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Deep Throat Revealed

By Patrick Mondout

May 31, 2005
After more than 30 years of speculation, the identity of Deep Throat - the source Washington Post reporters Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein used to bring down a corrupt president - has finally been revealed. It is none other than W. Mark Felt of Santa Rosa, California. Felt was second in command at the FBI and had long been suspected as Deep Throat though by no means was he the prime suspect.

The 91 year old Felt was finally convinced by his children to come forward after they learned his secret by accident. An article in today's Vanity Fair outlines the story and I would encourage all who have followed the story to read it here.

A number of suspected "deep throats" were revealed by journalists, historians, and even Watergate insiders. Of those, W. Mark Felt was a fairly obscure choice and few really believed it. Leonard Garment's 2000 book suggested it was Republican strategist John Sears. He went ballistic when Woodward and Bernstein denied it, thereby hurting sales of his book. John Dean's more recent book promised to reveal the name but only suggested one of five candidates (Nixon speech writer Pat Buchanan; a special assistant to Nixon named Raymond Price; Steven Bull, who was an assistant to Nixon's appointment secretary Dwight Chapin; Nixon's press secretary Ron Ziegler; and Ziegler's assistant, Jerry Warren.) You can read more about such speculation on our Deep Throat page.

One person who did believe that it was Felt - at least initially - was Richard Nixon himself. In the Watergate tapes, he is told by H.R. Haldeman that it was Felt who was doing the leaking. Nixon exclaims, "I'll fire the whole Goddamn Bureau!" Nixon, who also believed their was a Jewish conspiracy against him, then asked Haldeman, "Is he a Catholic?" Haldeman erroneously reported that Felt was a Jew. Nixon asked incredulously, "Christ, put a Jew in there?" Feeding on Nixon's anti-Semitic views, Haldeman responds, "Well, that could explain it, too."1

Nixon aide and apologist Monica Crowley, wrote today that "...Mark Felt’s name did come up repeatedly while we were talking, but never in a serious context in terms of Felt being “The Source.”" She went on to write "Nixon always had a hard time understanding “The Source’s” motivation - why someone would be this disloyal to the president and leak the story to the Washington Post reporters." Actually, it was not hard to understand Felt's loyalty to his country nor Nixon's loyalty to himself nor Crowley's loyalty to her former boss and friend. Crowley has written two books composed of quotes from her friend and mentor on a wide range of topics. She says she wrote them down in secret and that Nixon wasn't her co-conspirator.

Ronald Kessler - another former Washington Post reporter - revealed in his 2002 book The Bureau: The Secret History of the FBI: "Other (FBI) agents were convinced that Mark Felt was Deep Throat." Kessler is best known today for his attempts to rehabilitate George Bush Jr.'s image through his writings.

Felt himself said in his 1979 book The FBI Pyramid from the Inside, "I never leaked information to Woodward and Bernstein or to anyone else!" Woodward and Bernstein have said all along that they would not reveal the information until their source had died. According to the Vanity Fair article by John D. O'Connor, Felt was concerned about what other would think of his leaking information to the press and was even concerned about prosecution!2

Felt had been passed over as director of the FBI by Nixon when the notorious J. Edgar Hoover died and this may well have been his motivation - at least initially. But in an era with so few genuine heroes, he will no doubt be called an American hero for his courageous actions in the mid-Super70s.

Who Got It Right?

Of all the books to name a Deep Throat, none actually said that Mr. Feld was indeed that individual. However, Hartford Courant reporter David Daley posted a story on July 28, 1999 reporting that Chase Culeman-Beckman, a childhood acquaintance of Carl Berstein's son, Jacob, revealed that the younger Bernstein told him back in 1988 - when they were pre-teens - that Deep Throat was Felt: "I'm 100 percent sure that Deep Throat was Mark Felt."

The usual denials were issued with Carl Bernstein stating, "Bob and I have been wise enough never to tell our wives, and we've certainly never told our children." He further speculated that Nora Ephron, his ex-wife, must have speculated that it was Felt and that his son must have heard this. Jacob told the New York Post in its July 29, 1999 edition, "At no point did my father Carl Bernstein or Bob Woodward reveal the identity of Deep Throat." It is possible he was telling the truth; he might well have read one of his father's private writings, but it is fairly obvious that his son knew.

That Woodward visited Felt only weeks later led others to believe there must be something to the story.

1 Haldeman himself later wrote that he believe Fred Fielding, the then-Deputy White House Consul to John Dean, was Deep Throat.
2 Don't be shocked of Trent Lott calls for such action. He was one of the few congressmen against impeachment in 1974.

 

 

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DEEP THROAT

W. Mark Felt book was published in 1979.

Image courtesy of St. Martin's


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