radford's conversations, Bennett was the new owner of the Robert R. Mullen Company. This was a CIA front with offices in Washington and abroad. Among Bennett's employees was the seemingly retired CIA officer, E. Howard Hunt. Politically hyper-active during the Nixon Administration, Bennett was also the Washington representative of the Howard Hughes organization (which was just entering negotiations with the CIA over plans to recover a sunken Soviet submarine from the Pacific Ocean's floor). It was Bennett who suggested that Hunt might want to interview ITT lobbyist Dita Beard, and it was Bennett who volunteered his own nephew to work as an infiltrator at the DNC. One might go on, but the point is made: Bennett was a very well-placed source, if not a co-conspirator.

Today, Senator Bennett is a Mormon elder and one of the richest men in Congress. That he was also a key source of Bob Woodward's during the Watergate affair is memorialized in a Memorandum to the Record written by Martin J. Lukoskie, Bennett's CIA case-officer in 1972. According to Lukoskie, Bennett "established a 'backdoor entry' to the Edward Bennett Williams law firm which is representing the Democratic Party (and the Washington Post...)" Bennett's job was to "kill off any revelation" about the Mullen Company's relationship to the CIA. But he was also responsible for dissuading reporters from the Washington Post from pursuing a 'Seven Days in May' scenario" that would have implicated the CIA in a conspiracy to "take over the country."

Perhaps Bennett ought to have had a word with Donald Stewart, as well.

The relationship between Bennett and the Post was later clarified by Lukoskie's CIA boss, Eric Eisenstadt. In a memo to the Deputy Director of Plans, Eisenstadt wrote that Bennett "has been feeding stories to Bob Woodward of the Washington Post with the understanding that there be no attribution to Bennett. Woodward is suitably grateful for the fine stories and by-lines he gets and protects Bennett (and the Mullen Company)."

Hunh! It's enough to make you wonder, though not, apparently, enough to make the press wonder. But this is what the Deep Throat mystery is all about. It's not just a parlor game to canonize yet another celebrity. Rather, it's a question of deciding whether or not the Post's coverage was manipulated by a cabal of spooks who were working to destroy an unpopular president.

This is, of course, a conspiratorial point of view. Most of the press has embraced Mark Felt as the celebrity de jour and, toward that end, the only motive they impute to his behavior is a love of country. And that is what's likely to be taught in the schools.

More cynical observers, however, will point to the fact that FBI Director Hoover died a few weeks before the Watergate break-ins, and will suggest that his second-in-command, Mark Felt, went after the Nixon Administration because he was disappointed at not being named to take Hoover's place.

That's possible, of course, but even if Felt didn't get to be Director, he got the next best thing. That is, he got the files. Within hours of Hoover's death, Felt took charge of the Hoover's Official and Confidential files---including one that was headed "Black-Bag Jobs." The fate of other files in Hoover's executive suite, including the Director's Personal and Confidential files and the so-called "Do Not File" files, remains a mystery.

Now that we know that Mark Felt is Deep Throat, it would be grand to ask him about the Director's missing files, his view of Yeoman Radford's spying, and his reasons for going to the press, rather than to the Justice Department, with his concerns about Watergate. It's clear, however, that his family has no intention of making the old man available. He is, after all, 91-years-old and not entirely well.

(27) Jim Hougan, Deep Throat: The Candidates (1982)

John Simkin's analysis is as good as any I've seen. The problem, however, isn't so much a question of ascertaining the identity of "Deep Throat," as it is of identifying Woodward's most important source. That Deep Throat was a composite and, as Adrian Havill has suggested, a "literary device," we may take for granted. (As I recall, Throat figured only incidentally in the first draft of All the President's Men. This changed when Woodward's editor, Alice Mayhew, realized the book needed a bit more excitement, and so urged Woodward to play up the role of man he met in the garage, the one with the sexy name. And so he did.

In the end, however, "Deep Throat" is whoever Woodward says he is, so long as it's someone with whom Woodward actually spoke. And if Woodward says Felt is Throat, then I guess Felt will have to carry that tag into the grave. But the really important questions - who was Woodward's most important source and why has he kept that person's identity secret for so long - are swept under the rug by Woodward's designation of Felt as Throat. Indeed, I think it's fair to say that Woodward is using Mark Felt ( the Deep Throat persona) in the same way that a magician uses misdirection to conceal what's actually going on.

The truth is, Woodward had many sources. Felt was one. Bobby Inman was another. And so on and on. His most important source, however, was undoubtedly the man identified in a CIA document entitled "Memorandum for the Record by Martin Lukoskie." At the time it was written, Mr. Lukoskie was an employee of the CIA's Central Cover Staff. The subject-line of his memo reads: "Meeting with Robert Foster Bennett and his Comments Concerning E. Howard Hunt, Douglas Caddy and the Watergate Five Incident." Lukoskie notes that the meeting with Bennett took place on July 10, 1972 in the Hot Shop (sic) Cafeteria in Washington.

Lukoskie was the CIA's liaison to the Robert R. Mullen Company, which had for years provided commercial cover for CIA officers around the world. (The firm's most important client was the Howard Hughes organization - which DNC Chairman Larry O'Brien had represented prior to Robert Maheu's ouster.)

Bennett was the Mullen Company's president, and Howard Hunt was one of its key employees. Lukoskie, then, was Bennett's case officer. And in his memo, the CIA officer reports Bennett's assertion that "when E. Howard Hunt was connected with the (Watergate) incident, reporters from the Washington Post and he (Bennett) thought the Washington Star tried to establish a "Seven Days in May" scenario with the Agency attempting to establish control over both the Republican and Democratic Parties so as to be able to take over the country. Mr. Bennett said he was able to convince them that course (sic) was nonsense." That the reporters were Woodward and Bernstein seems likely, since Lukoskie goes on to report that "Mr. Bennett...has now established a back door entry to the Edward Bennett Williams law firm which is representing the Democratic Party in its suit for damages resulting from the Watergate incident;. Mr. Bennett is prepared to go this route to kill off any revelation by Ed Williams of Agency association with the Mullen firm if such a development seems likely." (The Lukoskie memo is reprinted in the Appendix to Secret Agenda.)

Nine months after this memo was written, Lukoskie's boss at the CIA, Eric Eisenstadt, wrote a memo of his own. Entitled "Memorandum for the Deputy Director for Plans," the memo reported that "Bennett said...that he has been feeding stories to Bob Woodward of the Washington Post with the understanding that there be no attribution... Woodward is suitably grateful for the fine stories and by-lines which he gets and protects Bennett (and the Mullen Company)." In the same memo, Eisenstadt reports that Bennett spent hours persuading a Newsweek reporter that the Mullen Company "was not involved with the Watergate Affair." The memo goes on to report that Bennett helped to convince reporters for the Washington Star, the Washington Post and the Los Angeles Times that the CIA had not "instigated the Watergate affair." If I may quote myself and Secret Agenda: "As an example of Bennett's 'achievements,' Eisenstadt cited Bennett's inspiration of a Newsweek article entitled 'Whispers about Colson' and a Washington Post story about Hunt's investigation of Senator Edward Kennedy."

Clearly, Robert Bennett was a key source - and, quite possibly, Woodward's most important source. Whether he was Deep Throat or not is, in the end, for Woodward to say. But it seems to me that if Woodward's most important source was, in fact, shilling for the CIA - was, in fact, a CIA agent hell-bent on manipulating the Watergate story - then the Washington Post reporter had good reason to keep the identity of that source secret for as long as he could.. Because, of course, if this was indeed the case, then Woodward was less a hero of investigative journalism than a stooge for Langley. And if I am right about that, then pinning the Deep Throat label on the addled Mark Felt was no more than a cynical attempt to end the on-going speculation about Deep Throat's identity - which threatened to bring Woodward's reputation crashing down around him.