Woodward does Washington

Ann Coulter

6/8/2005 12:00:00 AM - Ann Coulter

My only regret is that Mark Felt did not rat out Nixon because he was ticked off about rapprochement with China or detente with the Soviets.

Rather more prosaically, Felt leaked details of the Watergate investigation to the Washington Post only because he had lost a job promotion ? making him the Richard Clarke of the Watergate era. This will come as small consolation to the Cambodians and Vietnamese tortured and slaughtered as a direct result of Nixon's fall. Oh, well. At least we got a good movie and Jimmy Carter out of it.

Still, it must pain liberals to be praising an FBI man who ordered illegal searches of their old pals in the Weather Underground in the early '70s. For those searches, Felt was later prosecuted by the Carter administration.

Ironically, only because of Watergate ? which Felt helped instigate ? could a nitwit like Jimmy Carter ever become president ? a perch from which Carter pardoned draft dodgers and prosecuted Mark Felt. No wonder Felt kept denying he was "Deep Throat."

Also ironic is that Felt's free-love, flower-girl daughter was estranged from her father for decades on account of her rejection of conventional bourgeois institutions like marriage. Now she is broke ? because of her rejection of conventional bourgeois institutions like marriage. (Too bad she didn't follow Pop's advice to "follow the money.")

She lives in a house bought for her by her father (evidently skirting the standard "as long as you live in my house you'll live by my rules" lecture) and said she decided to reveal her father as Deep Throat to try to make some more money. "I'm still a single mom," she explained, "I am not ashamed of this." She ought to be. See, the idea of marriage is to get a man other than your own father to support you while you raise children. (Guess what she does? That's right! She's a teacher!)

At Felt's trial, Nixon gave powerful testimony in Felt's defense. He was convicted anyway. About six months later, Reagan pardoned Felt. Nixon sent Felt a bottle of champagne (which Nixon selected from his now-infamous "Wine List") to celebrate his pardon with a note saying, "Justice ultimately prevails."

All this time, Nixon had suspicions about Felt being Deep Throat. Others may attribute Nixon's kindness toward Felt to Nixon's high principle and class. I prefer to think of it as sadism.

Of course, in Felt's defense, he wasn't Deep Throat. There was no Deep Throat. Now we know.

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.