Deep Throat’s importance is overrated

Mark Felt was little help when it came to the White House ties to the burglary


 

Deep Throat, the parking-garage lurking super-source of the Washington Post’s Watergate investigation, is forever etched in the public imagination, in no small part because of the actor Hal Holbrook’s “goggle-eyed, cotton-mouthed portrayal of him” in the movie All the President’s Men. And the mystique only grew over the decades that the whistleblower remained anonymous, as guessing his identity became a favourite Washington parlour game. But since Mark Felt, a former FBI agent who died last month, revealed himself as Deep Throat a couple of years ago, his status as “the man who brought down the President” has been open to question. This article argues that “this most anonymous of sources was not nearly as important to Woodward and Bernstein’s reporting—or to Nixon’s demise—as we have come to believe.” And on the most important parts of the Watergate story—the White House ties to the burglary and dirty tricks—he was virtually no help at all.

The New Republic


 
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