As most people had generally assumed, the shadowy figure who made his first appearance in a late draft of "All the President's Men" was a composite of several sources ? among them, apparently, Mark Felt. But in telling the glorious story of "How The Washington Post Saved America," it was more thrilling to portray Deep Throat as a single mysterious individual, spilling his guts to Bob Woodward.
Now that Woodward and Felt are both claiming Felt was Deep Throat, the jig is up. The fictional Deep Throat knew things Felt could not possibly have known, such as the 18 1/2-minute gap on one of the White House tapes. Only six people knew about the gap when Woodward reported it. All of them worked at the White House. Felt not only didn't work at the White House, but when the story broke, he also didn't even work at the FBI anymore.
Deep Throat was a smoker and heavy drinker, neither of which describes Mark Felt.
Woodward claimed he signaled Deep Throat by moving a red flag in a flowerpot to the back of his balcony and that Deep Throat signaled him by drawing the hands of a clock in Woodward's New York Times.
But in his 1993 book, "Deep Truth: The Lives of Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein," Adrian Havill did something it had occurred to no one else to do: He looked at Woodward's old apartment!
Havill found that Woodward had a sixth-floor interior apartment that could not be seen from the street. Even from the back of the apartment complex, the balcony was too high for any flowerpot to be seen. So unless there was a "second flowerpot," visible from a nearby grassy knoll, the red flag in the flowerpot story is ... well, full of red flags.
In addition, newspapers were not delivered door-to-door in Woodward's apartment building, but were left in a stack in the lobby. Deep Throat could not have known which newspaper Woodward would pick up.
We might have known all this before 1993 if America's ever-vigilant watchdog media had been, say, half as skeptical of Bob Woodward's claims as they were of Juanita Broaddrick's.
In another scene in "All the President's Men," Woodward's sidekick, Carl Bernstein, goes to a porno theater to avoid a subpoena ? and the movie "Deep Throat" happens to be the featured film! Yeah, that's how I ended up seeing "Fahrenheit 9-11." I hate it when that happens.
Havill points out that Washington, D.C., had recently cracked down on porno theaters and "Deep Throat" was not playing in any theater in Washington at the time. (Also the story begins to break down after Bernstein repeats this evasive maneuver for the fifth or sixth time.)
Woodward and Bernstein's former literary agent, David Obst, has always said Deep Throat was a fictional device added to later drafts of "All the President's Men" to spice it up (kind of like everything in a Michael Moore film).
Obst scoffs at the notion that the No. 2 man at the FBI would have time to be skulking around parking lots spying for red flags on a reporter's balcony. "There's not a chance one person was Deep Throat," he told the New York Times.
So it's not really that amazing that the identity of Deep Throat managed to stay secret for so long. I promise you, I will go to my grave without ever disclosing the name of my pet unicorn.