John McCaslin

Who in Washington isn't discussing "Deep Throat," the formerly anonymous Watergate informant to reporters Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein?

Actually, in this column in May 2002, Ronald Kessler, a former investigative reporter for The Washington Post who left the newspaper in 1985, all but beat Vanity Fair to the punch of disclosing that "Deep Throat" was former FBI Associate Director W. Mark Felt.

A New York Times best-selling author of more than a dozen nonfiction books, Kessler, in advance of his publication of "The Bureau: The Secret History of the FBI," revealed that Woodward made a mysterious visit to Mr. Felt's house more than five years ago.

"(I)n the summer of 1999, Woodward showed up unexpectedly at the home of Felt's daughter, Joan, in Santa Rosa, Calif., north of San Francisco, and took (Felt) to lunch, Joan Felt, who was taking care of him at her home, told me," the author recalled.

"Woodward had been interviewing former FBI officials for a book he was writing on Watergate," Kessler noted. "However, now confused because of the effects of a stroke, Felt was in no shape to provide credible information.

"Joan said her father greeted Woodward like an old friend, and their mysterious meeting appeared to be more of a celebration than an interview, lending support to the notion that Felt was, in fact, Deep Throat.

"'Woodward just showed up at the door and said he was in the area,' Joan Felt said. 'He came in a white limousine, which parked at a schoolyard about 10 blocks away. He walked to the house. He asked if it was OK to have a martini with my father at lunch, and I said it would be fine.'"

As he had in the past, Felt denied to Kessler that he was "Deep Throat." And, we noted in our 2002 column, Felt could not remember having lunch with Woodward in 1999 and even mistook the Post reporter for a government lawyer.


Oh, what one D.C. cop might have spared the nation were it not for a few late-night snorts.

During the night of the Watergate break-in, recalls political consultant Craig Shirley in his new book, "Reagan's Revolution," a uniformed police officer abandoned his patrol area, which included the Watergate complex, in favor of several cocktails at a local bar.

When the call came in for him to investigate suspicious behavior at the Watergate, he deferred the call to backup officers in order to avoid repercussions for his drinking while on duty. As it turned out, those backups dispatched to the Watergate arrived in an unmarked vehicle and were dressed in plain clothes.

John McCaslin

John McCaslin is a contributing columnist on and author of Inside The Beltway: Offbeat Stories, Scoops, and Shenanigans from around the Nation's Capital .

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