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Deep Throat revealed
May 31, 2005 8:53 AM   Subscribe

Mark Felt is Deep Throat. W. Mark Felt, former assistant director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, has agreed to come public in an upcoming article in Vanity Fair.
posted by XQUZYPHYR (158 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite

 
holy shit balls
posted by pg at 8:54 AM on May 31, 2005


Always thought it was David Gergen, after I did a report about him in high-school
posted by delmoi at 8:54 AM on May 31, 2005


Felt said he was "only doing his duty" and did not seek to bring down Nixon over the cover-up of a break-in at Democratic Party offices in the Watergate complex in Washington, D.C.

Wow, you mean he felt his duty was to the country and the people rather then to the people in charge?

That's just crazytalk.
posted by delmoi at 8:56 AM on May 31, 2005


"YOU MEDDLING KIDS"

(... got it wrong.)
posted by docgonzo at 8:58 AM on May 31, 2005


Whoa.
posted by gramschmidt at 8:59 AM on May 31, 2005


Damn, I was hoping it would be Pat Buchanan!
posted by LarryC at 8:59 AM on May 31, 2005


Huh. Not Alexander Haig.
posted by alumshubby at 9:05 AM on May 31, 2005


I'd just like to add to the chorus of WOWs.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 9:05 AM on May 31, 2005


Cool.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 9:05 AM on May 31, 2005


I'll wait for the article. Vanity Fair has a long history of pumping issue sales with press releases about stories that aren't exactly true.

It may very well be that Felt is saying he was Deep Throat and VF is accurately reporting that. It doesn't necessarily mean he was Deep Throat... Saying it doesn't always make it so.

So it will be interesting to follow. Even if it is just another VF sales promotion.
posted by warbaby at 9:07 AM on May 31, 2005


I'm mostly amazed that people still even give a shit.
posted by cmonkey at 9:07 AM on May 31, 2005


Does anyone else find it weird that Woodward and Bernstein still won't confirm or deny? I'd think the pledge wouldn't matter if the source himself admits it. Or is Felt lying?
posted by dame at 9:07 AM on May 31, 2005


dame: yup.
posted by warbaby at 9:10 AM on May 31, 2005


I'm with Dame, I'm waiting on Woodward and Bernstein.
posted by helvetica at 9:13 AM on May 31, 2005


...and until they confirm or deny, I still say it's Haig!
posted by WolfDaddy at 9:16 AM on May 31, 2005


I am with LarryC on this one. interesting that only 20% of the voting public would Identify themselves as republicans after Nixon's fiasco.
posted by hortense at 9:17 AM on May 31, 2005


Holy fuck!
posted by orthogonality at 9:17 AM on May 31, 2005


We live in a world lit by lightning. After the flash, we’re blind again. – T-Bone Burnett
posted by re6smith at 9:19 AM on May 31, 2005


I don't think this is a surprise. He's been high on the list of suspects compiled by people deeply knowledgable on the subject (who don't have an axe to grind). And I dimly recall some rumblings last year indicating that Deep Throat was about to reveal himself. (Something Woodward said?)
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 9:22 AM on May 31, 2005


Well, WolfDaddy, in high school I saw Al Haig speak at the Nixon Library. So you know . . . Also, the film at the Nixon Library claims that Nixon knew nothing about Watergate. It's awesome.
posted by dame at 9:23 AM on May 31, 2005


So do the students retroactively get Fs if this is true?
posted by drezdn at 9:24 AM on May 31, 2005


Some more detail in this AP report, including the line: "The Washington Post had no immediate comment."
posted by docgonzo at 9:25 AM on May 31, 2005


I'm just not getting the "case closed" vibe yet.
posted by Slack-a-gogo at 9:31 AM on May 31, 2005


How disappointing.
Oh well.
posted by blacklite at 9:31 AM on May 31, 2005


"If you'd like to leave a message for Joan, Rob, Nick, or Deep Throat... you may do so after the beep."
posted by docgonzo at 9:31 AM on May 31, 2005


Felt (from the article quoted above) on being 'Deep throat':

It would be terrible. This would completely undermine the reputation that you might have as a loyal, logical employee of the FBI. It just wouldn't fit at all.

Is 'Deep throat' a hero for bringing down a corrupt administration?

That's not my view at all. It would be contrary to my responsibility as a loyal employee of the FBI to leak information.
posted by docgonzo at 9:32 AM on May 31, 2005


The lack of comment by Woodward makes this seem extremely suspect to me.......
posted by John Kenneth Fisher at 9:33 AM on May 31, 2005


I was rather hoping that Deep Throat was George H. W. Bush myself, as was rumored some time ago.
posted by clevershark at 9:37 AM on May 31, 2005


More details from MSNBC:

Carl Bernstein, who with Bob Woodward broke the story as Washington Post reporters, issued a statement neither denying nor confirming Felt's claim. Bernstein stated he and Woodward would be keeping their pledge to reveal the source only once that person dies.

...

The last Felt boomlet was in 1999, when a high school senior in New York claimed that Bernstein's son let the secret slip at a summer camp.

Giving new meaning to the old phrase: "This one time at band camp..."
posted by docgonzo at 9:37 AM on May 31, 2005


I'm mostly amazed that people still even give a shit.
posted by cmonkey at 9:07 AM PST on May 31


cmonkey, did you vote last election? Or the one before that? Or have you ever read a newspaper or a politically-interested magazine or had a conversation in which you expressed some reasonably well-thought-out political opinion or admitted you don't know something about something or received a grade higher than D in your high school civics class or orororororor

No? Damn.
posted by gramschmidt at 9:40 AM on May 31, 2005


Does anyone else find it weird that Woodward and Bernstein still won't confirm or deny? I'd think the pledge wouldn't matter if the source himself admits it. Or is Felt lying?

They said they wouldn't reveal until he's dead and they're maintaining their journalistic promise. As for people saying this might not necessarily mean it's true, seriously, exactly what reason does a 91-year-old former FBI director to suddenly fabricate the claim? Career advancement? Besides, his word is just as good as, frankly, Woodward and Bernstein's. Why were we ready to accept anything Woodward said when Felt died but not willing to accept the same response from Felt himself?

It makes perfect sense, knowing that W&B won't say anything until he's long gone, to decide that it might be worth it to tell the story from the actual person's point of view. And it makes even more sense for Woodward to neither confirm nor deny for the sake of preserving his own post-mortem story deal now that Felt has scooped him.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 9:41 AM on May 31, 2005


Woodward's policy has been to neither comfirm or deny. It's possible that this comes unexpectedly for him (in the short term) and will continue his policy until he's talked with the principles involved and is sure that Felt really and truly irrevocably outed himself.

I believe it was Felt and we'll get a confirmation from Woodward no later than the publication date of the article.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 9:41 AM on May 31, 2005


Shut your slut face. <3
posted by nervousfritz at 9:41 AM on May 31, 2005


To watch Nixon saying, "Therefore, I shall resign the presidency effective at noon tomorrow," click here. You can hear it over and over by clicking repeatedly.

That's funny.
posted by WolfDaddy at 9:43 AM on May 31, 2005


No need to wait
posted by IndigoJones at 9:45 AM on May 31, 2005


Amazing. I agree with EB -- they wouldn't say anything (and may still not anyway) until checking in with Felt.
But...amazing!
posted by peacay at 9:47 AM on May 31, 2005


That is a good point, they may not have had a chance to discuss.... if this pans out... very cool.
posted by John Kenneth Fisher at 9:49 AM on May 31, 2005


did you vote last election? Or the one before that? Or have you ever read a newspaper or a politically-interested magazine or had a conversation in which you expressed some reasonably well-thought-out political opinion or admitted you don't know something about something or received a grade higher than D in your high school civics class or orororororor

Yes, yes, yes, yes. And I, too, am amazed that anyone gives a shit.
posted by Kwantsar at 9:53 AM on May 31, 2005


Well, if he's 91 that fits with earlier reports that Woodward was getting ready to write his obit...

I'm not sure if I believe this or not, it seems a bit weird to me that they won't confirm or deny it. However, if Felt is lying, wouldn't it be in the Post's best interest to deny it? It seems like they'd have an awful lot to lose by someone erroneously making a pantsload of cash on this. Then again, maybe credibility isn't worth what it used to be.
posted by grapefruitmoon at 9:56 AM on May 31, 2005


it seems a bit weird to me that they won't confirm or deny it.

As others have mentioned, Bernstein might be checking in with Felt and/or the Post to see how he wants them to play it. Woodward, meanwhile, is frantically placing calls to his agent and publisher to make sure the seven-figure advance for Grizzled: The Fast Life and Overlong, Overearnest Interview Sessions of an American Legend is still his to keep.
posted by gompa at 10:19 AM on May 31, 2005


Having RTFA, I'm not at all surprised that Woodward and Bernstein are waiting -- they seem uneasy with the idea that this now rather mentally handicapped 91-year-old (post several strokes) is competent to give consent to his outing as Deep Throat.

(Obviously this interpretation assumes that he is indeed Deep Throat, for which much convincing evidence is given in the article.) Just sayin' that their non-comment is not an automatic disqualifier.
posted by Aknaton at 10:20 AM on May 31, 2005


1) I wish HST could've broken this story. Sigh.

2) Woodward’s name did not register with Joan, and she assumed he was no different from a number of other reporters, who had called that week.

Does anyone else find this a little incredible?
posted by ZenMasterThis at 10:21 AM on May 31, 2005


I'll wait for the article.

Huh? The article is right there in the FPP.

Does anyone else find it weird that Woodward and Bernstein still won't confirm or deny? I'd think the pledge wouldn't matter if the source himself admits it. Or is Felt lying?

That's addressed in the article. Felt's daughter had a series of conversatioons with Woodward, stretching out over months, about going public. He was not caught unaware today. He expressed concern to her that Felt (a) might be making a decision under pressure from family and friends (b) might not be mentally competant to make such a decision anymore. He and Bernstein are sticking by their original pledge because they're not sure whether Deep Throat has--or can--release them from it at this point.
posted by nakedcodemonkey at 10:22 AM on May 31, 2005


Okay, that's truly stupid. Because he may not be mentally competent, we aren't sure about our oath. Frankly, the only reason I can think of to not confirm is to stave off the moment you become utter history, as opposed to something still slightly alive. And considering how fucked up people are in the brain, that to me seems more likely than hewing to an "oath" that has been rendered moot. Still, I want my confirmation.
posted by dame at 10:28 AM on May 31, 2005


Also, am I on drugs or was that second link added later?
posted by dame at 10:33 AM on May 31, 2005


A Metafilter Exclusive! Hot off the press, an excerpt from Bob Woodward's Grizzled:

I checked back in with my most famous source later in the summer of 1997. I inquired about his health. As a man who once held the fate of the free world in his hands and chose to pass that burden on to me, he's someone whose health keenly concerns me.

"Feelin' okay," The Most Important News Source Of All Time solemnly intoned.

"How's the hip?" I probed.

"Oh, you know, a little stiff."

I said goodbye to Deep Throat and sat for awhile in my study, pondering the enormity of the name he'd chosen for himself. I wondered if he would contract emphysema.

It would be nine months before I talked to Deep Throat again. Still no emphysema. I returned to my transcription of some small talk I exchanged with Leon Panetta in the White House staff men's room.

posted by gompa at 10:34 AM on May 31, 2005


no fucking way, that gentleman doesn't look one bit like Hal Holbrooke
posted by matteo at 10:35 AM on May 31, 2005


I haven't read the VP yet....quickly skimmed it.....but it really sounded like he was pushed pretty well by his family --- to pay their bills. I guess Woodstein could think that their imprimatur on the story might be merely contributing to the family gains? on prev: dame, I saw it there when the site came back up. So you have obviously been visited by the dusting fairy.
posted by peacay at 10:35 AM on May 31, 2005


oh, and thanks for the link XQUZ
posted by matteo at 10:38 AM on May 31, 2005


Okay, that's truly stupid. Because he may not be mentally competent, we aren't sure about our oath.

No, they're sure they made a promise and are leery of breaking it just to satisfy people's curiosity. Remember that they've had 30 years' experience fending off questions about Deep Throoat's identity. They're never confirmed OR denied any name because denials eliminate suspects, and becomes implicit confirmation if they were do rule out some suspects and then refuse to rule out someone else. Their policy of non-confirmation/non-denial has kept the secret pretty well up to this point. Their dilemma now is whether they have the right to break the promise. Even Felt's lawyer, the article's author, admits that the man has become senile at times, didn't want to come forward, and is only reluctantly cooperating with this to help his children financially. It's not surprising that W&B would be struggling right now with the ethics of the situation.
posted by nakedcodemonkey at 10:49 AM on May 31, 2005


"Still no emphysema. I returned to my transcription of some small talk I exchanged with Leon Panetta in the White House staff men's room."

Ha. Gompa is very, very funny.
posted by fandango_matt at 10:53 AM on May 31, 2005


But nakedcodemonkey, if it's out, it's out. When you promise not to speak of something but then the person it happened to speaks of it, you are released: the spirit behind staying silent is moot. Unless you are trying to hold on to your own importance. Or if you want to help out someone financially and then wait till he dies to admit it was a lie.
posted by dame at 10:56 AM on May 31, 2005


gfm: well, who knows. It may just be that woodward wants to conferm with Felt as others mentioned. Or maybe he'd just been hoping to make a ton of money when he died. Who knows.

It certanly seems resonable that the the guy a lot of people (including nixon) seem to think was DT now claims that he, in fact, is.
posted by delmoi at 11:02 AM on May 31, 2005


I still think it's Buchanan.
posted by Balisong at 11:04 AM on May 31, 2005


Well, I can see the point of maintaining the "do not confirm or deny" stance. Woodward and Bernstein have staked a large chunk of their credibility in regards to their anonymous sources on their commitment to not reveal them. In the process, they managed to drag the rest of journalism along with them.

W&B's relationship with Deep Throat stopped being just a pact between three people sometime in the 1980s. Since then, it has become the ideal of how far the press should go in protecting anonymous wistleblowers.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 11:05 AM on May 31, 2005


Don't you people watch the Simpsons? It's Smithers. Its always been Smithers.

Though this article on MSN makes him look like Bob Barker and THAT, my friends, would be cool! Bob Barker, game show host, unofficial spokesman for pet neutering and spy!

Its strange that Woodward and Bernstein won't confirm or deny Felt's confession though.
posted by fenriq at 11:14 AM on May 31, 2005


Deep Throat: I'm the liar. You're the killer.
CSM: Your lies have killed more men in a day than I have in a lifetime because I've never killed anyone.
Deep Throat: Maybe I'm not the liar.
posted by Smart Dalek at 11:14 AM on May 31, 2005


nakedcodemonkey writes "It's not surprising that W&B would be struggling right now with the ethics of the situation."

Made all the more difficult because they can't really consult with a bunch of other people with out giving it away.
posted by Mitheral at 11:21 AM on May 31, 2005


Tricky Dick was right..

Nixon: If he--the guy that does that can go out and, uh, you mean he's a--of course, he couldn't do it unless he had a guarantee from somebody like Time magazine saying, "Look, we'll give you a job for life." Then what do they do? They put him in a job for life, and everybody would treat him like a pariah. He's in a very dangerous situation. These guys you know--the informers, look what it did to [Whittaker] Chambers. ... They finished him.

Dean: Uh huh. Well, I think I, there's no--

Nixon: Either way, either way, the, the, the informer is not wanted in our society. Either way, that's the one thing people do sort of line up against. They--

Dean: That's right.

Nixon: They say, "Well, that son-of-a-bitch informed. I don't want him around." We wouldn't want him around, would we?


posted by brucec at 11:22 AM on May 31, 2005


And I'm not saying that Woodward should or should not reveal the source. For example, I think that Novak is hiding behind Deep Throat as a precident for a variety of reasons that are not that great.

I'm just pointing out that Woodward is probably quite aware that Deep Throat has become something of an ideal within journalism, and that what he does next will affect future relationships with anonymous sources.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 11:23 AM on May 31, 2005


interesting old piece from slate about a segment of the Nixon tapes where they not only discuss Felt as the leak, but Nixon hurls anti-semitic remarks at him as well.
posted by ericbop at 11:33 AM on May 31, 2005


My question - what is it going to take for OUR generation to have a Deep Throat? Maybe Felt will serve as an example.
posted by afroblanca at 11:39 AM on May 31, 2005


if it's out, it's out. When you promise not to speak of something but then the person it happened to speaks of it, you are released

Not if it's his children outing him, dragging a reluctant and senile old man out of the political closet for their own gain. Assuming Felt is in fact Deep Throat, *has* he released W&B? The article suggests that neither man has spoken with Felt since the decision was made to go public. Felt had changed his mind repeatedly before about coming out, and could do so again. Right now, if he retracts the secret is still essentially kept because he and the family have offered no definitive proof to back up the claim, no substantial new leads. So we're right back to a long list of suspects with him one of the long-time favorites. But once W&B confirm, that's the proof; they'll have taken away Felt's option to back out. Right now, Felt's just a guy with a cool but unproven claim--by issuing a confirmation OR a denial, it would be W&B making the decision to irrevocably unmask Deep Throat. They damned well better wait for Felt to give them his personal, unequivocal permission before taking that big of a step. If it takes a few days for them to get that, so what? We've been patient 30 years, we can wait a little longer.

And what if Felt isn't the real Deep Throat? Then by issuing a denial now, W&B would be breaking their word to the real source. If Deep Throat's identity is still a secret, then they have no choice but to continue refusing to confirm or deny no matter how many people come forward with false claims.

Either way, this is a very loaded decision for them. And as Mitheral notes, it's not like they can have advisors (or even historical precedent) to guide them. They blazed this trail; if they mishandle the situation now it will have consequences not just for themselves and Felt but for the entire profession of journalism. Which is an intitution in bad enough shape these days without help from another sourcing scandal.
posted by nakedcodemonkey at 11:44 AM on May 31, 2005


dead on kirkjob,

Woodward has set the gold standard for keeping a source secret. He's not going to do anything in the last moments here to break that.

It looks like Felt did not release Woodward. Also, I can imagine Woodward probably didn't ask to be released. Woodward is nothing if not by the book. He probably didn't think it was appropriate to ask.
posted by brucec at 11:47 AM on May 31, 2005


Kwantsar writes "did you vote last election? Or the one before that? Or have you ever read a newspaper or a politically-interested magazine or had a conversation in which you expressed some reasonably well-thought-out political opinion or admitted you don't know something about something or received a grade higher than D in your high school civics class or orororororor

"Yes, yes, yes, yes. And I, too, am amazed that anyone gives a shit."


You have to be of an age to remember the times. And the hideous sideburns and the too-wide, too-ugly, too-polyester neckties.

The Christmas bombings and the secret bombings (said by Nixon himself to have been inspired by seeing the musical 1776) and his "secret plan to end the war" and then "Vietnamization". The enemies' lists and the paranoia about "the Jews". And "pray with me Henry" and C.R.E.E.P and Dean and Erlichman and Haldeman (each with his sideburns and the god-awful neckties, too).

And the jowls. The hatred, rooted in envy, for the Kennedys and for the whole East Coast Establishment. And the V-for-victory salute. And the sweaty face. All the way back, to HUAC and "a little dog named Checkers" and the "good Republican cloth coat" and "you won't have Dick Nixon to kick around anymore" and Eisenhower's reluctance to endorse his own Vice President's succession. And finally the "This is the 37th time I have spoken to you from this office...."

The whole long national nightmare. You have to be of a certain age or else it's all just impersonal history, like Burr and Hamilton dueling. But if you remember it, it still grabs at you. The humiliating resignation of a President who spent his entire life clawing his way to the highest office in the land only to disgrace it, the pathetic pardon granted him while his henchmen and underlings did prison time. If you remember it, it's still there, dancing just beyond your reach.
posted by orthogonality at 11:48 AM on May 31, 2005 [1 favorite]


Not if it's his children outing him, dragging a reluctant and senile old man out of the political closet for their own gain.

Cynical, much? Hell, if my grandfather was Deep Throat, you better believe I'd want people to know and be proud of him before he died. Felt seems to think that people would look down on him for leaking these secrets, but people respect him for ratting on a corrupt administration. It makes sense to me that his family would want him to be celebrated.
posted by heatherann at 11:48 AM on May 31, 2005


Assuming Felt is in fact Deep Throat, *has* he released W&B?

According to Woodward's recent statement 'nothing has changed' in terms of his promise to Deep Throat.
posted by brucec at 11:48 AM on May 31, 2005


The PDF gives some explanation on why W&B havn't come out yet.

Felt had come to an interim decision: he would "cooperate," but only with the assistance of Bob Woodward. Acceding to his wishes, Joan and I spoke to Woodward by phone on a half-dozen occasions over a period of months about whether to make a joint revelation, possibly in the form of a book or an article. Woodward would sometimes begin these coversations with just a caveat, saying, more or less, "just because I'm talking to you, I"m not admitting that he is who you think he is." Then he'd express his chief concerns, which were twofold, as I recall. First this is something that Joan and I were pushing on Felt, or did he actually want to reveal himself for his own accord ... Second, was Felt actually in a clear meantal state?"

The guy is 91 years old. And it does seem like they are 'pushing' this on him.

Its clear Felt felt very guilty about leaking, that he thought it was a horrible and even illegal thing to do ("What would the Judge think?" he asks.

Bob Woodwar's gonna get all the glory for this, but we could make at least enough money to pay some bills, like the debt I've run up for the kid's education," Joan recalls saying. "let's do it for the family."
posted by delmoi at 11:52 AM on May 31, 2005


Uh, for future referernce, I believe that that would be "go public" not "come public"

and thanks for the full monte IndigoJones....
posted by Pressed Rat at 11:54 AM on May 31, 2005


Mark Felt? What a laugh! John Robert Dobbs was Deep Throat. He's always been Deep Throat. He's always gonna be Deep Throat. Don't let anyone tell you differnt. Those darn historical revisionists get it wrong every time!
posted by ZachsMind at 11:58 AM on May 31, 2005


And I, too, am amazed that anyone gives a shit.

You know, I give a shit, and as far as direct experience I only remember my parents talking about this, and some skits on Saturday Night Live. But I think it's important because so many members of our current administrations admired, were mentored by or were directly connected to the Nixon/Ford administration.
posted by lumpenprole at 12:04 PM on May 31, 2005


two credible sources is the rule. I will wait.

what is it going to take for OUR generation to have a Deep Throat?
I don't really thing that's possible anymore. Distrust of the government has been much more mainstream since Watergate. It's exploited in fact--our paranoid little minds are fed a steady stream of consipiracies and disinformation.
posted by whatnot at 12:06 PM on May 31, 2005


The article cited contains Joan Felt's representaton of Woodward's concerns, we don't know the reason behind the non-revelation revelation yet.
posted by brucec at 12:09 PM on May 31, 2005


I really hope Mr. Felt isn't senile or suffering from dementia, like the reports say. I have a terrible fear my fascination with this mystery will become a Star Wars Prequel of disappointment, with Mr. Felt holding a press conference: "It is time to set the record straight. I am Deep Throat, pancakes to Woodward, my hydrangeas secret tapes with ladders, Bernstein, they aren't making those anymore, like they had when I was a boy!"
posted by fandango_matt at 12:19 PM on May 31, 2005


Presuming Felt is Deep Throat, and given 30 people were eventually convicted of Watergate crimes, and given Felt worked for the FBI, then isn't it fair to ask why the FBI didn't lay charges but waited for it to all trickle out?
posted by Rumple at 12:47 PM on May 31, 2005


And what if Felt isn't the real Deep Throat? Then by issuing a denial now, W&B would be breaking their word to the real source. If Deep Throat's identity is still a secret, then they have no choice but to continue refusing to confirm or deny no matter how many people come forward with false claims.

Yeah, I know. That's my point: I'm suspicious. Either Felt isn't Deep Throat, in which case W&B shouldn't say anything, or he is, in which case they should just admit it instead of leaving open the possibility that he's a liar. Even if he's senile is it better to leave him looking like he's full of it?


More generally, this hasn't got anything to do confidentiality. If a secret is out, it's out. It isn't a question of Felt releasing him; logic does.

But frankly, if this does turn out to be true, all it'll teach me about sourcing is that the W&B model is not fully refined. (Kinda like the Novak thing.) I mean, Jeebus, they didn't have a plan for the source revealing himself? Besides, doesn't leaving the guy hanging to keep your little slice strike you a poor way to treat a source?
posted by dame at 1:59 PM on May 31, 2005


The Washington Post promises an announcement at 5:00 pm, to be followed by an article by Woodward on Thursday.

Sounds like the real thing, baby!
posted by orthogonality at 2:00 PM on May 31, 2005


Omigod. Bitching on MetaFilter actually got me some action for once!
posted by dame at 2:05 PM on May 31, 2005


I give a shit. Watergate is among my earliest memories, and the identity of Deep Throat was one of the first mysteries to capture my mind. I've never stopped wondering. I called my parents as soon as I saw the news this morning. Bring on the press conference!
posted by swerve at 2:09 PM on May 31, 2005


isn't it fair to ask why the FBI didn't lay charges but waited for it to all trickle out?

It's fair to ask but at the time Deep Throat talked to Woodward, the White House (as represented by Dean) and CREEP wasn't cooperating at all with the FBI.
posted by brucec at 2:18 PM on May 31, 2005


Woodward just confirmed.
posted by occhiblu at 2:20 PM on May 31, 2005


Rumple: Presuming Felt is Deep Throat, and given 30 people were eventually convicted of Watergate crimes, and given Felt worked for the FBI, then isn't it fair to ask why the FBI didn't lay charges but waited for it to all trickle out?


You can't charge a guy like that... Put him up on charges and he will go nuclear. The quote from Nixon up-thread puts it perfectly.

I think the people holding out on believing this are... Grasping...
posted by Chuckles at 2:22 PM on May 31, 2005


If Felt is in fact the actual informant, as is now looking likely, he is no American hero. He was passed over for the top job at the FBI by Nixon and was obviously nursing a bruised little ego.

Interestingly, in 1980 Nixon was on the stand in a trial where Mark Felt was a defendant. Felt was accused of conspiring to violate the civil rights of members of the Weather Underground when he and Edward S Miller authorized warrantless break-ins of their homes (the WU were accused of planting bombs in public buildings). Nixon who had all along believed Felt was Deep Throat, was keen to testify on Felt's behalf. The defence rejected Nixon as a witness and the prosecution had him on the stand instead. Felt was found guilty possibly in part because of the jury's distaste for Nixon.

Dick's cleverly plotted, sweet revenge?
posted by DirtyCreature at 2:22 PM on May 31, 2005


Woodward confirms: Felt IS Deeepthroat!
posted by orthogonality at 2:23 PM on May 31, 2005


The family has issued their statement.

On a separate note, heatherann regarding "Cynical, much?": my point is that it's Woodward and Bernstein who are forced to approach this with a great deal of skepticism--is this Felt's own choice, or someone else's agenda being pushed on him?--when weighing their own decision. As long as there's doubt, they have an obligation to uphold their promise to keep their source secret until his death, even if doing so makes them look unduly foolish or cynical.

If it were my parent or grandparent that stood at the center of one of the big moments of American history, I'd want to crow it from the rooftops too. But it's not the family's story to tell, let alone exploit for their own fame or fortune. Felt's lawyer wrote a bombshell exclusive story for Vanity Fair--surely worth a tidy sum--while noting that Felt received no payment for it, but saying nothing about whether he (the lawyer) or the family are getting anything out of this deal. He openly admits that the children's agenda is financial. No wonder W&B are proceeding cautiously for now.

On preview: holy shit. Where's the link?!
posted by nakedcodemonkey at 2:24 PM on May 31, 2005


Wow.
posted by swerve at 2:25 PM on May 31, 2005


Link
posted by fandango_matt at 2:26 PM on May 31, 2005


Right now, Felt's just a guy with a cool but unproven claim--

The admission of a man who is on the short list of real possible suspects, and meets all the circumstantial evidence, is pretty close to proof.
posted by brucec at 2:26 PM on May 31, 2005


After all the waiting it does feel a bit anticlimactic. Anyway, three cheers for Felt.
posted by caddis at 2:27 PM on May 31, 2005


Holy crap! Ben Bradlee didn't know Felt's name until after Nixon resigned! Bradlee only knew he was a the number-two FBI official. (Bradlee couldn't figure ouit the name from that?)
posted by orthogonality at 2:27 PM on May 31, 2005


Geeez, I scoop everyone here on the announcement and no one notices. Sniff.
posted by occhiblu at 2:28 PM on May 31, 2005


I'M SPARTACUS!

err...nevermind
posted by C17H19NO3 at 2:30 PM on May 31, 2005


Look at the time signatures, occhiblu. they were still typing when you posted.
posted by whatnot at 2:32 PM on May 31, 2005


Oh, fine. But logical argument won't assuage these nagging feelings of worthlessness.
posted by occhiblu at 2:34 PM on May 31, 2005


occhiblu writes "Geeez, I scoop everyone here on the announcement and no one notices. Sniff."

Sorry about that. occhiblu wins, orthogonality loses.
posted by orthogonality at 2:35 PM on May 31, 2005


I'll share the trophy with you.

Ted Turner is now on CNN talking about why this doesn't matter at all.
posted by occhiblu at 2:40 PM on May 31, 2005


Ted Turner apparently never got a grade better than a D in a civics class.

But he did nail Jane Fonda.
posted by xmutex at 2:44 PM on May 31, 2005


xmutex: But he did nail Jane Fonda.


Now there is a fact that no one under 35 cares about, unlike the question at hand...
posted by Chuckles at 2:47 PM on May 31, 2005


WaPo must be feeling a bit miffed that Felt (or Felt's family, more likely) went to Vanity Fair with the exclusive, instead of giving the paper enough notice to prepare the big package they had planned to run on news of DT's death. In its piece about the confirmation from Woodward and Bernstein, the WaPo says Bernstein is preparing a big piece to run on Thursday.
posted by nyterrant at 2:48 PM on May 31, 2005


At first I was very much excited that Deep Throat's identity had been revealed. I read a few website's and then ran down stairs and flipped on the news.

Apparently the guy, at 91 years of age, has a long history. Some of it, though more correctly, professionally, while working within the FBI. This history of his while working is somewhat controversial. Then I heard "in other news coming out of Washington today" that something else was going on in the world. It seemed boring so I turned off the TV.

Now I've got the feeling that someone is lying to me. Deep Throat, could it be you? You looked so evil there, standing with your family, all smiling and talking about how happy you all are.

How dare you Deep Throat. How dare you turn your back on FREEDOM.
posted by futureproof at 3:14 PM on May 31, 2005


Too bad for the Post, but they had plenty of advance notice that this was coming.

Felt...would “cooperate,” but only with the assistance of Bob Woodward. Acceding to his wishes, Joan and I spoke to Woodward by phone on a half-dozen occasions over a period of months about whether to make a joint revelation, possibly in the form of a book or an article... [According to Joan]..."We talked about doing a book with Dad, and I think he [Woodward] was considering. That was my understanding. He didn’t say no at first.... Then he kept kind of putting me off on this book, saying, ‘Joan, don’t press me.’ ... For him the issue was competency: was Dad competent to release him from the agreement..."
posted by nakedcodemonkey at 3:19 PM on May 31, 2005


Chuckles, I would dispute that no one under 35 cares about nailing Jane Fonda, they do still rent "Barberalla" on DVD and damned if she doesn't looked pretty excellent in it.
posted by fenriq at 3:22 PM on May 31, 2005


James Mann listed Felt as a prime Deep Throat suspect in Deep Throat: An Institutional Analysis, in the May 1992 Atlantic Monthly.

Deep Throat: Uncovered "uncovered" Fred Fielding. Mark Felt wasn't on their list of candidates.

John Dean was going to unmask Jonathan Rose as Deep Throat, but backed off after being threatened with a lawsuit. His Unmasking Deep Throat doesn't list Felt as a candidate.

Felt also wasn't on McSweeney's list of candidates.
posted by kirkaracha at 3:43 PM on May 31, 2005


I still think that the most salient question has yet to be addressed- Who will be our Deep Throat?

Think about it. If Felt had never informed on Nixon, we may have never known about all the dirty tricks that Nixon and friends were up to. He would have left office as a respected man.

Now think about everything that Bush & co have been doing for the last several years. Think about everything that they do BLATANTLY. If they are getting away with all of this right out in the open, think about all of the things that are going on that we don't know about yet. Tom DeLay is just the tip of the iceberg, my friends.

And this, in my opinion, is why the case of Deep Throat is so important, even to someone who has no interest in journalism or contemporary history. We came very, very close to never knowing the truth.
posted by afroblanca at 3:54 PM on May 31, 2005


I've been curious about this for a long time. I find it interesting though, now that Woodward has confirmed it, that people are still questioning the validity of the claim.

Also, I just saw G. Gordon Liddy and Pat Buchanan's reactions to the news on the TV, and they both sounded somewhat bitter. Buchanan referred to Deep Throat/Felt as a 'snake'. I'm interested to hear other Watergate-era personalities sound off on this.
posted by exlotuseater at 3:55 PM on May 31, 2005


what is it going to take for OUR generation to have a Deep Throat?

Given the amount of scandals the President has survived so far in front of an oblivious public, I doubt anyone would consider the probable ends to justify the means.
posted by Pretty_Generic at 4:04 PM on May 31, 2005


The Washingtonian's Jack Limpert picked Mark Felt in 1974.
posted by kirkaracha at 4:23 PM on May 31, 2005


I still think that the most salient question has yet to be addressed- Who will be our Deep Throat?

Exactly, but it'll have to be someone unsmearable, and i don't think there is anyone. (look at what they do to people who have already spoken out)

Pat Buchanan is on Hardball now smearing Felt as disloyal to the president and as a criminal, even if the president was committing crimes--disgusting.
posted by amberglow at 4:23 PM on May 31, 2005


oh, it is just delicious that this is coming out now--during a very very very Nixonian adminstration.

(and Buchanan also accused Felt of helping make us lose in Vietnam--he's so psycho)
posted by amberglow at 4:25 PM on May 31, 2005


I find it interesting though, now that Woodward has confirmed it, that people are still questioning the validity of the claim.

Lots of X-Files fans on teh net.
posted by Pretty_Generic at 4:51 PM on May 31, 2005


Pat Buchanan is on Hardball now smearing Felt

I don't know about you, but I'm aroused.
posted by Pretty_Generic at 4:52 PM on May 31, 2005


Have to admit the "Hardball now smearing Felt" did sound kinda hot.
posted by hojoki at 4:55 PM on May 31, 2005


Yes you got my joke hooray you win.


posted by Pretty_Generic at 5:07 PM on May 31, 2005


"Oh God," she moaned, as the anonymous source thrusted deep inside Watergate while Hardball smeared Felt; she could feel the 18-minute gap growing longer and in a sudden wave he provided her with one, then two shuddering independent sources which leaked information everywhere...
posted by fandango_matt at 5:28 PM on May 31, 2005


what is it going to take for OUR generation to have a Deep Throat?

that's a Jeff Gannon joke waiting to happen
posted by matteo at 5:28 PM on May 31, 2005


what is it going to take for OUR generation to have a Deep Throat?

that's a Jeff Gannon joke waiting to happen


I don't have anything to add-- that comment just delights me.

It's interesting to me that anyone could not find this interesting. Watergate remains one of the most interesting episodes in American history, particularly since Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld got their starts in government under Nixon.

It seems to me that the current administration is preoccupied with this era-- could Viet Nam have been a success? What is the value of total loyalty? The spectres of Viet Nam and Watergate seem very much alive in 2005.

Besides, Deep throats grandson is fcuking hot!
posted by gesamtkunstwerk at 5:54 PM on May 31, 2005


what reason does a 91-year-old former FBI director to suddenly fabricate the claim?

Senile old fool that wants to attach himself to one of his nation's longest running stories and greatest ever mysteries?
posted by uncanny hengeman at 6:08 PM on May 31, 2005


what is it going to take for OUR generation to have a Deep Throat?

genetic engineering or body modification should do it ...
posted by pyramid termite at 6:14 PM on May 31, 2005


Who will be our Deep Throat?

This is one thought that consoled me during the long, dark night of Bush &co's reelection: Both Reagan and Clinton suffered through scandals in their second-term (although only one was deserved); what doozie is going to ensnare Dubya?
posted by docgonzo at 6:50 PM on May 31, 2005


they're doing it to themselves, doc--but we need the media to really cover it (which is the biggest difference bet. now and the Watergate era)
posted by amberglow at 6:56 PM on May 31, 2005


We don't need a Deep Throat. the information that Bush lied is already out there for people to see. What we need is a news media that will push to make the public aware of what has gone on, such as the Washington Post did.

On preview, amberglow's got it.
posted by ScotchLynx at 7:03 PM on May 31, 2005


John Dean is on CNN now--says Felt was a source but that he wouldn't have had access to all of the info. There are others out there. CNN also just said the family pushed him to come out and wants to profit from it (for college tuitions and stuff)--a book must be in the works.
posted by amberglow at 7:11 PM on May 31, 2005


CNN is a parade of indicted Republican co-conspirators (which is becoming rather usual for them)--Dean, now Colson. "...not an appropriate way for a govt. official to act. He should have gone to the administration first." Unbelievable.
posted by amberglow at 7:25 PM on May 31, 2005


For what it's worth, here's why the University of Illinois kids that worked on this ruled out the FBI as a source. Apparently B&W misdirected everyone by attributing quotes to a White House source. Although apparently there was some intentionally false, but unwittingly spot-on rumor-mongering going on not unlike the plot of the new Bewitched remake:

In the course of their investigation, students found their own Deep-Throat-type source who had been close to the FBI Watergate investigation. The source said that some officials in the FBI deliberately set out to cast suspicion on Felt as a leaker to get him removed from his powerful position.
posted by pokeydonut at 7:25 PM on May 31, 2005


colson live on cnn until a few seconds ago, wearing an american flag lapel pin, smearing Felt as "dishonorable".
posted by matteo at 7:29 PM on May 31, 2005


what was David Gergen's job in Nixon's WH?
posted by amberglow at 7:39 PM on May 31, 2005


they're doing it to themselves, doc--but we need the media to really cover it (which is the biggest difference bet. now and the Watergate era)

You make a good point, amberglow. However, the fact that they have gotten away with so much while being totally blatant about it tells me that there is a whole lot more lurking beneath the surface.

Here's to hoping that the Bushies piss off someone on the inside who has enough integrity to spill the beans at a crucial moment.
posted by afroblanca at 7:47 PM on May 31, 2005


famous last words "follow the money"
Deep Throat; the conspiratorialist's patron saint
posted by hortense at 8:17 PM on May 31, 2005


This is one thought that consoled me during the long, dark night of Bush &co's reelection: Both Reagan and Clinton suffered through scandals in their second-term (although only one was deserved); what doozie is going to ensnare Dubya?

I don't know. The first four years gave us so much; the next year gave us even more. We seem to need a deep throat to articulate the blatantly obvious.
posted by gesamtkunstwerk at 8:31 PM on May 31, 2005


what was David Gergen's job in Nixon's WH?

Staff assistant, then special assistant, according to his resume [PDF].
posted by kirkaracha at 8:52 PM on May 31, 2005


You know, fuck David Gergen.

He sits there on Hardball and acts the elder statesman and says, I don't know how we Nixon staffers let it go so far, I don't know why we didn't realize it was wrong -- right after he tells us that he doesn't think Mark Felt is a hero.

That's where you and the rest of the Nixon White House went wrong, Mr. "Elder Statesman" Gergen, and you still can't get it through your arrogant head some thirty-three years later: heroism is not about making nice with a tyrant and saying, behind closed doors, "tsk, tsk, let's not abuse our power too often". Heroism is standing up to anyone, even the President of the United States of America, and letting him know he's not above the law.

Fuck you, David Gergen, you're just another sleek, undeniably smart, well-connected old Washington hand and well paid-off hypocrite, another vulture who fattens himself on the leavings of braver men and then gets paid again and lionized for murmuring reasonable-sounding fatuities on PBS's News Hour.

Fuck you if at long last you still don't have the decency to realize that Mark Felt, whatever his motives, is a hero who stuck by the ideal that America should never be a monarchy, and you're a morally bankrupt consigliere who was paid, by a succession of presidents, to look the other way and excuse the inexcusable.
posted by orthogonality at 8:52 PM on May 31, 2005


Gergen, one of Nixon's speechwriters, could barely hide his contempt for Felt on the NewsHour tonight. He really had nothing on Felt, so he instead said something to the effect that we don't really know Felt's motives, that some in the FBI might have been motivated to take down the president (could that some have included Felt?) and that Felt was involved with some black ops with the FBI. It amazes me how that even with the benefit of 30 years of hindsight some can be so blind to the wrongs being committed by Nixon and the courage that it took to expose them. Does David really still believe that exposing Nixon's misdeeds was wrong? I lost a lot of respect for him tonight.
posted by caddis at 8:54 PM on May 31, 2005


So.... there goes Bob Woodward's corporate speech circuit... all those executives saying "come on, tell us who he is, we won't tell!"
To say nothing of his chances at picking up girls at DC bars...
posted by sdrawkcab at 8:56 PM on May 31, 2005


Gergen was Special Assistant to the President (Director, White House Editorial Department) in 1973-1974.
posted by kirkaracha at 9:08 PM on May 31, 2005


Our family believes older people are our national treasure and should be honored and respected in the declining years of their lives. My grandfather is one of those special people and on behalf of the Felt family we hope you see him as worthy of honor and respect as we do. The Felt family does ask however, that in view of his age and health, you respect his zone of privacy as he enjoys this moment with us.

I would ask that the Felt family respect the nobility of truth for it's own sake and the heroic efforts of their father by not trying to make a buck off the situation. Here's hoping the effort costs them in the end.
posted by troybob at 9:15 PM on May 31, 2005


its--damn
posted by troybob at 9:17 PM on May 31, 2005


yup, Gergen and the rest of them are still massive tools, even 30 years later. ortho and caddis--well said. Most of the guests on CNN spun it the same way as Gergen---unindicted co-conspirators til the end. (i love that phrase.)

Even Felt said he's not proud of what he did, and that he was surprised his family said he was a hero--amazing how going along to get along, no matter what--still has staying power. Or is it a remnant of the Man in the Grey Flannel Suit?

troybob! : >
posted by amberglow at 9:20 PM on May 31, 2005


Kind of like Eichmann, they just do their jobs and rather than look down on what they are doing, they look down on those who question what they are doing. Good Germans all.
posted by caddis at 9:33 PM on May 31, 2005


References to Deep Throat in All the President's Men.
posted by kirkaracha at 10:54 PM on May 31, 2005


A classmate of Carl Bernstein's son identified Felt as Deep Throat in 2 Boys Talking Politics At Summer Camp May Have Revealed A Watergate Secret, from the The Hartford Courant in July 1999.
posted by kirkaracha at 11:09 PM on May 31, 2005


?
posted by peacay at 1:32 AM on June 1, 2005


bugger...that was supposed to be a heart ?
posted by peacay at 1:33 AM on June 1, 2005


Gergen, one of Nixon's speechwriters, could barely hide his contempt for Felt on the NewsHour tonight.

Gergen wrote in his fairly recent book that he didn't have a lot of respect for Deep Throat's sneakiness. Of course, Gergen is a man whose leaked on many occasions and was reprimanded by Haig for doing it in the waning days of the Nixon Presidency.

Look now for a lot of judgement on Felt. One thing to keep in mind is that Felt didn't just spill information to the press - he guided Woodward and gave hope to a story that might have been dead.
posted by brucec at 4:39 AM on June 1, 2005


Wow. Felt's daughter is hot! I wonder what the family thought about X-Files. Did Felt watch that one night and go, "hey that Jerry Hardin guy ain't half bad doing me!"

"Think about it. If Felt had never informed on Nixon, we may have never known about all the dirty tricks that Nixon and friends were up to. He would have left office as a respected man."

The talking heads are en masse on the news programs taking Felt to task. Pat Buchanan was practically frothing at the mouth! There are many who will paint Felt as a traitor who leaked the information for personal selfish reasons of revenge, as opposed to a man who risked his own liberty and security protecting the incorruptibility of the FBI and following his conscience to defend the country. He coulda just kept his mouth shut, ducked down his head and trudged forward. Today he'd be richer and more influential and the world would be a much different place but his position in it would have been ideal. Instead, he had scruples.

In truth though, Felt's just taking the fall for "Bob" Dobbs. The world will now think the mystery solved, so Dobbs can continue fighting the good fight, an arm's length away from Pat Buchanan's frothing mouth. Thanks Felt!
posted by ZachsMind at 5:37 AM on June 1, 2005


...any bets on how long it'll take for the tv movie to come out?
posted by ZachsMind at 5:56 AM on June 1, 2005


There are many who will paint Felt as a traitor who leaked the information for personal selfish reasons of revenge, as opposed to a man who risked his own liberty and security protecting the incorruptibility of the FBI and following his conscience to defend the country.

And most of them will just be doing it out of bitterness that even with their very own weblogs, they just couldn't bring down a President like those outdated print guys ;)
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 6:18 AM on June 1, 2005


W. Mark Felt Tribute Site here:
http://www.wmarkfeltisdeepthroat.com/
posted by juggernautco at 6:40 AM on June 1, 2005


My wife's grandpa worked in the FBI for 25+ years and apparently knew Felt. He has an awesome history having had a lovely sit down dinner with Timothy Leary as well as investigating MLK (I believe as part of COINTELPRO). It's a shame he won't talk about it - particularly since this morning he mentioned where Jimmy Hoffa was buried. We are trying to get him to open up about some of his activities at the moment.

This morning I realised that he the Kevin Bacon of 20th Century Law Enforcement.
posted by longbaugh at 6:42 AM on June 1, 2005


afroblanca writes "Here's to hoping that the Bushies piss off someone on the inside who has enough integrity to spill the beans at a crucial moment."

What possible beans could they spill? It's not that nothing scandalous will stick to the Bush goverment; it's more that the majority of the american population doesn't seem to care. Unless someone has tape of Bush and Cheney getting busy while planning to disband the military, adopt universal health care, and impose a 100% carbon tax on gas and oil products I can't see them being brought down.
posted by Mitheral at 7:34 AM on June 1, 2005


Tim Russert said this morning on the Today show, "if there's a Deep Throat out there, give us a call." Then Brokaw added, "if you're just a Shallow Throat, give us a call." I don't think they're holding their breath however. What's more disturbing to me is how much the present Bush administration has done with seeming impunity. Although there have been calls for impeachment (see accompanying mefi thread), I don't see anything coming of it.

We won't have a Deep Throat today, which is what I think underlines this recent admission, and makes it more poignant that it's coming out now. If you're an insider to today's White House, chances are your accessibility to perks and your fear of reprisal should you show a backbone would culminate in your making the choice that Felt didn't make. IF there's any dirt under the noticeably dirty surface, chances are blowing the whistle is the last thing on the minds of anyone hip deep in it.
posted by ZachsMind at 9:15 AM on June 1, 2005


Well, it looks like its started.

Liddy and the rest o the gang are slamming Deep Throat. Liddy said it was a violation of law enforcement 'ethics.'

Great to hear about ethics from a guy who orchestrated break ins.
posted by brucec at 9:35 AM on June 1, 2005


I'm waiting for Dick Cheney to say he was 'offended' by Deep Throat.
posted by brucec at 9:36 AM on June 1, 2005


We won't have a Deep Throat today,

There may be a Deep Throat out there. But who would they tell? Fox News? There is no Woodward and Bernstein, or a Ben Bradlee to support them.
posted by brucec at 9:53 AM on June 1, 2005


"We won't have a Deep Throat today"

Speak for yourself.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 10:18 AM on June 1, 2005


The q hacked your account again EB?
posted by longbaugh at 10:29 AM on June 1, 2005


There may be a Deep Throat out there. But who would they tell? Fox News? There is no Woodward and Bernstein, or a Ben Bradlee to support them.

I think that the blogosphere would make a great place for this sort of thing. Who knows- maybe because of this new medium, we're actually more likely to have a "Deep Throat."
posted by afroblanca at 10:46 AM on June 1, 2005


The thought that there are undoubtedly many people out there twenty or thirty years younger than myself, who didn't watch the scandal unfolding at the time, and who are going to listen to Buchanan et al and believe them, and think that DT was disloyal and dishonourable, and after all what was the big deal-- a break in? compared to a war trumped up on lies?-- makes me very very sad. I knew people who became journalists because of Woodward and Bernstein, and because of the idea that the truth carried power and weight. And now people know the truth-- know that the war in Iraq was constructed out of lies and an imperial agenda-- and they don't seem to care. Or they feel too helpless, or too overwhelmed, to care.

I'm beginning to miss the 70s, and if you had had to wear those stupid wideleg pants, you would know to what extremes I am driven in writing that.
posted by jokeefe at 11:11 AM on June 1, 2005


great analysis from Am Street, and wonderful Daily Show segment on it

don't knock the elephant bells, jokeefe! : >
posted by amberglow at 3:23 PM on June 2, 2005


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