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« The Ford Files | Main | Cites & Mentions »

11 September 2008

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Donald A. Ritchie

In retrospect, there were many clues pointing to Mark Felt as Bob Woodward's source. In a 1992 Atlantic Monthly article, James Mann asserted that before anyone at the Washington Post used the term "Deep Throat" Woodward talked about his "friend at the FBI." I used this when writing about the FBI as the likely source of the leaks in Reporting from Washington: The History of the Washington Press Corps (Oxford University Press, 2005), which appeared a few months before Felt confessed. The book also quoted Richard Nixon, from a tape on October 15, 1972, saying: "I've always felt the leak is at the FBI." In that conversation, H.R. Haldeman advised Nixon that an attorney working for the Washington Post had privately identified Felt as the leaker, but Nixon concluded that they could not take action against him because Felt knew "everything that's to be known at the FBI," and might reveal it all on network TV. When confronted with these suspicions, Felt insisted that he hadn't "leaked anything to anybody." Woodward rationalized this deception in All The President's Men by describing Deep Throat as someone who confirmed, guided, and explained rather than leaked.

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Washington Decoded