Bob Woodward was born in Geneva, Illinois, in 1943. After graduating from Yale University in 1965 Woodward joined the U.S. Navy where he served as a communications officer for naval intelligence. Later, Woodward was assigned to Admiral Thomas Moorer, chief of naval operations.
On 17th June, 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.
The phone number of E.Howard Hunt was found in address books of the burglars. Reporters were now able to link the break-in to the White House. Woodward and fellow journalist, Carl Bernstein, began working on the case. Woodward had a government source who was given the name "Deep Throat". He informed Woodward that senior aides of President Richard Nixon, had paid the burglars to obtain information about its political opponents.
Bernstein and Woodward discovered that in 1972 Frederick LaRue worked with John Mitchell on Nixon's re-election committee. On 20th March, LaRue attended a meeting of the committee where it was agreed to spend $250,000 "intelligence gathering" operation against the Democratic Party. This included the decision to plant electronic devices from the Democratic campaign offices in Watergate.
Frederick LaRue now decided that it would be necessary to pay the large sums of money to secure the the silence of the burglars. LaRue raised $300,000 in hush money. Tony Ulasewicz, a former New York policeman, was given the task of arranging the payments.
Nixon continued to insist that he knew nothing about the case or the payment of "hush-money" to the burglars. However, in April 1973, Nixon forced two of his principal advisers H. R. Haldeman and John Ehrlichman, to resign. A third adviser, John Dean, refused to go and was sacked.
On 20th April, Dean issued a statement making it clear that he was unwilling to be a "scapegoat in the Watergate case". When Dean testified on 25th June, 1973 before the Senate Committee investigating Watergate, he claimed that Richard Nixon participated in the cover-up. He also confirmed that Nixon had tape-recordings of meetings where these issues were discussed.
The Special Prosecutor now demanded access to these tape-recordings. At first Nixon refused but when the Supreme Court ruled against him and members of the Senate began calling for him to be impeached, he changed his mind. However, some tapes were missing while others contained important gaps.
Under extreme pressure, Nixon supplied tapescripts of the missing tapes. It was now clear that Nixon had been involved in the cover-up and members of the Senate began to call for his impeachment. On 9th August, 1974, Richard Nixon became the first President of the United States to resign from office. Nixon was granted a pardon but other members of his staff involved in helping in his deception were imprisoned.
Woodward, Carl Bernstein, Ben Bradlee and the Washington Post received a great deal of credit for exposing the Watergate Scandal and in 1973 the newspaper was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for journalism. Bernstein and Woodward also wrote two books about Watergate: All the President's Men (1975) and The Final Days (1976).
In 1981 Woodward was promoted to assistant managing editor of the Washington Post. He continued to write books and titles included Wired: The Short Life and Fast Times of John Belushi (1984), Veil: The Secret Wars of the CIA (1987), The Commanders (1991), The Agenda: Inside The Clinton White House (1994), The Choice (1996), The Brethren: Inside the Supreme Court (1996), Shadow: Five Presidents and the Legacy of Watergate (2000), Bush at War (2002), Plan of Attack: The Road to War (2004), The Secret Man: The Story of Watergate's Deep Throat (2006), State of Denial (2007), The War Within (2009), Obama's Wars (2010).
In August 1970, I was formally discharged from the navy. I had subscribed to the Washington Post, which I knew was led by a colourful, hard-charging editor named Ben Bradlee. There was a toughness and edge to the news coverage that I liked; it seemed to fit the times, to fit with a general sense of where the world was much more than law school did. Maybe reporting was something I could do.
During my scramble and search for a future, I had sent a letter to the Post asking for a job. Somehow, Harry Rosenfeld, the metropolitan editor, agreed to see me. He stared at me through his glasses in some bewilderment. Why, he wondered, would I want to be a reporter? I had zero - zero! - experience. Why, he said, would the Washington Post want to hire someone with no experience? But this is just crazy enough, Rosenfeld finally said, that we ought to try it. We'll give you a two-week tryout.
After two weeks, I had written perhaps a dozen stories or fragments of stories. None had been published or come close to being published. None had even been edited. See, you don't know how to do this, Rosenfeld said, bringing my tryout to a merciful close. But I left the newsroom more enthralled than ever - I realised I had found something that I loved. I took a job at the Montgomery Sentinel, where Rosenfeld said I could learn how to be a reporter. I told my father that law school was off and that I was taking a job, at about $115 a week, as a reporter at a weekly newspaper in Maryland.
One of the five men arrested early Saturday in the attempt to bug the Democratic National Committee headquarters is the salaried security coordinator for President Nixon's reelection committee.
The suspect, former CIA employee James W. McCord Jr., 53, also holds a separate contract to provide security services to the Republican National Committee, GOP national chairman Bob Dole said yesterday.
Former Attorney General John N. Mitchell, head of the Committee for the Re-Election of the President, said yesterday McCord was employed to help install that committee's own security system.
In a statement issued in Los Angeles, Mitchell said McCord and the other four men arrested at Democratic headquarters Saturday "were not operating either in our behalf or with our consent" in the alleged bugging attempt.
Dole issued a similar statement, adding that "we deplore action of this kind in or out of politics." An aide to Dole said he was unsure at this time exactly what security services McCord was hired to perform by the National Committee.
Police sources said last night that they were seeking a sixth man in connection with the attempted bugging. The sources would give no other details.
Other sources close to the investigation said yesterday that there still was no explanation as to why the five suspects might have attempted to bug Democratic headquarters in the Watergate at 2600 Virginia Ave., NW, or if they were working for other individuals or organizations..
"We're baffled at this point.... the mystery deepens," a high Democratic party source said.
Democratic National Committee Chairman Lawrence F. O'Brien said the "bugging incident... raised the ugliest questions about the integrity of the political process that I have encountered in a quarter century.
"No mere statement of innocence by Mr. Nixon's campaign manager will dispel these questions."
The Democratic presidential candidates were not available for comment yesterday.
O'Brien, in his statement, called on Attorney General Richard G. Kleindienst to order an immediate, "searching professional investigation" of the entire matter by the FBI.
A spokesman for Kleindienst said yesterday. "The FBI is already investigating. . . . Their investigative report will be turned over to the criminal division for appropriate action."
The White House did not comment.
McCord, 53, retired from the Central Intelligence Agency in 1970 after 19 years of service and established his own "security consulting firm," McCord Associates, at 414 Hungerford Drive, Rockville. He lives at 7 Winder Ct., Rockville.
McCord is an active Baptist and colonel in the Air Force Reserve, according to neighbors and friends.
In addition to McCord, the other four suspects, all Miami residents, have been identified as: Frank Sturgis (also known as Frank Florini), an American who served in Fidel Castro's revolutionary army and later trained a guerrilla force of anti-Castro exiles; Eugenio R. Martinez, a real estate agent and notary public who is active in anti-Castro activities in Miami; Virgilio R. Gonzales, a locksmith; and Bernard L. Barker, a native of Havana said by exiles to have worked on and off for the CIA since the Bay of Pigs invasion in 1961.
All five suspects gave the police false names after being arrested Saturday. McCord also told his attorney that his name is Edward Martin, the attorney said.
Sources in Miami said yesterday that at least one of the suspects - Sturgis - was attempting to organize Cubans in Miami to demonstrate at the Democratic National Convention there next month.
The five suspects, well-dressed, wearing rubber surgical gloves and unarmed, were arrested about 2:30 a.m. Saturday when they were surprised by Metropolitan police inside the 29-office suite of the Democratic headquarters on the sixth floor of the Watergate.
The suspects had extensive photographic equipment and some electronic surveillance instruments capable of intercepting both regular conversation and telephone communication.
Police also said that two ceiling panels near party chairman O'Brien's office had been removed in such a way as to make it possible to slip in a bugging device.
McCord was being held in D.C. jail on $30,000 bond yesterday. The other four were being held there on $50,000 bond. All are charged with attempted burglary and attempted interception of telephone and other conversations.
McCord was hired as "security coordinator" of the Committee for the Re-election of the President on Jan. 1, according to Powell Moore, the Nixon committee's director of press and information.
Moore said McCord's contract called for a "take-home salary of $1,200 per month and that the ex-CIA employee was assigned an office in the committee's headquarters at 1701 Pennsylvania Ave., N.W.
Within the last one or two weeks, Moore said, McCord made a trip to Miami beach -- where both the Republican and Democratic National Conventions will be held. The purpose of the trip, Moore said, was "to establish security at the hotel where the Nixon Committee will be staying."
In addition to McCord's monthly salary, he and his firm were paid a total of $2,836 by the Nixon Committee for the purchase and rental of television and other security equipment, according to Moore.
Moore said that he did not know exactly who on the committee staff hired McCord, adding that it "definitely wasn't John Mitchell." According to Moore, McCord has never worked in any previous Nixon election campaigns "because he didn't leave the CIA until two years ago, so it would have been impossible." As of late yesterday, Moore said. McCord was still on the Reelection Committee payroll.
In his statement from Los Angeles, former Attorney General Mitchell said he was "surprised and dismayed" at reports of McCord's arrest.
"The person involved is the proprietor of a private security agency who was employed by our committee months ago to assist with the installation of our security system," said Mitchell. "He has, as we understand it, a number of business clients and interests and we have no knowledge of these relationships."
Referring to the alleged attempt to bug the opposition's headquarters, Mitchell said: "There is no place in our campaign, or in the electoral process, for this type of activity and we will not permit it nor condone it."
About two hours after Mitchell issued his statement, GOP National Chairman Dole said, "I understand that Jim McCord... is the owner of the firm with which the Republican National Committee contracts for security services . . . if our understanding of the facts is accurate, added Dole, "we will of course discontinue our relationship with the firm."
Tom Wilck, deputy chairman of communications for the GOP National Committee, said late yesterday that Republican officials still were checking to find out when McCord was hired, how much he was paid and exactly what his responsibilities were.
McCord lives with his wife in a two-story $45,000 house in Rockville.
After being contacted by The Washington Post yesterday, Harlan A. Westrell, who said he was a friend of McCord's, gave the following background on McCord:
He is from Texas, where he and his wife graduated from Baylor University. They have three children, a son who is in his third year at the Air Force Academy, and two daughters.
The McCords have been active in the First Baptist Church of Washington.
Other neighbors said that McCord is a colonel in the Air Force Reserve, and also has taught courses in security at Montgomery Community College. This could not be confirmed yesterday.
McCord's previous employment by the CIA was confirmed by the intelligence agency, but a spokesman there said further data about McCord was not available yesterday.
In Miami, Washington Post Staff Writer Kirk Schartenberg reported that two of the other suspects - Sturgis and Barker - are well known among Cuban exiles there. Both are known to have had extensive contracts with the Central Intelligence Agency, exile sources reported, and Barker was closely associated with Frank Bender, the CIA operative who recruited many members of Brigade 2506, the Bay of Pigs invasion force.
Barker, 55, and Sturgis, 37, reportedly showed up uninvited at a Cuban exile meeting in May and claimed to represent an anticommunist organization of refugees from "captive nations." The purpose of the meeting, at which both men reportedly spoke, was to plan a Miami demonstration in support of President Nixon's decision to mine the harbor of Haiphong.
Barker, a native of Havana who lived both in the U.S. and Cuba during his youth, is a US Army veteran who was imprisoned in a German POW camp during the World War II. He later served in the Cuban Buro de Investigationes - secret police - under Fidel Castro and fled to Miami in 1959. He reportedly was one of the principal leaders of the Cuban Revolutionary Council, the exile organization established with CIA help to organize the Bay of Pigs Invasion.
Sturgis, an American soldier of fortune who joined Castro in the hills of Oriente Province in 1958, left Cuba in 1959 with his close friend, Pedro Diaz Lanz, then chief of the Cuban air force. Diaz Lanz, once active in Cuban exile activities in Miami, more recently has been reported involved in such right-wing movements as the John Birch Society and the Rev. Billy James Hargis' Christian Crusade.
Sturgis, more commonly known as Frank Florini, lost his American citizenship in 1960 for serving in a foreign military force - Castro's army - but, with the aid of then-Florida Sen. George Smathers, regained it.
My reaction to the Watergate break-in was completely pragmatic. If it was also cynical, it was a cynicism born of experience. I had been in politics too long, and seen everything from dirty tricks to vote fraud. I could not muster much moral outrage over a political bugging.
Larry O'Brien might affect astonishment and horror, but he knew as well as I did that political bugging had been around nearly since the invention of the wiretap. As recently as 1970 a former member of Adlai Stevenson's campaign staff had publicly stated that he had tapped the Kennedy organization's phone lines at the 1960 Democratic convention Lyndon Johnson felt that the Kennedys had had him tapped - Barry Goldwater said that his 1964 campaign had been bugged; and Edgar Hoover told me that in 1968 Johnson had ordered my campaign plane bugged. Nor was the practice confined to politicians. In 1969 an NBC producer was fined and given a suspended sentence for planting a concealed microphone at a closed meeting of the 1968 Democratic platform committee. Bugging experts told the Washington Post right after the Watergate break-in that the practice "has not been uncommon in elections past... it is particularly common for candidates of the same party to bug one another."
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.
When I asked for details about Deep Throat's feeling that our lives were in danger, Woodward and Bernstein insisted that we move outdoors. Fear began to seep in as we talked more on my lawn. I thought I knew all about hardball, but I had never yet felt that we were dealing with hitmen. I suspected our telephones were probably being tapped, that our taxes were surely getting a worldclass audit, but I had never felt physically threatened. Now they were saying that our lives were in fact in danger.
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.
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.
Yet, despite the care I knew everyone was taking, I was still worried. No matter how careful we were, there was always the nagging possibility that we were wrong, being set up, being misled. Ben would repeatedly reassure me possibly to a greater extent than he may have actually felt by saying that some of our sources were Republicans, Sloan especially, and that having the story almost exclusively gave us the luxury of not having to rush into print, so that we could be obsessive about checking everything. There were many times when we delayed publishing something until the "tests" had been met. There were times when something just didn't seem to hold up and, accordingly, was not published, and there were a number of instances where we withheld something not sufficiently confirmable that turned out later to be true.
At the time, I took comfort in our "two-sources" policy. Ben further assured me that Woodward had a secret source he would go to when he wasn't sure about something a source that had never misled us. That was the first I heard of Deep Throat, even before he was so named by Howard Simons, after the pornographic movie that was popular in certain circles at the time. It's why I remain convinced that there was such a person and that he and it had to be a he was neither made up nor an amalgam or a composite of a number of people, as has often been hypothesized. The identity of Deep Throat is the only secret I'm aware of that Ben has kept, and, of course, Bob and Carl have, too. I never asked to be let in on the secret, except once, facetiously, and I still don't know who he is.
The boys (Bob Woodward and Carl Beinstein) had one unbeatable asset: they worked spectacularly hard. They would ask fifty people the same question, or they would ask one person the same question fifty times, if they had reason to believe some information was being withheld. Especially after they got us in trouble by misinterpreting Sloan's answer about whether Haldeman controlled a White House slush fund.
And, of course, Woodward had "Deep Throat," whose identity has been hands-down the best-kept secret in the history of Washington journalism.
Throughout the years, some of the city's smartest journalists and politicians have put their minds to identifying Deep Throat, without success. General Al Haig was a popular choice for a long time, and especially when he was running for president in the 1988 race, he would beg me to state publicly that he was not Deep Throat. He would steam and sputter when I told him that would be hard for me to do for him, and not for anyone else. Woodward finally said publicly that Haig was not Deep Throat.
Some otherwise smart people decided Deep Throat was a composite, if he (or she) existed at all. I have always thought it should be possible to identify Deep Throat simply by entering all the information about him in All the President's Men into a computer, and then entering as much as possible about all the various suspects. For instance, who was not in Washington on the days that Woodward reported putting the red-flagged flower pot on his window sill, signaling Deep Throat for a meeting.
The quality of Deep Throat's information was such that I had accepted Woodward's desire to identify him to me only by job, experience, access, and expertise. That amazes me now, given the high stakes. I don't see how I settled for that, and I would not settle for that now. But the information and the guidance he was giving Woodward were never wrong, never. And it was only after Nixon's resignation, and after Woodward and Bernstein's second book, The Final Days, that I felt the need for Deep Throat's name. I got it one spring day during lunch break on a bench in MacPherson Square. I have never told a soul, not even Katharine Graham, or Don Graham, who succeeded his mother as publisher in 1979. They have never asked me. I have never commented, in any way, on any name suggested to me. The fact that his identity has remained secret all these years is mystifying, and truly extraordinary. Some Doubting Thomases have pointed out that I only knew who Woodward told me Deep Throat was. To be sure. But that was good enough for me then. And now.
Bob Woodward has consistently lied about his background ever since the first time anybody started asking who this person is. He came from Wheaton, Illinois. His father was a judge. He joined the Navy and became a communications officer, which is not Naval Intelligence per se. Naval intelligence is a separate organization. Communications officers are at the very highest level of receiving coded and top secret information from around the world and they get it before anybody else does. It's up to them to relay this information to the people in power.
In Woodward's case, first he was in the Navy serving somewhere in California for four years. At the end of his term he was in California, before that he was on a ship I believe. He's never said what he was doing in California. He just won't talk about it. But you remember that this was the time of the height of the anti-war movement and there was a domestic counter-intelligence operation going on called Operation Chaos, which was coordinating Army, Navy and FBI and CIA intelligence on the anti-war movement, spying on leaders and so on, trying to find foreign influence. And I believe that this is what Woodward was involved in at that time.
So after his four years were up he was eligible to leave the Navy, having completed his service. Instead he re-enlisted for another year and he came to Washington and he started working in a top secret Naval unit inside the Pentagon. Actually, they went between the Pentagon and the White House. This was during the first years of Nixon's presidency. And I believe that at this time he started working directly with Richard Ober, who was the deputy chief of counter-intelligence under James Angleton. He was the one who was running Operation Chaos and I believe that he was the one who was Deep Throat. I disagree with those people in Silent Coup, although it hardly matters who exactly it was because I know Woodward had many sources.
But the point is that at this time he was getting top secret information. He was briefing the Joint Chiefs of Staff, he was briefing the National Security Council and he was briefing Alexander Haig, who was Nixon's chief of staff. He was right in the very, very center of the Nixon White House in terms of the information that was being conveyed and the people he knew. After that, he decided for some mysterious reason that he wanted to be a reporter and he went to the Post and the Post has thousands of applications a year of experienced reporters, most of whom never get in. But instead they took this guy who couldn't write, who had never been a reporter in his life and they said, "You have to learn how to write better so go work on the suburban paper for a year and then we'll hire you." Now I don't know how they decided that he was somebody they wanted to cultivate or whether somebody had the word on him ahead of time or what. But after a year he came to the Post and right away Ben Bradlee, the executive editor, started giving him the choice assignments. They felt a common bond between each other because Bradlee had a very similar back ground in the Navy himself.
Carl Bernstein was coming from a whole different place. He was a very messed up person, you know, had a lot of trouble keeping his job at the Post. He would always fall asleep on the job, stay up all night and miss deadlines and he was just a mess. If it weren't for the newspaper guild rules about not firing reporters, he would have been fired a long time ago. But he had a sense about politics. He still does. He had a very good sense about politics and he hated Nixon because during the McCarthy era, when Nixon was a congressman, his family, his father and mother, who were very left-wing, had experienced a lot of persecution during the McCarthy era. So he associated Nixon with this. And he had his won reasons for wanting to do a story that he thought might lead to exposing Nixon and bringing down Nixon.
It's a very strange friendship. There was a lot of tension between Woodward and Bernstein and there's a very strong bond between them because each of them owes the other one the fact that they are now millionaires and can get book contracts for any amount of money they want.
On May 15, less than two weeks after Hoover's death, a lone gunman shot Alabama Governor George C Wallace, then campaigning for president, at a shopping centre. The wounds were serious, but Wallace survived. Wallace had a strong following in the deep South, an increasing source of Nixon's support. Wallace's spoiler candidacy four years earlier in 1968 could have cost Nixon the election that year, and Nixon monitored Wallace's every move closely as the 1972 presidential contest continued.
That evening, Nixon called Felt - not Gray, who was out of town - at home for an update. It was the first time Felt had spoken directly with Nixon. Felt reported that Arthur H Bremer, the would-be assassin, was in custody but in the hospital because he had been roughed up and given a few bruises by those who subdued and captured him after he shot Wallace.
"Well, it's too bad they didn't really rough up the son of a bitch!" Nixon told Felt.
Felt was offended that the president would make such a remark. Nixon was so agitated, attaching such urgency to the shooting, that he said he wanted full updates every 30 minutes from Felt on any new information that was being discovered in the investigation of Bremer.
In the following days I called Felt several times and he very carefully gave me leads as we tried to find out more about Bremer. It turned out that he had stalked some of the other candidates, and I went to New York to pick up the trail. This led to several front-page stories about Bremer's travels, completing a portrait of a madman not singling out Wallace but rather looking for any presidential candidate to shoot. On May 18, I did a page-one article that said, "High federal officials who have reviewed investigative reports on the Wallace shooting said yesterday that there is no evidence whatsoever to indicate that Bremer was a hired killer."
It was rather brazen of me. Though I was technically protecting my source and talked to others besides Felt, I did not do a good job of concealing where the information was coming from. Felt chastised me mildly. But the story that Bremer acted alone was a story that both the White House and the FBI wanted out.
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...
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.
Did I have back stairs to my apartment house?
Use them when you are heading for a meeting. Do they open into an alley?
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.
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.
In the beginning, seasoned political reporters at the Washington Post disdained the Watergate story as insignificant, implausible and unserious. But two young journalists doggedly pursued every lead, helping bring about Richard Nixon's resignation. Three decades later, Bob Woodward had come to embody the ultimate Washington insider. Over the past month, however, he has personified the stonewalling and covering up he once shattered to launch his brilliant career. His unravelling is as surprising and symptomatic a story of Bush's Washington as his making was of Nixon's.
On October 27, the night before Vice-President Cheney's chief of staff, Lewis "Scooter" Libby, was indicted on five counts of perjury and obstruction of justice, Woodward appeared on CNN. Asked about the case, he said: "I'm quite confident we're going to find out that it started as a kind of gossip ... There's a lot of innocent actions in all of this ... I don't know how this is about the build-up to the war." He expressed his sympathy for those who might be indicted: " ... what distresses me is, you know, so and so might be indicted and so and so is facing ... And it is not yet proven." He concluded with invective against Patrick Fitzgerald, "a junkyard dog prosecutor".
On November 16 Woodward admitted he had been called to testify on November 3 before the prosecutor, having been given up by a source after Libby's indictment. Woodward, it turned out, was the first journalist to learn Plame's identity. "I hunkered down," he told his own newspaper. "I'm in the habit of keeping secrets. I didn't want anything out there that was going to get me subpoenaed." Woodward claimed he heard about Plame in an interview he conducted in June 2003 for his book Plan of Attack, which failed to contain this startling information. While two Post reporters testified before the prosecutor, Woodward hid his role as material witness. With the disclosure, the storyteller lost the plot.
Woodward advocates no ideas and is indifferent to the fate of government. His fabled access has been in the service of his technique of accumulating mountains of facts whose scale fosters an image of omniscience. As his bestsellers and wealth piled up, he lost a sense of journalism as provisional and inherently imperfect, seeing it instead as something engraved in stone. But his method made him particularly vulnerable to manipulation by cunning sources.
Woodward's 2002 book Bush At War, based partly on selected National Security Council documents leaked to him at White House instruction, was invaluable to the administration for its portrait of Bush as strong and decisive. Its omissions are as striking as its fragmentary facts, such as the absence of analysis of the disastrous operation at Tora Bora that allowed Bin Laden to escape. Plan of Attack includes intriguing shards of information about the twisting of intelligence to justify the war, but he fails to develop the material and theme.
By the publication of Plan of Attack, Woodward was "hunkered down," hiding his "secrets" from his newspaper, its readers and the prosecutor. He cryptically told one of the subpoenaed Post reporters to "keep him out of the reporting". He said there were "reasonable grounds to discredit" Joseph Wilson, the whistleblower. He asserted that a CIA assessment had determined that Plame's outing had done no damage, but the CIA said no damage assessment report had been done. But when a source outed Woodward to the prosecutor, his cover-up was revealed. Above all, the extent of his credulity is exposed. It is more than paradoxical that the reporter who investigated Nixon and worked closely with professionals in government alarmed by the abuses should exhibit so little scepticism about Bush.
For almost four decades, under cover of his supposedly “objective” reporting, Woodward has represented the viewpoints of the military and intelligence establishments. Often he has done so in the context of complex inside maneuvering of which he gives his readers little clue. He did it with the book Veil, about CIA director William Casey, in which he relied on Admiral Bobby Ray Inman, a rival of Casey’s, as his key source. (Inman, from Texas, was closely identified with the Bush faction of the CIA.) The book was based in part on a “deathbed interview” with Casey that Casey’s widow and former CIA guards said never took place.
Typically, Woodward uses information he gets from his main sources to gain access to others. He then gets more secrets from them, and so on down the line. His stature - if that’s the word - as a repository of this inside dope has been key to the relentless success machine that his media colleagues have perpetuated....
But might there be more to Woodward and his oeuvre than just questionable work practices? Well, let’s see. Woodward granted former CIA director George H.W. Bush a pass by excluding him from accounts of Iran-Contra, which occurred while the notorious intriguer was vice president under the notoriously hands-off Ronald Reagan. (When I asked Woodward about this for my book Family of Secrets, he replied, “Bush was…What was it he said at the time? I was out of the loop?”) Later Woodward got exclusive access to H.W.’s son. He spent more time with George W. Bush than did any other journalist, writing several largely sympathetic books about his handling of Iraq and Afghanistan before playing catch-up with prevailing sentiment and essentially reversing course.
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.