Jump to content
The Education Forum
Sign in to follow this  
John Simkin

Deep Throat: The Candidates

Recommended Posts

Adrian Havill investigated the existence of Deep Throat in his book, Deep Truth: The Lives of Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein (1993). I find this passage very convincing:

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.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

This last post feeds into one of the points I've been trying to make. I've read all of William Goldman's books on screenwriting and have seen him lecture two times. He is a disciple of the school of "simplify and accentuate and accuracy to the story and faithfulness to the original source be damned. Were making a movie here, not a damned documentary. Let someone make a documentary if they want to, but this is a MOVIE, and movies should be fun rides," a la his childhood fave, Gunga Din. (Quotes not exact, but that's how he talks.) While he's said that Woodward and Bernstein aren't liars; he's also said that Hal Holbrook was Deep Throat, which feeds into the theory that DT was primarily a literary device. I believe John's theory that DT was originally Felt but then become a catch-all phrase for Woodstein's top-secret sources is possible, but not inevitable. Felt had plenty of reason of his own to want Nixon out, and was probably conversant with a great many other men who had equal or better access to the unfolding events. I was a buyer in the buying office where I worked and yet I knew my boss' bank account numbers in Bermuda, for instance. I don't believe there was anything behind the activities of Felt and his friends, however, more than honest Americans conspiring to expose the truth and help remove a dangerous and mentally unbalanced man from his office, an office that unfortunately made him the most powerful man in the world.

Goldman also says that Bernstein and his then-girlfriend, Nora Ephron, tried to write their own screenplay and get Redford to make their movie instead. He's still angry that Redford even considered it. I wonder if this movie script isn't out there somewhere; it may very well have scenes and events regarding Deep throat which could help clarify the situation.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have argued that Deep Throat was not one man. However, what all the serious candidates for being Deep Throat had a close links with the CIA. This is except Mark Felt, who probably supplied the information that attempted to suggest that the CIA might have been involved in the break-in.

One of the main puzzles is why Deep Throat has not come forward to claim his reward for being the man who saved America from Richard Nixon’s corruption. Woodward has argued that the reason Deep Throat did not come forward is because “his post-Watergate public persona is so different from the persona of Deep Throat”. This of course does not apply to Mark Felt. It does however apply to Bennett. After all, he went on to become a Republican senator. I am not sure how popular he would be in the party if it emerged he was the one responsible for exposing Republican corruption.

Anyway, here are a few quotations you might find interesting.

(1) Robert F. Bennett, testimony before House of Representatives' Special Subcommittee on Intelligence (1974)

Hunt said: "They have nothing on me. I was nowhere near that place that night." He told me that the purpose of the (Watergate) team was to photograph documents. He said that this was not the first time they had been in the Democratic National Committee, that they-the ubiquitous term, and he never gave me names - but that they were so titillated by what the team had found the first time, they had sent them back for more.

(2) Robert F. Bennett, testimony before House of Representatives' Special Subcommittee on Intelligence (1974)

To impress the point upon him (the senior CIA official), I enumerated some of the more significant interviews to which I had been a part: "Bob Woodward of the Washington Post interviewed me at great length on... numerous occasions. I have told Woodward everything I know about the Watergate case, except the Mullen company's tie to the CIA. I never mentioned that to him. It has never appeared in any Washington Post story." I pointed this out to (the CIA official). I said, "As a result, I am a good friend of Woodward." I told him I considered mvself a friend of Woodward; that as a result of our conversations, Woodward had some stories.

(3) Jim Hougan, Secret Agenda (1984)

On July 10, less than a month after the Watergate arrests, Bennett met with his CIA case officer, Martin Lukoskie, in a downtown Washington cafeteria. At that meeting, memorialized by Lukoskie in a handwritten memorandum of such sensitivity that he hand-carried it to CIA Director Helms, Bennett bragged that he had dissuaded reporters from the Post and Star from pursuing a "Seven Days in May scenario" implicating the CIA in a Watergate conspiracy. Moreover, Lukoskie wrote, "Mr. Bennett related that he has now established a 'back door entry' to the Edward Bennett Williams law firm which is representing the Democratic Party... Mr. Bennett is prepared to go this route to kill off any revelation by Ed Williams of Agency association with the Mullen firm."'

Bennett, then, was attempting to manipulate the press. That he was successful in the attempt-at least so far as he and the CIA were concerned-is established in a second memorandum, this one written almost a year later by Lukoskie's boss, Eric Eisenstadt: "Mr. Bennett said... that he 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 which he gets and protects Bennett (and the Mullen Company)." Elsewhere in that same memo, Eisenstadt reports that Bennett spent hours persuading a Newsweek reporter that the Mullen Company "was not involved with the Watergate Affair."' In addition, the memo implies 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" as the reporters seemed to suspect. 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.'

We do not know what Eisenstadt meant when he wrote that Woodward was "suitably grateful" for Bennett's help, or what the CIA official had in mind when he indicated that the reporter was "protecting" Bennett and the Mullen Company. The implication of the memo is that Woodward agreed to ignore Watergate leads that tended to incriminate the CIA in return for information that Bennett, himself a CIA agent, spoon-fed him. But is that conclusion fair? After all, it is possible that Bennett, in conversation with his CIA case officer, may have exaggerated his influence with the newspaper so as to enhance his own stature in the agency's eyes. Perhaps Bennett took credit for elisions in the Post's reports with which he had little or nothing to do. Neither Woodward nor the Post, after all, required cajoling to pursue the theory that the Nixon White House was solely responsible for the Watergate break-in and every other dirty trick. Still, the newspaper's willingness to turn a blind eye toward the CIA's involvement is disturbing. Although leaks about the Mullen Company's relationship to the CIA had been published elsewhere in Washington only a few weeks after the Watergate arrests, nearly two years passed before the Post itself reported on the subject." By then, of course, the information could have little or no impact on the scandal: the President's resignation was only a month away. Ten years later, in 1984, I asked Bob Woodward if he had agreed with Bennett to suppress the Mullen Company's links to Langley. Woodward said that he had not. He added that, on the contrary, "I think we were about the first to report it." Told that he was incorrect, Woodward became stubborn. "Are you sure?" he asked. "Have you read every story? Every story?" In fact Woodward is mistaken...

The first Washington Post reporter to explicitly identify the Mullen Company as a CIA cover, however, was neither Woodward nor Bernstein but the late Laurence Stern. In a July 2, 1974, article about Senator Baker's dissent to the Ervin committee's Final Report, Stern acknowledged the Mullen Company's CIA involvement, and made reference to the memoranda written by the CIA's Martin Lukoskie and Eric Eisenstadt. Nowhere in Stern's brief article, however, is Woodward mentioned, and neither he nor the Post's executive editor, Benjamin Bradlee, was asked to comment about the CIA's suggestion that its agent had manipulated the Post's reportage and planted stories in the press. Obviously, the Post was frightened of the subject.

Even so, Bennett must have been a valuable source. Aside from his connections to the intelligence agency, he was the employer of both Howard Hunt and Spencer Oliver, Sr. He had lobbied the White House on behalf of Hunt's consultancy there, and working with Liddy, he had helped to establish a battery of dummy commitand Liddy in the wake of the Watergate arrests; as the Lukoskie memo makes clear, he continued to share confidences with Hunt and others who were privy to the operation's secret details (Bennett, for example, knew when others did not that the DNC had been broken into during May). All in all, Bennett's record is astonishing for someone who figures only peripherally in the Post's reports and the Senate's investigation.

Indeed, Bennett's credentials as a Watergate source were so profoundly relevant that many reporters still consider him to be a leading candidate for Woodward's most important source, "Deep Throat." In fact, however, Bennett cannot have been Throat. A strict Mormon, he neither smoked nor drank (as we are told Throat did), and he was not an employee of the executive branch (as Woodward says Throat was). Bennett's task, moreover, was to steer Woodward and the Post away from leads implicating the CIA in the scandal, whereas Deep Throat had no compunction about suggesting that the CIA was involved in the affair." Finally, and most unusually, we have Woodward's word that Bennett is not Deep Throat. While the reporter's usual practice is to avoid comment when others claim to have identified his supersource, Woodward feels different about Bennett. In my interview with him, Woodward issued a "preemptive denial" that Bennett and Throat were one obviously, the Post reporter is concerned that the public should not come to believe that his best and most secret source was a CIA agent.

(4) 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.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
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.

John,

Most interesting!! . Who wrote the article? Bennett has been my choice for DT for some time, or a composite. However more recently I have come to suspect .....well let's just say the name I suspect has already been posted here by somene else.

Is Sturgis still alive? I don't recal hearing he'd died, but it's hard to keep up with all of this, especailly when there is also so much purposful distraction to contend with. Reminds me of the word of the great Vince Salandria - who is still alive- "they will just wear you down". (paraphrase).

Dawn

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Is Sturgis still alive? I don't recal hearing he'd died, but it's hard to keep up with all of this, especailly when there is also so much purposful distraction to contend with. Reminds me of the word of the great Vince Salandria - who is still alive- "they will just wear you down". (paraphrase).

Frank Sturgis died on 4th December, 1993. Bernard L. Barker is still living in Miami where he looks after Virgilio Gonzalez and Eugenio Martinez.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have argued that Deep Throat was not one man. However, what all the serious candidates for being Deep Throat had a close links with the CIA. This is except Mark Felt, who probably supplied the information that attempted to suggest that the CIA might have been involved in the break-in.

One of the main puzzles is why Deep Throat has not come forward to claim his reward for being the man who saved America from Richard Nixon’s corruption. Woodward has argued that the reason Deep Throat did not come forward is because “his post-Watergate public persona is so different from the persona of Deep Throat”. This of course does not apply to Mark Felt. It does however apply to Bennett. After all, he went on to become a Republican senator. I am not sure how popular he would be in the party if it emerged he was the one responsible for exposing Republican corruption.

Another person I find very interesting is Alex Butterfield. For a long time he was a mystry to me.

BAG - (Before Ashton Gary)- that is. I'd believed that the murder of Dorothy Hunt, Michelle Clark and others on that 12/8/72 plane crash was done under orders by Nixon. (It seemed clear cut when three of Nixon's guys went directly into cover-up mode. To wit:

12/9/72 : Egil Krogh went fom the Wite House to Under Secty. of Dept of Transportation , to "investiagte" the crash.

12/19/72 Alex butterfield was appointed administrator of the Federal Aviation Administration.

In early Jan. 1973 Nixon's appointments secty. - Dwight Chapin went to United Airlines to a position of high authority and was present for every NTSB hearing into the ill fated crash of United flight 533.

So, it looked rather clear cut to me as these events were occurring. (The three appointments were in the mainstream press).

Then when Butterfield suddenly "gave up" Tricky Dick via the tapes, it got a bit confusing.

Just who was Butterfield? For whom did he work? This would remain a mystey for me until the arrival of Ashton Gray on this forum.

Now it's no longer an either/or. Butterfield was working for the people who killed Dorothy Hunt. The same people who set up Nixon at Watergate.

Why so few here on this forum at "getting all this" is a mystry to me.

To those who would suggest that Ashton is some "CIA disinformation agent "

I can only suggest they read his work with a more discerning eye.

It's not all that complicated folks.

Dawn

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
The day before Senate Watergate Committee minority counsel Fred Thompson made the inquiry that launched him into the national spotlight -- asking an aide to President Nixon whether there was a White House taping system -- he telephoned Nixon's lawyer.

Thompson tipped off the White House that the committee knew about the taping system and would be making the information public. In his all-but-forgotten Watergate memoir, "At That Point in Time," Thompson said he acted with "no authority" in divulging the committee's knowledge of the tapes, which provided the evidence that led to Nixon's resignation. It was one of many Thompson leaks to the Nixon team, according to a former investigator for Democrats on the committee, Scott Armstrong , who remains upset at Thompson's actions.

"Thompson was a mole for the White House," Armstrong said in an interview. "Fred was working hammer and tong to defeat the investigation of finding out what happened to authorize Watergate and find out what the role of the president was."

Interesting post. The taping system goes to the heart of identifying Deep Throat. According to Bob 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.

In Lost Honor John Dean concludes 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.

This is just one bit of evidence that shows that Mark Felt was not Deep Throat (although he was clearly one of many who was providing Woodward with information about Watergate). It was the taping system that brought about the downfall of Nixon. I suspect the route was Butterfield - Ober - Woodward - Armstrong.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
BAG - (Before Ashton Gary)- that is. I'd believed that the murder of Dorothy Hunt, Michelle Clark and others on that 12/8/72 plane crash was done under orders by Nixon. (It seemed clear cut when three of Nixon's guys went directly into cover-up mode. To wit:

12/9/72 : Egil Krogh went fom the Wite House to Under Secty. of Dept of Transportation , to "investiagte" the crash.

12/19/72 Alex butterfield was appointed administrator of the Federal Aviation Administration.

In early Jan. 1973 Nixon's appointments secty. - Dwight Chapin went to United Airlines to a position of high authority and was present for every NTSB hearing into the ill fated crash of United flight 533.

So, it looked rather clear cut to me as these events were occurring. (The three appointments were in the mainstream press).

This came up on another forum my reply below is adapted from my reply their, the quoted person is not a member of this forum but his claims were the same as Dawn's.

“White House aide Egil Krogh was appointed Undersecretary of Transportation, supervising the National Transportation Safety Board and the Federal Aviation Association - the two agencies charged with investigating the airline crash."

Why is that suspicious? I assume the position became vacant is there any evidence that Krogh's predecessor was pushed out? The crash happened on Dec. 12 '72 the NTSB's report was issued Aug. 29 '73[1] he only served from February – May 2,1973[2]. In other words the investigation started before and ended after his tenure. Citation for your claim that he went to the DoT “to "investiagte" the crash”.

I don't know if it is the same today as back in 1973 but currently the "Under Secretary" is the third ranking official in the department [3]. Provide evidence that supervision of the NTSB and FAA were part of his responsibilities during this brief period. Provide evidence he or those acting under his orders interfered in the investigation.

The NTSB was largely independent of the Dept. of Transportation "The NTSB opened its doors on April 1, 1967. Although independent, it relied on the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) for funding and administrative support." [4]. The FAA only would have had secondary status.

Krogh had been `removed' from the "Plumbers" in Dec. '71 for refusing to authorize a wiretap, I doubt they would have chosen him to lead the cover up of such sensitive "operation". [5] --

"A week later, Nixon's deputy assistant Alexander P. Butterfield was made the new head of the FAA…”

The FAA had very little to do with the investigation. The NTSB investigated the crash. Butterfield only became FAA Administrator March 14 '73 four months after the crash. [6] –

"…and five weeks later Dwight L. Chapin, the president's appointment secretary, become a top executive with United Airlines….”

-- Citation?

United didn't have much to do with the investigation either. Do you think they were in on it too? Any evidence for your claim that Chapin “was present for every NTSB hearing into the ill fated crash”

The plane crashed while on approach it was flying low and slow vastly increasing the chances that those aboard would survive. It the wanted to kill Hunt and Clarke and others why would the sabotage the plane at that moment and not when it was higher up?

[1] http://amelia.db.erau.edu/reports/ntsb/aar/AAR73-16.pdf

[2] http://calvert.wustl.edu/PolSci3103.fall02...te/chronlgy.htm , http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/local/139617_plumber15.html

[3] http://www.dot.gov/bios/index.htm

[4] http://ntsb.gov/Abt_NTSB/history.htm

[5] http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/local/139617_plumber15.html

[6] http://www.faa.gov/about/history/history_a...ex.cfm?print=go

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
So let's get this straight... After years of speculation about who ordered the break-in, Magruder says Mitchell talked to Nixon in his presence, and he heard Nixon tell Mitchell "You need to do that." Result: no one wants to believe him. Similarly, after years of speculation about the identity of Deep Throat, Bob Woodward says it was Mark Felt. Result: people who previously thought it was someone else convince themselves it was who they originally thought it was, and that Woodward is part of some conspiracy to hide the real identity of Deep Throat. Never mind that everyone else who'd been told Deep Throat's identity confirms that the name they'd been told back in the day was Felt. Never mind that Nixon himself knew Felt was leaking. Never mind that of all the "suspects" of being Deep Throat, Felt is actually the suspect one would least have wanted to make a "patsy", as he was pretty much running the FBI, and engaging in illegal wire-tapping and break-ins with no-one's approval but his own.

While Nixon and Mitchell's simply being corrupt may not seem sexy or interesting to some hoping for something a little spicier, it is actually the worst scenario one can reasonably imagine. CIA chiefs can be fired, and the CIA can be re-organized. The Office of the President has only gained in power since Watergate. The Attorney General is STILL more likely to be a political hatchet-man than a conscientious protector of the American people even against its President. The challenge to the American people, then as now, is to find a way to keep Presidential corruption in check by assuring that the Justice Department is not twisted to the President's political advantage. Perhaps the long-overdue investigation of Gonzales' activities will shine some light on this problem, and lead to some sort of compromise whereby a special office of the congress keeps a constant eye on the Justice Department. But I wouldn't bet on it.

The President has too much power, and the weakness of his character is amplified by this power. We've seen this with Nixon, who was totally unqualified--personality-wise--to be President. And we've seen this with the current President. And we'll see it again.

I wrote this when Mark Felt was originally exposed as Deep Throat:

On 19th June, Bob 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. Woodward had also 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, 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, Laurence 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, 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.

The authors of Silent Coup: The Removal of a President, 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 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."

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, 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. Davis later told me that her source was a senior figure at the CIA (I had suggested to her that the source might have been Carl Bernstein).

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.

In Lost Honor John Dean concludes that it was Deep Throat 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 there 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 "conservation 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 gaps at this time. According to Fred Emery (Watergate: The Corruption and Fall of Richard Nixon), the 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. 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 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 there 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.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
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. Woodward had also 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, 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, Laurence 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, 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.

The authors of Silent Coup: The Removal of a President, 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 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."

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, 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. Davis later told me that her source was a senior figure at the CIA (I had suggested to her that the source might have been Carl Bernstein).

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.

In Lost Honor John Dean concludes that it was Deep Throat 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 there 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 "conservation 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 gaps at this time. According to Fred Emery (Watergate: The Corruption and Fall of Richard Nixon), the 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. 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 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 there 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.

John'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* tht 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 entitle '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.

Postscript: After Watergate, Robert Bennett left the Mullen Company to become one of the wealthiest men in the United States Senate. A Mormon elder, he represents Utah.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Please sign in to comment

You will be able to leave a comment after signing in



Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  

×
×
  • Create New...