Woodward's walk

John McCaslin
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Posted: Jun 02, 2005 12:00 AM

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.

ONE FOR THE ROAD

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.

"They were able to enter the complex undetected by the lookouts for the burglars," Shirley says. "Had the uniformed police offer not been drinking on duty and was able to respond to the call in his patrol car, the lookouts that night would have had time to alert the burglars of the policeman entering the complex and the Watergate scandal would have never happened; (President) Nixon's resignation would have never occurred."

CASUAL COLIN

For security reasons, even rotating members of the White House press corps - when it is their turn to accompany the president and first lady to unpublicized, often private engagements - have no idea where they're going until they get there.

Tuesday evening was no different, or so we read in this subsequent report:

"On short notice, your pool (reporters) scrambled to catch a previously unannounced motorcade to take President and Mrs. Bush off-campus for dinner. They left the White House at 6:43 p.m. and arrived just under 20 minutes later at a private house in McLean, Va. Former Secretary of State Colin L. Powell and his wife, Alma, opened the door - surprising the members of the pool, who had not been told in advance who would be hosting. Powell was dressed in a light-colored dress shirt and khakis (no jacket or tie); (Mr. Bush) embraced him and, turning to wave at the cameras, removed his suit jacket and grinned. . . . We were told the dinner was private, with just the two couples."

BIG, BAD WOLF

In response to a TV character on "Law & Order: Criminal Intent" commenting after an appellate court judge was killed, "Maybe we should put out an APB for somebody in a Tom DeLay T-shirt," supporters of the embattled Republican leader will be distributing "Tom DeLay" T-shirts today at a Capitol Hill subway stop.

Saying executives at NBC have used the "Law & Order" series to take jabs at President Bush, DeLay and conservatives in general, Free Enterprise Fund Vice President Lawrence Hunter says this "again demonstrates just how out of touch the entertainment business is with red-state America."

"Incidents like this only serve to galvanize conservatives and drive more people into the movement," he says, criticizing in particular the show's executive producer, Dick Wolf.

The front of the shirt sports a picture of DeLay, and the back of the shirt reads: "Who's Afraid of Dick Wolf?"

NOT THE HYATT

The State Department has "evicted" the U.S. military from housing the two shared at the U.S. Embassy compound in Baghdad, according to a memo obtained by this column.

What gives?

"So that State employees may avoid . . . sharing a trailer," says one none-too-pleased insider at the Baghdad compound, who previously worked on Capitol Hill. "They will now enjoy their enlarged quarters at the expense of mostly military personnel in the Project and Contracting Office (PCO)."

In a memo dated Monday, May 30, Marine Lt. Col. Todd Parker, acting chief of staff for the PCO, wrote to office personnel in Baghdad: "Yesterday, the State Department issued PCO what effectively is an 'eviction notice' from the palace trailers. The chief of mission requires the trailers currently occupied by PCO for additional incoming State Department personnel. . . .

"In order to meet the chief of mission's priorities, we will be moving personnel from the Riverside trailers first and then progressing through the remainder of the palace billeting on a trailer camp by trailer camp basis."

And where will the military bunk down?

Parker's memo says the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers construction is nearing completion on "much-awaited" PCO compound housing, while "separate subcontractors are installing furniture, draperies and refrigerators in each room at this time.

"Our first move-in of personnel is scheduled for later today, and we plan to have everyone moved by June 22," the memo states. "Having inspected each of the 600 rooms myself, I can accurately state that they are all exactly the same (with the exception of the design on the shower curtain)."

That said, the acting chief of staff concludes, "do not expect Hyatt quality accommodations. The workmanship is adequate, but not up to the standard to which Americans are accustomed."

WHAT FEMINISM?

A new book detailing the purported sexual improprieties of former President Bill Clinton charges that Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, New York Democrat, played a major role in threatening and intimidating her husband's accusers.

Candice E. Jackson, a lawyer and author of "Their Lives: The Women Targeted by the Clinton Machine," tells Cybercast News Service's senior Washington writer Marc Morano that "Hillary's involvement is just as devastating and just as important in all this."

"(Hillary Clinton) was right there in the inner circle taking a lead in giving these women zero credibility, in attacking them in the public and through the press and in participating in all of these scare tactics, like hiring private investigators to threaten them and follow them," the author says.

Jackson says the former first lady is "either as misogynistic as her husband or she is simply willing to conspire to mistreat women if that's what it takes to preserve their political careers."

Describing herself as a "libertarian feminist," the author says the Clintons "have really gotten away with a political reputation of being defenders of women's rights and women's issues."

"To me that really says a lot about the state of feminism in this country."

'UGLY PLACE'

Former Clinton strategist James Carville and fellow Democracy Corps co-chairman Stanley Greenberg describe Americans as now being "bewildered" about the consequences of re-electing President Bush.

"Just six months after the election, a large majority of the country thinks the country is headed in the wrong direction," the pair states upon releasing their new Democracy Corps survey of 1,013 likely voters.

"(T)here is no evidence yet that voters are turning to the Democrats," Carville and Greenburg acknowledge. However, "there is pervasive evidence" that Americans are questioning Republican priorities on Iraq and Social Security, economic policies, "and their whole use of power."

On the latter point, the pair opines that since the presidential election, "Washington has become a very ugly place - as the voters see it from afar."

Seventy percent of those surveyed say partisan bickering has gotten worse in recent years.

Asked at his Rose Garden press conference on Wednesday about the current atmosphere in Congress and "do you worry that you might be losing a bit of momentum," Bush replied: "Well, I'm - my attitude toward Congress is - will be reflected on whether or not they're capable of getting anything done."