The wires are buzzing today with the news that a former FBI honcho, now 91 and living in retirement in California, has confessed to a Vanity Fair scribe that he is Woodward and Bernstein's famed Watergate source, Deep Throat. Mark Felt, was was the No. 2 guy at the FBI during the Watergate years and has always been on the short list of possible Throats over the last three decades, told the magazine that he was the highly-placed Federal source who played wave-off with the Washington Post scribes back in the day. Here's a snippet from the WP site, ironically covering its own history:
"The family believes my grandfather, Mark Felt Sr., is a great American hero who went well above and beyond the call of duty at much risk to himself to save his country from a horrible injustice," a family statement read by grandson Nick Jones said. "We all sincerely hope the country will see him this way as well."
Many die-hard Republicans have long argued that Throat was a composite character, created by WoodStein to caste blame on the Nixon White House. If the WP's reporting were faulty, then Nixon wasn't guilty and maybe Watergate was just a vast left-wing conspiracy after all - or so goes the thinking. (You can see some comments to that effect on my last post aboat Throat, back in February).Time will tell whether Felt's confession will put talk like that to rest. Meanwhile, here's Carl Bernstein's statement today:
"We've said all along that when the source, known as Deep Throat, dies, we will reveal his identity. Beyond that, when there have been articles, books, speculations, classes of university journalism students, ... we've always said the same thing. That we're not going to say anything because we have an obligation to all our sources, to whom we gave our word that they will remain confidential, including Deep Throat, until their deaths. When the individual known as Deep Throat dies, we will reveal his identity, and explain at great length all of our dealings with that individual and context of that relationship."
No matter what your politics, if you're of a certain age, this is still such a fascinating American story.
UPDATE: The Washington Post and Bob Woodward have confirmed that Felt was indeed the famed DT - amazing.