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A secret that stayed secret in the place where no one can keep a secret
February 6, 2005 1:59 PM   Subscribe

We may soon know the identity of Deep Throat. It seems that Bob Woodward has penned the obituary of the elusive Deep Throat. There have been no lack of theories for who might actually be Deep Throat. And of course, any political conspiracy theory secret wouldn't be any fun without tying it back to Bush somehow.
posted by forforf (47 comments total)

 
Didn't want to clutter up the fpp with this, but I did find it very interesting that the first linked article by Dean seems to advocate jailing future Deep Throats, on the same day as this mefi thread.
posted by forforf at 2:01 PM on February 6, 2005


Ben Bradlee, former executive editor of the Post and one of the few people to whom Woodward confided his source's identity, has publicly acknowledged that he has written Throat's obituary.

America's longest running secret [other than the sniper on the grassy knoll, that is] about to be revealed? I cannot wait!
posted by dash_slot- at 2:05 PM on February 6, 2005


i don't buy daddy Bush being Deep Throat--he was always a good "company man" -- unless-- he had deep personal hatred for Nixon? They're a very very vindictive family.
posted by amberglow at 2:08 PM on February 6, 2005


hey, was Novak ever on Nixon's staff?
posted by amberglow at 2:14 PM on February 6, 2005


I thought a good case had been made that Deep Throat is Pat Buchanan.
posted by mlis at 2:17 PM on February 6, 2005


The key here is "ill." Who's circling the bowl in Washington? Ya know, Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist was appointed associate justice to the Supreme Court by Nixon in '71. Hmmm...
posted by Dizzy Bint at 2:30 PM on February 6, 2005


How is Fred Fielding doing these days?
posted by PlusDistance at 2:32 PM on February 6, 2005


Why was Deep Throat named as such?
Not that I'm saying Pappy Bush is some sort of shrill castrato, but he's no James Earl Jones either.
posted by NinjaPirate at 2:32 PM on February 6, 2005


Perhaps he should write a book and make some money.
posted by sled at 2:33 PM on February 6, 2005


NinjaPirate: It was based on a porn flick; the name was chosen because the source would only be used as 'deep background' (without attribution, etc.)
posted by elvolio at 2:42 PM on February 6, 2005


What Chief Justice of the Supreme Court has inoperable throat cancer?
posted by orthogonality at 3:10 PM on February 6, 2005


Rehnquist's the obvious choice. Maybe too obvious...?

If it was someone of his stature, why would Woodward be writing the obit? Sounds to me like it's someone we've all forgotten by now and who's no longer in the public eye (if he/she ever was).
posted by mudpuppie at 3:15 PM on February 6, 2005


another clue for Rehnquist.. but we'll see.
posted by John Kenneth Fisher at 3:39 PM on February 6, 2005


Nixon had a lot of enemies. I just finished reading this book and nothing would surprise me.
posted by 6:1 at 3:52 PM on February 6, 2005


the first linked article by Dean seems to advocate jailing future Deep Throats

You misunderstand. Probably as a direct result of his Watergate experience, Dean is a constitutional lawyer and a skeptic of government power. What he is saying is that present case law stemming from the Supreme Court decision mandates jailing of reporters who fail to reveal sources. He isn't saying it's a good idea; he's saying this is the reality and reporters need to understand it.

Rehnquist? You guys slay me. He's barely worth considering. It's got to be one of these seven, unless Woodward used a surprising level of misdirection in writing about him (or created a composite, which he says he didn't do). I trust their methods of elimination, which included personal attributes such as drinker and smoker but primarily dealt with the chain of custody of relevant documents and datebooks showing when people were in Washington.

What I'm waiting for isn't the obit -- I'm waiting for the deathbed confession. I bet that Deep Throat has something to say before he goes.
posted by dhartung at 3:55 PM on February 6, 2005


unless Woodward used a surprising level of misdirection in writing about him

And I think he did. I just think no one really fits Woodward's descriptions, while paradoxically they are TOO specific if he were keeping someone secret.

That said, if I had to make one guess, it would be one of the seven on that page: Pat buchanan.
posted by John Kenneth Fisher at 4:09 PM on February 6, 2005


in HS in the late 70s a friend of mine and I used to wonder if Deep Throat might've been Alexander Haig.
posted by alumshubby at 4:56 PM on February 6, 2005


why would Woodward be writing the obit? - mudpuppie

He's not.
posted by dash_slot- at 4:59 PM on February 6, 2005


Ooooh. Political drama! Who's got popcorn?!
posted by grapefruitmoon at 5:03 PM on February 6, 2005


I thought it was Al Haig for many years, too, but I have to say that the Buchanan arguments are pretty convincing. (I kind of like the David Gergen angle as well.) But I'll eat my own cancerous thyroid* if it turns out to be Rehnquist -- there's just no way.

*my own cancerous thyroid having been removed several years ago, luckily I will never actually have to do this in the remote event that it really does turn out to be Rehnquist. Whew!
posted by scody at 5:21 PM on February 6, 2005


I thought the mystery of Deep Throat's identity was conclusively solved two years ago.
posted by DirtyCreature at 5:25 PM on February 6, 2005


unless Woodward used a surprising level of misdirection in writing about him

And I think he did. I just think no one really fits Woodward's descriptions, while paradoxically they are TOO specific if he were keeping someone secret.


I can't say whether he did or not, of course. But Woodward could not have foreseen that 30 years later his source's identity would remain a complete secret, that the papers of the Nixon White House would be available, that computer database programs would be cheaply and easily available, and that a class full of college students would spend, collectively, several years attempting to discern that identity from the available evidence -- including Woodward and Bernstein's own notes, White House daybooks and phone logs, and personal papers of other participants. He would have to have written his newspaper articles not just with a view to preventing insiders from sussing out the truth, but with a view to history as well. Personally, I believe this was both beyond his concern as well as beyond the ability of a day-job reporter with deadlines to meet, while keeping the essential story straight. I just don't think Woodward is superhuman. Indeed, I'm more surprised that there wasn't an, ahem, smoking gun somewhere -- such as an FBI phone tap or the like. Of course, Gaines et al. do believe they eventually cornered Fielding.

wonder if Deep Throat might've been Alexander Haig

So did John Dean. Definitely a perverse choice; it's a coin flip whether Buchanan or Haig would be more perverse. But he was ruled out by Woodward when he became a presidential candidate.

DirtyCreature: Thanks for the extra link, but while I put a lot of stock in the methodology that Gaines and his acolytes used, I don't feel they made a conclusive case, only a circumstantial one (more's the pity). Soon enough we'll know.
posted by dhartung at 5:40 PM on February 6, 2005


C'mon - I don't think I can handle hearing a definitive answer on this one! Once Jandek played his first public concert that left Deep Throat as big mystery puzzle for me (I gave up on Kennedy a long time ago). Christ, what's next on the conspiracy/mystery checklist?

By the way, I'm moving my chips from the Buchanan square into the Fielding spot, even though it doesn't seem nearly as exciting.
posted by Slack-a-gogo at 5:59 PM on February 6, 2005


It's so hard for me to think of anyone in the Nixon White House as being decent enough to be deep throat. I used to entertain the idea the it was Pat Nixon. Novak and Haig seem like loyal fascists; GHWB doesn't seem witty enough for the moniker.
posted by gesamtkunstwerk at 5:59 PM on February 6, 2005


Personally, I believe this was both beyond his concern as well as beyond the ability of a day-job reporter with deadlines to meet, while keeping the essential story straight.

You may be right; I may be looking at this too '2005', but I'd still be surprised if every word on DT Woodward has written turns out to be accurate once we know. But we'll know soon enough, and it should be fun to look back and see.

Of course, Gaines et al. do believe they eventually cornered Fielding.

Interesting.... any links on this angle?
posted by John Kenneth Fisher at 7:01 PM on February 6, 2005


Well, the Pope is mighty sick, isn't he??
posted by R. Mutt at 7:06 PM on February 6, 2005


in HS in the late 70s a friend of mine and I used to wonder if Deep Throat might've been Alexander Haig.

Hal Holbrook certainly played Deep Throat as if he were Haig.
posted by WolfDaddy at 7:11 PM on February 6, 2005


why would Woodward be writing the obit? - mudpuppie

He's not.


Ah. Sorry.
posted by mudpuppie at 7:32 PM on February 6, 2005


Of course, Gaines et al. do believe they eventually cornered Fielding.

Interesting.... any links on this angle?


Several. See higher up on the thread, including DirtyCreature's.
posted by nakedcodemonkey at 7:32 PM on February 6, 2005


I can't see that anyone's posted this yet, so here's the companion piece to John W. Dean's article. It's called ...or Protect Secret Sources. And also, again from the L.A. Times, a little excerpt from All the President's Men where Bernstein and Woodward speculate about Deep Throat's reasons for doing what he did.
posted by Kattullus at 8:01 PM on February 6, 2005


oh, I should mention that ...or Protec Secret Sources doesn't reveal anything about the identity of Deep Throat. Unless, of course, it was Kelli Sager, the author of the article who was Deep Throat! She would have been 13 at the time but that's about as opposite from what Woodward and Bernstein wrote so that it must be true! I can't believe it, I've figured it out!



...so where's my Pulitzer already... I don't have all night, y'know
posted by Kattullus at 8:09 PM on February 6, 2005


Is there any evidence at this time that Buchanan is ill?
posted by glenwood at 8:15 PM on February 6, 2005


Just a reminder... obituaries have been pre-written for many elderly but otherwise healthy famous people. Bob Hope outlived the author of his New York Times obituary by three years.
posted by evilcolonel at 9:23 PM on February 6, 2005


It would be an incredible disclosure. The man who brought down the White House. We need one now. lol
It's interesting to see how both journalists have changed
posted by Coltrane at 9:56 PM on February 6, 2005


It seems that the elusive deep throat may have been Nixon's secretary Rose Mary Woods who died last week. I can't imagine who else Woodward would be writing an obituary about.
posted by thedailygrowl at 10:10 PM on February 6, 2005


I'll second evilcolonel there. Indeed, these days, obits are written in advance for pretty much every public figure. I remember a couple of years ago something went wrong with CNN's website and the obituary for Dick Cheney went live for a little while. Rather amusing, it was.

So I'm not holding my breath waiting for Deep Throat to croak. He's "ill"...what the hell does that mean? He's got the flu? Woodward is a fantastic investigative report, but he's also a canny self-promoter. Every once in a while he likes to stir some shit up just to focus the spotlight back on himself again.
posted by randomstriker at 10:11 PM on February 6, 2005


Me, I'm saying Ben Stein...he was Bernstein's childhood friend, and a speechwriter for Nixon, who worked on the President's defence.

Also, the only member of the administration to cry during Nixon's resignation speech. It makes too much sense to be false.
posted by paul_smatatoes at 10:54 PM on February 6, 2005


um, Paul? Is you last name Spooner? On topic: is Ben Stein ill?
posted by Cranberry at 11:16 PM on February 6, 2005


It seems that the elusive deep throat may have been Nixon's secretary Rose Mary Woods who died last week.

Well, that would certainly result in an added weird joke of some kind, that they named the source DT not just becos the info as on deep background but becos she was a woman.

What's unclear from Dean's article is just when Woodward allegedly told Bradlee that DT was ill. If it was weeks ago, then it could very well have been Woods, I suppose.

Of course, she erased the infamou tape. So that would be kind of weird.
posted by theonetruebix at 11:19 PM on February 6, 2005


For what it's worth, I became convinced it was Haig after reading The Final Days. Woodward and Bernstein gave Haig good press throughout the book, implying that it was Haig who really held the White House together while Nixon was falling part. He came out the closest to a hero of anyone. It looked suspiciously like payback.
posted by QuietDesperation at 12:01 AM on February 7, 2005


Haig would make sense except for a) he's dead, and b) Woodward has said he'd reveal DT when "he" died.
posted by John Kenneth Fisher at 5:21 AM on February 7, 2005


Haig is alive, still.
posted by paddbear at 7:05 AM on February 7, 2005


Haig is large and in charge
posted by terrapin at 8:17 AM on February 7, 2005


Haig is alive, still.

really? Well, that's embarrassing. I was sure he was dead. Never mind then, carry on.
posted by John Kenneth Fisher at 8:52 AM on February 7, 2005


My money's on Art Buchwald. Plausible deniability, y'know...
posted by Smart Dalek at 3:30 PM on February 7, 2005


Maybe Woodward should auction off the identity of Deep Throat for charity, a la Carly Simon and the subject of "You're So Vain"...
posted by postmodernmillie at 9:15 PM on February 7, 2005


Editor & Publisher will apparently give you a free subscription if your guess is right.
posted by soyjoy at 12:08 PM on February 8, 2005


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