Jonah Goldberg

I have a request to make of William Rehnquist, Bob Dole, Henry Kissinger, Robert Bork, George Bush Sr., Al Haig and a host of other Washington graybeards. While you're getting your affairs in order, could you please prepare an affidavit - or, even better, sworn video testimony - to be released posthumously, clarifying whether you are Deep Throat?

Let's back up a bit. As we all know, Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein pretty much brought down the Nixon administration by exposing the Watergate cover-up. They then cemented their status as iconic American journalists with the book "All the President's Men," which was made into a near-hagiographic film of the same title, starring Robert Redford and Dustin Hoffman.

"All the President's Men," both film and movie, were huge successes. What made them so, besides the engaging subject matter of high government misconduct, was a thrilling cloak-and-dagger plot. And central to this was the mysterious character known only as Deep Throat. In the film, but not the book, it was Deep Throat who advised the reporters to "follow the money" in order to unravel the tangled web of lies spun by the White House. He was also the shadowy figure in a trench coat who allegedly warned Woodward that the duo's very lives were in danger, probably from the CIA. The implication was that Richard Nixon, the man who couldn't orchestrate a "third-rate burglary," was going to have the CIA terminate two Washington Post reporters.

Woodward and Bernstein have long promised that they will reveal the identity of this super-source on the occasion of Deep Throat's demise. Speculation and anticipation in Washington have been rising of late as the health of various potential candidates has deteriorated. Professional Watergate veteran John Dean recently wrote an op-ed in the Los Angeles Times claiming that Mr. Throat is very ill and that his obituary has already been written.

Here's the first problem: Nothing is easier than pinning a crime on a dead man. Here's the second problem: I don't think Deep Throat exists.

Jonah Goldberg

Jonah Goldberg is editor-at-large of National Review Online,and the author of the book The Tyranny of Clichés. You can reach him via Twitter @JonahNRO.
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