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Who Knew, and When Did They Know It?

June 05, 2005

The 30-year mystery of "Deep Throat" ended last week with an anticlimax: Former FBI man W. Mark Felt was the anonymous source behind the Washington Post's Watergate scoop. A few obsessed observers were on record as suspecting that the 91-year-old G-man was the parking garage leaker who helped bring down President Nixon. Many more, with trademark Washington confidence, were way off the mark. Here's a sampling:

"The secret of Deep Throat is that there is no Deep Throat. Deep Throat was a compilation of several sources."

-- Author Adrian Havill, in his 1993 book "Deep Truth."

"George Herbert Walker Bush, the president's father, is Deep Throat."

-- Havill, in a letter to Jim Romenesko's media blog in February.

"There is one person we have come to believe who best fits the given description of Deep Throat, and that is [former Acting FBI Director] L. Patrick Gray."

-- "60 Minutes" reporter Mike Wallace, in a CBS News special on Watergate in 1992.

"I guessed it was Gray, not Felt."

-- Actor Robert Redford, who played Watergate reporter Bob Woodward in "All the President's Men," to Editor & Publisher magazine last week.

"Fred Fielding, who was the first deputy to John Dean in 1972, was the character known as Deep Throat."

-- University of Illinois journalism professor Bill Gaines, to CBS in 2003. Gaines and his students researched Deep Throat for four years.

"One of my former Nixon White House colleagues is history's best-known anonymous source."

-- Former White House counsel John Dean, in The Times in February. In his 2002 book, "Unmasking Deep Throat," Dean claimed that the Watergate source was either one of Nixon's speechwriters -- Patrick Buchanan or Ray Price -- Nixon aide Steve Bull or White House press secretary Ron Ziegler.

"The winner is: Chief Justice William Rehnquist."

-- Editor & Publisher, announcing the results of a reader poll guessing Deep Throat's identity in February. Rehnquist got 13%; Felt came in second with 8%.

"He could well have been Mark Felt, who admitted that he harbored ambitions to be the FBI director."

-- Former Los Angeles Times and Washington Post reporter James Mann, in Atlantic Monthly in 1992.

"Carl never told me who Deep Throat was.... But I always suspected it was Mark Felt."

-- Director Norah Ephron, Watergate reporter Carl Bernstein's ex-wife, to the New York Post in 1999

H.R. Haldeman: "We know who leaked it."

Richard Nixon: "Somebody in the FBI?"

Haldeman: "Yes, sir. Mark Felt."

-- Conversation between Nixon and his chief of staff, taped in 1972.

"I was definitely not Deep Throat."

-- Felt, to reporter Ronald Kessler in his 2002 book "The Bureau."

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