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Who Was Deep Throat?

Identity of Woodward's super-source still a secret

WASHINGTON (AllPolitics, June 17) -- There never has been a shortage of guesses about the identity of "Deep Throat," Washington Post reporter Bob Woodward's celebrated source during the newspaper's Watergate coverage.

But everyone who has been fingered -- from presidential aide Al Haig to press assistant Diane Sawyer to presidential lawyer Leonard Garment -- has denied it, and it remains a mystery to this day.

Woodward has said he will not identify the source as long as the person is alive, or until he releases him "from our agreement of confidentiality." But he did indicate, during an appearance today on NBC's "Today Show," that he remains in touch with him.

Woodward also said that Deep Throat deceived his colleagues in denying he was the source.

"Twenty-five years ago he was risking a great deal personally and professionally," Woodward said. "You may assume that in the course of this he was not truthful with colleagues and family members and he denied that he had provided information."

Some Watergate buffs and former Nixon Administration officials have suggested Deep Throat was a composite, a literary device to add some cloak-and-dagger drama to Woodward and Carl Bernstein's 1974 book, "All The President's Men."

After all, some of the best scenes in the book involve clandestine, middle-of-the-night meetings in parking garages between Woodward and the source, arranged with a flower-pot-on-the-balcony signal.

But Woodward has said Deep Throat was a person, not a melange of informants. "It would be absurd for it to be a composite," he told The Associated Press.

In their book, the reporters said Woodward's source was "in the Executive Branch" and "had access to information at CRP [Committee for the Re-election of the President] as well as at the White House."

Woodward had taken to calling him "my friend." But because the source insisted on talking on deep background -- no quotations, even anonymously -- then-Post Managing Editor Howard Simons coined the nickname, "Deep Throat," after the title of a famous pornographic movie of the era.

Some of the other suggested candidates over the years have included William Casey, who served the administration in several capacities and later headed the CIA; then-Assistant Attorney General Henry Petersen; and John Dean's deputy, Fred Fielding.

After Richard Nixon resigned, Ben Bradlee, then the Post's executive editor, said he asked Woodward to tell him Deep Throat's identity and Woodward did. Bradlee told the AP, "I have never told a soul."





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