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Printed from https://www.Writing.Com/view/617862
by Rex
Rated: ASR · Essay · History · #617862
An unorthodox theory on the identity of Deep Throat.
THE DEEP THROAT BRIEF
An unorthodox solution to the greatest mystery in American politics.

(This article is the result of a web-based project in which readers around the country were asked to pass on any clues they found on the identity of Deep Throat. If you find a news article or book which provides information not included in this essay, please forward it to me at WJRR@writing.com or post a comment on our blog at http://www.deepthroatblog.blogspot.com )


Historical mysteries are without a doubt the hottest literary genre going today. Tom Clancy's techno-thrillers and John Grisham's legal adventures each had their day in the spotlight, but the current craze in America's bookstores (at least for those of us too old for Harry Potter) is Dan Brown's ANGELS & DEMONS and THE DA VINCI CODE, both of which you can expect to see at your local theater in the not-so-distant future.

Not that I'm complaining, mind you. As both an amateur historian and a mystery buff, I've been devouring these titles right along with everyone else. The idea of solving a puzzle, following the clues and eventually tying up one of the loose ends of history, is to me the most exciting plot imaginable. There is, however, one way to make a book of this type even more fascinating, and that is to find it shelved in the History section. Granted, the story probably won't have as many murders and plot twists, but tales such as Nicholas Clapp's real-life search for a lost city in THE ROAD TO UBAR (in which the clues ranged from 15th century maps to NASA satellite imagery) would give most armchair detectives the urge to go a-sleuthing.

Most of us, however, don't have the time to travel to foreign countries or pore over ancient documents. But that doesn't mean that we have no options. There is one historical mystery in which the basic clues are readily available at the local library, a mystery that Hollywood has already mythologized on screen. The puzzle has been around since the early 1970s and for a time was the most popular "parlor game" in the country. This one question, four simple words, has stumped journalists, politicians, historians, and amateur detectives for over thirty years...

Who was Deep Throat?

Many people just roll their eyes and laugh when they hear the question. So many people have made so many attempts at finding the answer that the mystery has become something of a joke, the assumption being that anyone trying to solve the puzzle is engaged in a wild goose chase and is just wasting their time. Deep Throat sleuths don't have quite the same stigma as the folks chasing after Bigfoot or the Loch Ness monster, but we do have to put up with the occasional smirk.

For those of you too young to remember, or who weren't around at all, Deep Throat was Bob Woodward's secret source of information during the Watergate scandal of the early 1970s. What little we know about him comes from the book ALL THE PRESIDENT'S MEN (ATPM) by Woodward and his fellow reporter at the Washington Post, Carl Bernstein, but the general public's image of Deep Throat comes mainly from Hal Holbrook's portrayal in the movie version. Woodward and Throat had numerous meetings in a Washington area garage, usually in the middle of the night, in which Throat provided enough inside information to keep the Post reporters on the right track. The end result, of course, was the resignation of President Nixon and prison sentences for numerous government officials. Deep Throat has never come forward, and Woodward has vowed to keep his identity secret until Throat dies.

There have been two recent attempts to identify Deep Throat. The best known is a project at the University of Illinois where Prof. William Gaines has a group of journalism students digging through old records trying to determine who knew what and when. The other is a personal effort by John Dean, Nixon's former lawyer, who believes that his experience and contacts with those involved gives him an edge over other investigators. A similar attempt was made a few years ago by Leonard Garment, another Nixon lawyer, who published a book titled IN SEARCH OF DEEP THROAT. Each of these endeavors arrived at different conclusions using different methods, but none has provided a "final" answer to this puzzle - Dean's book UNMASKING DEEP THROAT eventually settled on four possible suspects, Prof. Gaines's suspect was in South America on a day when Deep Throat was in Washington, and Woodward publicly stated that Garment's conclusion was wrong.

In my opinion, each of these attempts overlooked at least one of what I consider to be the two most important clues of all. Besides Woodward and Bernstein, the only other person who knows Deep Throat's identity is Ben Bradlee, their editor during Watergate. Both of these clues are quotes from Mr. Bradlee. The first, which has come to be called the Bradlee Riddle, will be explained later. The other is basically an I-know-something-you-don't taunt that Bradlee has said numerous times when someone asks him about Deep Throat. Bradlee says that he is amazed that Deep Throat's secret has lasted this long, and he predicts that when the answer is finally revealed everyone will be saying "Why didn't I think of that?" The implication here is that the answer is staring us in the face, and anyone with a copy of ATPM and a basic knowledge of the suspects has all the information they need.

It was this implication that sent me on my own Deep Throat hunt and a solution which, though unorthodox, seems to fit every clue and answer every question. The information I used was obtained mainly from ATPM and it's sequel THE FINAL DAYS, the three projects mentioned above, various books by and about the Watergate participants, and numerous "volunteers" around the country who provided some very useful suggestions. The time required was nothing compared to the other attempts, and the only real academic research was an afternoon spent at a college library making copies of the Washington Post's Watergate articles. But Bradlee's comments suggest that this should be all that is needed, and now I think I know exactly what he meant!

I think that the reason no one has solved the Deep Throat mystery is that they have been operating on a set of wrong assumptions. On page 294 of John Dean's book LOST HONOR he talks about a source telling him that "Woodward told several of us, when he was working on his book, that he had deliberately disguised the presentation of Deep Throat to throw people off the track." And the October 2, 2002 edition of the Daily Pennsylvanian carried the following quote from Woodward on Deep Throat: "It's a man, he's alive. The story will be told at one time. It's a fascinating story. It's obvious if you know the answer, but not obvious if you don't." Leonard Garment, Nixon's lawyer, even made the following blunt statement after reading Woodward's book SHADOW: "What Woodward wrote had a concrete basis in reality, but it might not always be the basis that a natural reading of the language would suggest." These quotes strongly suggest that Woodward and Bernstein have somehow misled their readers into a false assumption with regard to Deep Throat's identity, and one possibility comes to mind when we take a look at what John Dean calls the Bradlee Riddle.

Ben Bradlee is the only known person besides Woodward and Bernstein who knows Deep Throat's identity. Consider the following quote from an unnamed source at The Washington Post on page 43 of John Dean's UNMASKING DEEP THROAT:

"Apparently Ben (Bradlee) believes that if someone looked at who had access to the information, and then looked at who was out of town on the dates in question, that alone would resolve it."

That alone would resolve it? How? Did Ben Bradlee make a list of all the suspects, conduct a detailed investigation into the travel schedules of each suspect between October 1972 and November 1973, and discover that Deep Throat was the only one on the list who was present in Washington on all of the required dates? This kind of investigation has already removed some names such as Alexander Haig and Henry Kissinger. But all of them except Deep Throat? And why would Bradlee do this kind of research if he already knew Deep Throat's identity? What would be the point of such an exercise?

My friends and I have looked at the Bradlee Riddle from every angle we can imagine. In our view Deep Throat's travel schedule must have been unique in itself, not just in comparison to the other suspects. And the only answer we can see is that Deep Throat must have been someone who wasn't normally in Washington during the time frame in question.

Think about it. You find a suspect who may have had access to the required information - but he was living in, say, California during the months in question. You'd probably consider this a strong alibi. But later you learn that this suspect just happened to be in Washington on all of the required dates. Case closed, right? If the Bradlee Riddle is a valid clue, it just might give us the basis for what Thomas Kuhn called a paradigm shift, a compeletely different way of looking at a problem.

Let's compare this conclusion to an observation made by Barry Sussman, Woodward's boss during Watergate, on page 116 of his book THE GREAT COVER-UP:

"Deep Throat seemed to know everything about Watergate, but he seldom volunteered information. Woodward could never count on seeing him at any given time, and they seldom met at all."

Woodward certainly doesn't give his readers this impression in ALL THE PRESIDENT'S MEN. He clearly wants the readers to believe that he could arrange a meeting with Deep Throat just by putting the flower pot signal on his balcony. But I think Woodward had to know in advance when his contact was in town.

With this in mind, one candidate immediately stands out - Ben Stein. Stein was named as a suspect in the May 3 1976 edition of TIME magazine. His father, Herb Stein, was the Chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers in the Nixon administration, which made him a high-ranking official in the White House. Ben himself became a speechwriter for Nixon in November of 1973, but he was living in Santa Cruz, California, for at least part of the time that Deep Throat was meeting with Woodward. This seems like a strong alibi, but let's keep the Bradlee Riddle in mind as we take a closer look at Ben.

"(Ludwig Wittgenstein) believed that our ordinary daily language is slapdash and that attending to the hidden structure of language will enable us to solve problems."
-David Edmonds and John Eidnow, WITTGENSTEIN'S POKER

Wittgenstein usually applied his ideas on liguistics to philosophical issues, but I think they can be of use in solving this puzzle. Consider the following passage from ALL THE PRESIDENT'S MEN:

"Deep Throat was already there, smoking a cigarette. He was glad to see Woodward, shook his hand. Woodward told him that he and Bernstein needed help, really needed help on this one. His friendship with Deep Throat was genuine, not cultivated. Long before Watergate, they had spent many evenings talking about Washington, the government, power."

This passage has been the basis for what has been assumed to be the most fundamental clue of the mystery - that Woodward and DT had been friends long before Watergate. But is this clearly stated in the above paragraph? Read it again carefully. Does the word "his" in the fourth sentence refer to Woodward? Could it refer instead to Bernstein, whose name appears in the preceding sentence? Does "they" refer to Woodward and DT? Or to Bernstein and DT? Before answering, consider this: Ben Stein and Carl Bernstein grew up literally next door to each other in Montgomery County, Maryland. Ben's father was an economist and active Republican. Carl's parents were self-professed Communists who went through some difficult years during the 50s and 60s. And yet these two were best friends and remain close today. They certainly spent many evenings talking about "Washington, the government, power" over the years. Many people feel that Deep Throat must be a composite character created by Woodward to protect various sources. Wouldn't it be interesting if the opposite were true - if Woodward disguised himself in ALL THE PRESIDENT'S MEN by making the readers assume that he had known DT for many years, in effect making himself into a composite character. For years people have been trying to connect Woodward to various Deep Throat suspects by investigating his years at Yale, in the Navy, etc. with no results. I think they've been barking up the wrong tree. And it wouldn't have been the first time that Woodward played tricks like this on his readers. On page 26 of Adrian Havill's DEEP TRUTH he describes a novel Woodward wrote during his college years. It was never published, but the manuscript still seems to be floating around. In the final chapter the reader learns that the four major characters are actually a single individual. Woodward seems to have a taste for these little games.

If you're not convinced, check out the following transcript from a 1989 interview with Woodward (the entire conversation is available at www.nixonera.com). Robert Gettlin can't understand why Woodward won't confirm something that seems to be clearly stated in ALL THE PRESIDENT'S MEN.

GETTLIN: ....The question has to be asked. Why did Deep Throat or whoever this person or persons were, pick you as someone, or trust you enough to, to give you this information. You mention in your book that he was a friend from way back.
WOODWARD: But, see, you --
GETTLIN: Uh --
WOODWARD: --you were, you were, uh, just --
GETTLIN: Well, maybe you can answer that question. I don't know. Can you answer that question why?
WOODWARD: I think in, in part, and I think you are again walking away and I, I, continually wanna drive you back to the record.
.
.
GETTLIN: Um-hmm. Now the book says the relationship went way back. As an old friend, um -
WOODWARD: I'll repeat, it says what it says.
GETTLIN: Yeah. Well it --
WOODWARD: You've a little bit mis-characterized it.
GETTLIN: Well, I'm sorry but I, I mean I think, I mean I'll thumb through the book, but --
WOODWARD: Look, look, look, look --
GETTLIN: --okay it says, there is a passage in there, and I can't quote it verbatim, which says that you sat down and had meetings with him. You talked about power and government. I mean it wasn't a guy that, that was just a casual acquaintance. Now - -
WOODWARD: The, the record speaks for itself.
GETTLIN: Let me ask you a direct question.
WOODWARD: Sure.
GETTLIN: Did you meet this gentleman before you became a reporter?
WOODWARD: I'm just not gonna get into anything that's not in the book.

You have to feel some sympathy for Woodward here. He wants to respond to the question without lying, but if he answers truthfully he'll have given away a major clue to Deep Throat's identity. He deserves a lot of credit for having walked this fine line all these years.

Mind you, I'm not saying that Woodward and DT did not know each other before Watergate, just that their relationship did not go back as far as Woodward leads us to believe. Woodward does state that Deep Throat had been an occasional source before Watergate. Woodward left the Navy in 1970 and spent six months as a junior reporter at the Washington Post and then one year at the Montgomery County Sentinel (remember, Montgomery county is the same county that Ben Stein and Carl Bernstein grew up in) before rejoining the Post in September 1971. John Dean has looked over the articles Woodward wrote for the Sentinel and found one that seems odd for a local paper. In July of 1971 Woodward published an article entitled "FTC Looking At Advertising Claims of Low-Pollution Gas." Ben Stein was working at the FTC at the time. His office handled false and misleading advertising claims. Could this be one example of Deep Throat providing pre-Watergate help to Woodward?

Now let's go back to Bernstein. There are numerous situations where Bernstein seems to be more protective of Deep Throat than Woodward is, which seems strange if DT is an old friend of Woodward's. Here are a few examples-

1. On page 191 of ALL THE PRESIDENT'S MEN Woodward, Bernstein, and Ben Bradlee are discussing the possibility that Deep Throat and others may have fed them false information in order to sabotage their efforts. Woodward says that if that's the case, then they are free to name their sources publicly. Bernstein argues against this, and when Bradlee decides against naming their sources Bernstein feels "relieved."

2. There's a scene in John Dean's LOST HONOR (page 33) where Woodward, Bernstein, and Dean are having a post-Watergate dinner together at a Chinese restaurant with other guests. Woodward and Dean get into a discussion about the Post's sources during Watergate, particularly Deep Throat. They begin to discuss the ground rules for a guessing game on the subject when Bernstein steps in and puts an end to the discussion.

3. The original manuscript for ALL THE PRESIDENT'S MEN has a note from Bernstein to Woodward, which will be described in detail later in this article, stating that one section of the book describing Deep Throat might be giving away too much information on his identity. This section was removed from the final text.

Doesn't all this seem odd? Shouldn't Woodward be more concerned than Bernstein about protecting Deep Throat? This trend continues up to the present. When news organizations began covering Prof. Gaines and his students' efforts to identify Deep Throat, Woodward seemed to find it amusing. Bernstein, however, was quoted in numerous articles harshly criticizing the project.

Now let's examine an interesting link between Ben Stein and Don Segretti, the California lawyer who ran some of the CRP (Committee to Re-Elect the President) operations against the Democrats. On page 114 of ALL THE PRESIDENT'S MEN Bernstein has a conversation with a lawyer named Alex Shipley. Shipley had served in the same Army unit as Don Segretti. Shipley explains to Bernstein that after leaving the Army he had been approached by Segretti who offered him a position on his CRP team. Shipley thought this was strange since Segretti knew he was a life-long Democrat, but Segretti explained that they (the Republicans) could help his career if Nixon stayed in office. Segretti also asked him to provide the names of five people that he could contact who might be willing to join his operation, and he stressed that the people should be fairly free to travel and that he would prefer to hire lawyers because "he didn't want to do anything illegal." (I think it's important to point out that Segretti's operation focused on basic intelligence-gathering and college-style pranks, and should not be confused with the Hunt-Liddy goon squad which was caught breaking into the Watergate building.) On page 118 we read about another of Segretti's old Army buddies named Paul Bible, who grew up "next door to the Bernstein family in Silver Springs, Maryland," which makes him a former neighbor of Ben Stein as well !

There's no mention of Segretti making a similar pitch to Paul Bible, but it seems reasonable to assume that he would since Bible, too, was a former Army buddy. In fact, ATPM states that Segretti made this offer to three other ex-Army pals besides Shipley - Peter Dixon, Roger Nixt, and Kenneth Griffiths. If he had asked Bible for names of potential recruits he probably would have gotten a response similar to this -

"Gee Don, I can think of one guy right off the bat. We've been friends since we were kids. He's a lawyer, and his dad actually works for Nixon at the White House. His name's Ben Stein."

(Important note - There's no mention of Segretti's Army buddies ever accepting his offer to join the CRP. There's also no metion of what names they may have passed on to him as potential recruits. ALL THE PRESIDENT'S MEN states that the CRP employed about 50 undercover operatives in 4 different groups. A handful of CRP undercover agents were discovered later, but as far as I know none of those identified worked for the Segretti team.)

Also, if Ben Stein was Deep Throat he had to travel between California and Washington DC a lot. Segretti's travel records show that he traveled extensively around the country, especially to Washington, while living in California. It's not unreasonable to assume that Deep Throat, if he was in the CRP, did the same.

(Interesting note - Segretti claimed in a February 2005 interview with NBC4 TV-Los Angeles that he knew Deep Throat's identity. There's no way to confirm this, of course, but if our theory is right it would be almost impossible for him not to know. Thanks to Tony for passing on this item.)

But did Ben Stein have enough free time to travel around the country as a CRP field agent. It would seem that he did. The author asked someone in California to investigate Stein's time as a teacher at UCSC. She found almost nothing - no records at the personnel office, nothing in the class schedules listing a "Stein" as an instructor, nothing in the yearbooks, etc. She DID, however, find one professor who had just started teaching at UCSC in the early 70s and remembered Ben Stein. I sent him an e-mail to get some details and received the following reply:

"Ben Stein was a lecturer at UCSC, probably for just one academic quarter, sometime in the period between September 1972 an June 1974. As a courtesy to a visitor, my wife and I invited him to stop by for some coffee late one afternoon and we talked for an hour or so."

Ben Stein has often said that he was living and working in California for part of the time that Woodward and DT were meeting, therefore he couldn't be Deep Throat. But the "guest lecturer" job doesn't sound like a position which required a lot of time. Stein himself described it as a series of lectures on how to watch movies (?) - and I'm sure most college graduates remember these one-evening-a-week "classes" which focus more on personal interests than real academics. I think Stein had plenty of time to spend on other activities.

(Interesting note - Herb Kalmbach also lived in California. He was Nixon's lawyer and fund-raiser who financed and managed Segretti's activities. It seems that there was a lot of CRP activity in California.)

This brings up another interesting discrepancy between Woodward's and Bernstein's ALL THE PRESIDENT'S MEN and Sussman's THE GREAT COVER-UP. The following quote appears on page 132 of ATPM:

"But he (Deep Throat) would not talk specifically about Segretti's operation. Woodward could not understand why."

Sussman, however, gives a very different version on page 111 of his book:

"And sometimes, at moments when Deep Throat was particularly angry, he gave more than just general assistance, as he did when Woodward asked him about Donald Segretti."

This makes me wonder if DT was somehow close to Segretti and worried that investigators might find a link between the two of them. Did Woodward feel that it was necessary to provide cover for his source with regard to Segretti?

Now take a look at Deep Throat's comments on page 131 of ALL THE PRESIDENT'S MEN. He obviously knows a great deal about the CRP's activities around the country, but one comment stands out in my opinion. DT tells Woodward to "please be balanced and send out people to check everything, because a lot of the (CRP) intelligence-gathering was routine." Does DT seem a little defensive here, almost as if he were saying that the activities he and/or his friends participated in were strictly legal and above-board?

Deep Throat also seems to employ the same "cloak-and-dagger" methods used by the CRP's agents. On page 263 of ATPM we learn from Craig Hillegrass about the CRP's field tactics:

"Ted (Brill) said he once was told to meet a woman in a red dress with a white carnation, carrying a newspaper. He exchanged his written report for an envelope containing his pay. Another time, Ted told me, he went to a bookstore on the corner of 17th and Pennsylvania (Avenue) and was handed a book by someone with his pay in the book."

Doesn't this sound a lot like Deep Throat's tactics with the flower pot signals, newspaper messages, garage meetings, etc.

Now let's compare two interesting quotes. This one appeared in the Washington Post, May 17, 1973.

""Watergate was a natural action that came from long-existing circumstances," one high-level participant in many of the undercover activities observed. He added: "It grew out of an atmosphere. This way of life was not new... " According to this source, the activities were aimed at whatever individuals or groups the White House perceived as a threat at any given moment. "First, it was radicals," he said," then it was reporters and leaking White House aides, then the Democrats.""

The following quote is from ALL THE PRESIDENT'S MEN, p. 270-271.

""Watergate was nothing new to the administration," Deep Throat continued" ..."In 1969, the first targets of agressive wiretapping were the reporters and those in the administration who were suspected of disloyalty," Deep Throat said. "Then the emphasis was shifted to the radical poiltical opposition during the anti-war protests. When it got near election time, it was only natural to tap the Democrats.""

Wouldn't you say that these two statements are remarkably similar? If they came from the same source, then DT was a "participant in many of the undercover activities" carried out by the CRP.

If Deep Throat did have a role in the CRP it might explain what I consider to be an odd gap in the Woodward-DT meetings. In October of 1972 Woodward meets Deep Throat three times in the underground garage. Then there is a two month gap. The next meeting isn't until late December around the Christmas-New Year holidays. Why did this series of meetings suddenly stop at the end of October? Could it have something to do with the fact that the CRP was disbanded in November? Nixon was re-elected on the first Tuesday in November 1972 - no more election, no more CRP. I think it's possible that the CRP gave Deep Throat a reason to be in Washington. I also wonder if Deep Throat was using the same CRP funds that Segretti was using to pay for travel expenses, funds that would no longer be available after Nixon's re-election.

This part of the theory looks even better when you compare it to some information I received from a fellow named Alan. He pointed me to a book called RIGHT FROM THE START: A Chronicle of the McGovern Campaign by Gary Hart. The McGovern campaign's day-by-day schedule from September to November 1972 is listed on the inside cover, and an interesting pattern emerges when you compare these dates to the Woodward/Deep Throat meetings. Take a look at the October dates -

McGovern Campaign Schedule - October 1972

Oct. 2 Washington DC
Oct. 2 Newark, New Jersey
Oct. 3 New York, New York
Oct. 3 Boston, Massachusetts
Oct. 3 Niagara Falls, New York
Oct. 4 Buffalo, New York
Oct. 4 New York, New York
Oct. 5 Cleveland, Ohio
Oct. 5 Chicago, Illinois
Oct. 6 Des Moines, Iowa
Oct. 6 Kansas City, Missouri
Oct. 7 St. Louis, Missouri
Oct. 7 Baltimore, Maryland

(Woodward has phone conversation
with Deep Throat on Oct. 8)

Oct. 9 Washington, D.C.

(Woodward meets with Deep Throat from 1:30 am to 6:00 am on Oct. 9)

Oct. 9 New York, New York
Oct. 9 Detroit, Michigan
Oct. 10 Battle Creek, Michigan
Oct. 10 Chicago, Illinois
Oct. 11 Erie, Pennsylvania
Oct. 11 Boston, Massachusetts
Oct. 12 Minneapolis, Minnesota
Oct. 12 Fargo, North Dakota
Oct. 12 Seattle, Washington
Oct. 13 Portland, Oregon
Oct. 13 San Francisco, California
Oct. 13 San Diego, California
Oct. 14 Los Angeles, California
Oct. 16 Austin, Texas
Oct. 16 Houston, Texas
Oct. 16 San Antonio, Texas
Oct. 17 Ft. Worth, Texas
Oct. 17 Washington D.C.
Oct. 18 Detroit, Michigan
Oct. 18 Cleveland, Ohio
Oct. 18 Toledo, Ohio
Oct. 19 Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Oct. 19 New York, New York
Oct. 19 Washington, D.C.

(Woodward uses flower pot signal to request meeting on Oct. 19, Deep Throat misses meeting)

Oct. 20 New York, New York
Oct. 21 Scranton, Pennsylvania
Oct. 21 Allentown, Pennsylvania
Oct. 21 Reading, Pennsylvania
Oct. 21 Johnstown, Pennsylvania
Oct. 21 Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Oct. 21 Washington, D.C.

(Woodward receives message in NEW YORK TIMES on Oct 21 requesting meeting, meets with Deep Throat at 3:00 am on Oct. 22)

Oct. 23 Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Oct. 23 New York, New York
Oct. 24 Dayton, Ohio
Oct. 24 Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Oct. 25 Cleveland, Ohio
Oct. 25 Detroit, Michigan
Oct. 26 Cedar Rapids, Iowa
Oct. 26 Sacramento, California
Oct. 26 Los Angeles, California

(Woodward meets with Deep Throat at 3:00 am on Oct. 27 - a day with no McGovern events, McGovern campaign returns to Washington/Baltimore area the next day-Oct. 28)

Oct. 28 San Diego, California
Oct. 28 Spokane, Washington
Oct. 28 Seattle, Washington
Oct. 28 Baltimore, Maryland
Oct. 29 Washington, D.C.
Oct. 29 Hartford, Connecticut
Oct. 30 Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Oct. 31 Syracuse, New York
Oct. 31 Newark, New Jersey

I can't see how this could possibly be the result of pure chance. The Woodward/DT meetings must be somehow connected to the McGovern campaign schedule! Not only does it provide a solution to the Bradlee Riddle, it also explains Barry Sussman's comment that Woodward could not count on seeing Throat at any given time.

Also, Woodward cut short a vacation to return to Washington on Oct. 8 and meet with Deep Throat after a phone conversation with Bernstein and Sussman. This explains why he wanted to come home early. The McGovern campaign was leaving Washington the following day and Woodward wouldn't get another chance at a meeting for over a week.

Also notice that Woodward tried to signal Throat for a meeting on Oct. 19, a day when McGovern was in Washington. He probably assumed Throat would be in town as well. The meetings resume on McGovern's next stop in Washington on Oct. 21/22.

This same pattern applies for the phone calls between Throat and Woodward in September. McGovern's schedule is every bit as varied and hectic as the one above for October. His first stop in Washington is on Sept 16 and he leaves for West Virginia the next day. He doesn't come back to Washington until Sept. 26. Woodward calls Deep Throat on Sept. 16 and 17.

Now let's take a look at Woodward's descriptions of Deep Throat in ALL THE PRESIDENT'S MEN.

1. John Dean believes that DT could be a lawyer since he uses terms like "non-corroborative testimony" and describes the legal strategy used by prosecutors to unravel a conspiracy. Mr. Dean is a lawyer himself, so I assume he knows what he's talking about. Ben Stein also happens to be a lawyer. He graduated valedictorian of his class at Yale, the same college Woodward attended.

2. DT is descibed in ATPM as knowing "too much literature too well." Ben Stein would certainly fit this description, as anyone who's watched WIN BEN STEIN'S MONEY can tell you.

3. During one of Woodward's late night meetings with DT he describes how they both sat on the floor of the underground garage talking about Watergate. This strongly suggests that DT was in his 20's or 30s. Can anyone picture a middle-aged man like Patrick Gray (acting FBI Director during Watergate and popular Deep Throat suspect) sitting on the concrete floor of an underground garage in the middle of the night? Stein was in his late 20s in 1972, just like Woodward and Bernstein.

4. Woodward freely admits that, while DT was an excellent source, he was often wrong. He descriibes DT's information as "an aggregate of hard information flowing in and out of many stations." Many people, Howard Hunt among them, have stated that DT must be a composite character since no one person had access to all that DT knew. But Woodward also describes DT as "an incurable gossip," which leads me to think that he had informal sources of information. Ben's father would have been an excellent conduit for second- or third-hand gossip floating around the White House. For example, many of Woodward's coworkers believe that DT was his source for information regarding the Wallace shooting a few weeks before Watergate. According to John Dean, this information (along with other sensitive details from FBI reports) was often discussed during the morning senior staff meetings at the White House because of their political implications. Herb Stein attended these meetings every morning.

5. Mr. Dean found the following description of DT in the original manuscript for ALL THE PRESIDENT'S MEN:

"He was perhaps the only person in the government in a position to possibly understand the whole scheme and not be a potential conspirator himself."

In the margin next to this description (which was not included in published editions of ATPM) is the following note from Carl Bernstein - "Bob, too close on ID of Throat here?" Woodward and Bernstein wrote ATPM during the last few months of 1973 and turned in the manuscript in the Spring of 1974. Stein became a White House speechwriter in November of 1973, but it's clear in THE FINAL DAYS (Woodward and Bernstein's account of the last months of the Nixon administration) that Stein also provided legal advice with regard to Watergate. Consider the following two quotes from TFD:

page 139 - "Stein had worked too long on the defense to take the lawyers or Clawson seriously."

page 339 - "McCahill and Stein worked all day under Price developing the defense against Article One - obstruction of justice."

It's important to keep that last quote in mind. It wasn't the Watergate burglary itself that drove Nixon from office - it was the attempts by him and his staff to cover up their connections to the burglars. Most of these efforts at "obstruction of justice" took place just after the burglary in June of 1972. Stein didn't become a White House employee until November 1973, but according to the records at the National Archives he was "detailed" to the White House on March 17, 1973. I sent a follow-up e-mail asking what "detailed" meant and was told that "you're being paid by one entity, but you are assigned to work in another." The archivist who helped me believed that Stein's salary was being paid by the FTC (though that was just a guess) but couldn't tell me what duties Stein was performing for the White House during this period. However, Len Garment said in his book CRAZY RHYTHM that during the Spring of 1973 they brought in some assistant U.S. attorneys to help them with Nixon's legal defense. If our theory is right - if Stein was Deep Throat and had been passing information to Woodward while working for the CRP - wouldn't this make him one of the few people in government "in a postion to possibly understand the whole scheme and not be a potential conspirator himself", especially if he was actively working on Nixon's defense?

6. Woodward also provided an interesting clue to Leonard Garment during an interview for Garment's book CRAZY RHYTHM. On page 249 Woodward states that "Deep Throat's public role and public persona had changed radically since Watergate days." Think about it. Could anyone picture the Deep Throat in ALL THE PRESIDENT'S MEN becoming a comedian - playing roles in "Feris Bueller's Day Off," "The Wonder Years," "Tales From the Crypt," and eventually becoming a game-show host?

"For each particular thing ask 'What is it in itself - what is it's nature?'"
-Marcus Aurelius, MEDITATIONS

Let's pause here to compare Ben to one of the most popular suspects - Pat Buchanan, at the time one of Nixon's speechwriters. Some people think that the above description of Deep Throat being "perhaps the only person in government in a postion to understand the whole scheme and not be a potential conspirator himself" could refer to someone in the Speechwriting or Press Secretary's department since they had very few duties outside of public relations and therefore would be unlikely to have a role in the conspiracy. But why would any one of these numerous employees stand out as "the only person...." Why not David Gergen, Ray Price, or Ron Ziegler. These theorists also think Buchanan might have been so mad about Nixon's warming relations with Communist China that he decided to leak damaging information to the press. But Woodward described DT as being upset about the "switchblade mentality" and lack of morals in the Nixon administration. I don't mean to be insulting, but I can't picture Buchanan having any ethical issues about serving in this rough-and-tumble environment. Marcus Aurelius would almost certainly give a thumbs down to this theory. It just doesn't fit Buchanan's nature.

This doesn't mean, however, that Buchanan couldn't be one of Deep Throat's sources of information. Professor Gaines's class at the University of Illinois points out that Buchanan was one of the few people who could have learned about the April 26 1973 New York Daily News article (ATPM pages 305-6) as quickly as Deep Throat did. But remember that Stein was working on some kind of project at the White House during this time. Add this to the fact that his dad was a close Nixon adviser and it seems likely that the PR people at the White House would feel comfortable talking with him. Another interesting coincidence - Ben Stein's parents were Buchanan's neighbor's. They lived right next to the famous DNC headquarters where the Watergate burglary took place. It seems likely that Buchanan and Stein could have had a close relationship during this time, especially when you consider the fact that Buchanan (along with David Gergen) eventually helped Stein obtain his position as a Nixon speechwriter.

But what about motive? If Ben Stein was a Nixon supporter, why would he engineer Nixon's downfall. I don't think that was his intention. I think people have confused motive with result. The Deep Throat in ALL THE PRESIDENT'S MEN never says anything negative about Nixon. His animosity seems to be directed toward Mitchell, Liddy and the other White House staffers involved in illegal activities. Remember that Nixon himself was furious when he heard about the break-in and couldn't believe that anyone on their staff could be so stupid. His problems didn't really begin until he started covering up the mess. Len Garment also pointed out in CRAZY RHYTHM that he and some of the other people at the White House tried to get Nixon to put an end to the scandal by firing Haldeman, Ehrlichman, etc and then apologizing to the nation. They didn't realize that Nixon was already neck-deep in the cover-up and was desperately trying to save everybody's jobs, incluing his own. Instead, they thought Nixon was showing misplaced loyalty to his staff. I think Deep Throat was trying to force Nixon to clean house before the scandal wrecked his presidency, unaware that it was already too late.

Now let's take a look at some interesting parallels between Deep Throat and Ben Stein. The following is from John Dean's UNMASKING DEEP THROAT:

"As Watergate developed from an annoying political problem for the CRP during the 1972 campaign to a political nightmare for the Nixon White House by the Spring of 1973 - forcing the president to call for the resignation of his chief of staff, Bob Haldeman; his top domestic affairs adviser, John Ehrlichman; and yours truly, White House counsel, on April 30, 1973 - the number of people with the inside information that Deep Throat related to Woodward gets so small that it is highly telling. The conversations from April 1973 until the last conversation during the first week of November are the most revealing."

Ben Stein moved from California back to Washington DC in the first few months of 1973 and, though he wasn't actually on the White House payroll, began working for the Nixon administration . Four interesting coincidences take place at about the same time.

1. In March, Woodward and DT met at about 11:00 pm in a bar outside Washington DC. DT felt that neither his nor Woodward's friends would be likely to visit this "sleepy, dark bar" so they could afford to relax on this occasion. However, all of the other pre-April meetings took place after 2:00 am in an underground garage. But this changes after Ben moves back to Washington. For some reason Deep Throat decided to start scheduling the garage meetings at 11:00 pm. Why does DT seem more interested in getting a good night's sleep now? Is it because he's no longer trying to keep his body clock on Pacific time and has to do the 9 to 5 routine the next day?

2. Deep Throat is first described as a source in the Executive Branch in a May 3 1973 article in the Washington Post. Before this, he is refered to as "a source close to the investigation" or some other vague term (actually, there are a couple of April 1973 articles with quotes from the Executive Branch which may or may not have come from Deep Throat, but the May 3 article is the first one which clearly labels DT as an Executive source). The FTC is a part of the Executive Branch, and Ben Stein was (officially at least) an FTC employee at the time. And keep in mind that Stein was "detailed" to the White House in March of 1973. Could this be another example of Woodward and Bernstein trying to mislead readers in order to protect their source?

3. Woodward notices a drastic change in Deep Throat during their first post-April meeting on May 16. He is extremely nervous and the information he passes on to Woodward is alarmist to say the least. If I'm right, Stein's sources of information while living in California would have been lower level folks like Segretti, and John Dean makes it clear that many people in the CRP had the information that DT provided to Woodward before April. But Dean feels that the information passed on after April was known to far fewer people. When Stein moved back to Washington he began to spend time with David Gergen and Pat Buchanan, the two Nixon speechwriters (and popular Deep Throat suspects)who eventually helped him get his job at the White House. These two are also known to have been "in the know" about what was going on at the White House with regard to Watergate. The details Deep Throat provided to Woodward after April could easily have come from Gergen and Buchanan, and it definitely would have made me nervous.

4. Woodward moved to a new apartment a few weeks before Ben moved back to Washington. He doesn't tell us the exact date of the move, but he does mention on page 243 of ATPM that he told Deep Throat about his upcoming change of address in late December of 1972, so we can assume that he moved into his new place around January of 1973. His new apartment was at 901 6th Street, a little over half a mile due south of the FTC building - the same building that Ben Stein began working at a few weeks later. A lot of people have commented that it would have been difficult for Deep Throat's flower pot and newspaper signals to have worked at Woodward's old address - the doors to the building were locked, the balcony of Woodward's apartment couldn't be easily seen from the ground below, etc. But nobody has said these methods wouldn't have worked at the new apartment. I've never seen either building so I can't comment, but it's seems clear that it would have been easy for Ben Stein to have checked Woodward's apartment every day for signals.

Now for November. Woodward strongly implies that he met DT during the first week of November 1973. He talks about moving the flower pot and going to the underground garage. He also mentions DT's message about the Nixon tapes having suspicious erasures. But there's no mention of an actual meeting. Woodward is being intentionally vague here for some reason. This is the same month that Ben Stein officially joined the White House staff. Is Woodward playing word games again to protect his source? Could it be that Bernstein was the one who met with Deep Throat that month?

"An educated person does not promote people on account of what they say, nor ignore what is said because of who is saying it."
-Confucius, THE ANALECTS

What follows will remind many of you of the Paul-McCartney-is-dead theory from the 70s. For those of you who feel that the preceeding paragraphs might provide some useful insight to the Deep Throat puzzle, please keep Confucius's advice in mind while reading the rest of this article. Remember, being crazy doesn't mean that I'm wrong!

1. Ben Stein published a book recently entitled HOW TO RUIN YOUR LIFE. Look at the cover. It has a photograph of a rather grim-faced Ben in his younger days. Notice the color scheme of the picture. The only colors on the whole page are black, gray, and washed-out blue. Doesn't Ben look strikingly similar to Hal Holbrook's Deep Throat in the movie ALL THE PRESIDENT'S MEN? Remember, all DT's scenes in the movie take place at night in the garage, and our only image of Deep Throat is a shadowy black, blue, and gray character bathed in fluorescent light. Don't believe me? Buy the book, rent a copy of ALL THE PRESIDENT'S MEN and judge for yourself.

2. Ben made a brief appearance on Wolf Blitzer's program on the 30-year anniversary of the Watergate break-in. His appearance was very short, just long enough to state that he was absolutely sure that there was no Deep Throat. The very next guest on the program was Bob Woodward. I think Ben got a real kick out of that!

3. Ben made one other appearance during the 30-year anniversary. He was on the cover of the July edition of Inc. magazine, which was on sale in June. This time Ben is sitting in a barber's chair at the Watergate complex! The whole country was talking about Nixon, Deep Throat, etc. and there's Ben on the cover of a national magazine with the word "Watergate" right next to that big, silly smile!

Okay, that's enough. I've given you a combination of facts, insights, and (I admit) weird theories to ponder. Now it's time to make up your own minds. I may not have the final answer to this mystery, but I'm convinced that whoever finally solves this puzzle is going to do so by coming up with an original way of looking at the situation, not by following the same trails that so many others have already traveled. I suggest that the Watergate buffs who continue to search for Deep Throat's identity adopt the same motto that Immanuel Kant suggested for the Enlightenment:

HAVE THE COURAGE TO USE YOUR OWN INTELLIGENCE!

(Any criticism, comments, feedback etc. on this article can be sent to wjrr@writing.com, and if you know of any clues we've missed please let me know!)
© Copyright 2003 Rex (wjrr at Writing.Com). All rights reserved.
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