Gagging on ‘Deep Throat’
My only regret is that Mark Felt did not rat out Nixon because he was ticked off about rapprochement with China or détente with the Soviets. Rather, Felt leaked details of the Watergate investigation to the Washington Post only because he had lost a job promotion. This will come as small consolation to the Cambodians and Vietnamese slaughtered as a direct result of Nixon’s fall. Oh, well. At least we got a good movie and Jimmy Carter out of it.
Still, it must pain liberals to be praising an FBI man who ordered illegal searches of their old pals in the Weather Underground in the early ’70s. For those searches, Felt was later prosecuted by the Carter administration.
Ironically, only because of Watergate, which Felt helped instigate, could a nitwit like Jimmy Carter ever become president – a perch from which Carter pardoned draft dodgers and prosecuted Mark Felt. No wonder Felt kept denying he was ‘Deep Throat.’
Also ironic is that Felt’s free-love, flower-girl daughter was estranged from her father for decades on account of her rejection of conventional bourgeois institutions like marriage. A single mum, she is now broke – because of her rejection of conventional bourgeois institutions like marriage.
Of course Felt wasn’t Deep Throat. There was no Deep Throat. Now we know.
As most people had generally assumed, the shadowy figure who made his first appearance in a late draft of All the President’s Men was a composite of several sources – among them, apparently, Mark Felt. And now the jig is up.
The fictional Deep Throat knew things Felt could not possibly have known, such as the 18 1/2-minute gap on one of the White House tapes. Only six people knew about the gap when Woodward reported it. All of them worked at the White House. Felt not only didn’t work at the White House, but when the story broke, he also didn’t even work at the FBI anymore.
Woodward claimed he signaled Deep Throat by moving a red flag in a flowerpot to the back of his balcony and that Deep Throat signaled him by drawing the hands of a clock in Woodward’s New York Times.
But in his 1993 book, Deep Truth: The Lives of Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein, Adrian Havill did something it had occurred to no one else to do: He looked at Woodward’s old apartment, and found that Woodward had a sixth-floor interior apartment that could not be seen from the street.
In another scene in All the President’s Men, Woodward’s sidekick, Carl Bernstein, goes to a porno theater to avoid a subpoena – and the movie Deep Throat happens to be the featured film! Havill points out that Washington, D.C., had recently cracked down on porno theaters and Deep Throat was not playing in any theater in Washington at the time.
Woodward and Bernstein’s former literary agent, David Obst, has always said Deep Throat was a fictional device added to later drafts of All the President’s Men to spice it up (kind of like everything in a Michael Moore film).
Obst scoffs at the notion that the No. 2 man at the FBI would have time to be skulking around parking lots spying for red flags on a reporter’s balcony. ‘There’s not a chance one person was Deep Throat’, he told The New York Times.
So it’s not really that amazing that the identity of Deep Throat managed to stay secret for so long.