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After 36 years as a full-time reporter at the Chicago TribuneI retired in to teach journalism at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

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WITH the anniversary of Watergate approaching, one question about the affair remains as haunting today as it was at the time: Who was Deep Throat, the mysterious source within the federal government who repeatedly met The Washington Post's Bob Woodward in a parking garage in the early morning hours to guide the Post's inquiries into the scandal, to pass on information about the federal investigation, and to thwart the Nixon Administration's efforts to rein in that investigation?

The identity of Deep Throat remains a subject of intense public curiosity.

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A recent book about Watergate, Silent Coup, by Len Colodny and Robert Gettlin, shot to the top of best-seller lists in large part because of its speculation the authors admitted they had no proof that Alexander Haig, who was Henry Kissinger's deputy at the National Security Council at the time of the break-in, was at one point Woodward's prime source.

Over the years countless other recognizable names within the Nixon White House have figured in the speculation. Beyond mere curiosity, the answer to the question is of considerable historical interest. Identifying Deep Throat would clarify our view of the Nixon Administration and would enhance our understanding of the underlying institutional forces at work in Washington during the late s and early s.

In the common imagination, the executive branch is run by the President, his Cabinet, and his White House advisers. Thus much of the speculation about Deep Throat over the past two decades has focused on known names within Nixon's White House, such as Haig, the press spokesman Ronald Ziegler, and the White House adviser Leonard Garment.

Rarely is it asked whether these people had the regular, immediate access to the federal investigation of Watergate which provided the backdrop to the Post's stories. Even more rarely is it asked whether White House aides like Haig, Ziegler, and Garment were the sort of people willing to hold A.

During any Administration, institutions and bureaucracies are powerful entities within themselves, sometimes with more clout than the White House personalities who theoretically govern them.

And among these powerful bureaucracies are the U. In what follows I will explore some of these matters. I cannot reveal who Deep Throat was, because I do not know. I do know, however, the part of the government in which Deep Throat worked, and I can speculate with some conviction about what Deep Throat's institutional motivations may have been. On May 2, J. Edgar Hoover, the director of the FBI, died at the age of seventy-seven. Over a period of nearly five decades he had built up the organization from scratch, had ruled it in an autocratic fashion, and had filled its upper ranks with men acceptable to him.

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Hoover had dealt with and outlasted every President since Calvin Coolidge. He and his associates had fended off the Kennedys and Lyndon Johnson, and they believed they would survive Richard Nixon, too. This was a matter of pride, of virtue: although it occasionally provided a bit of clandestine help to occupants of the Oval Office, the FBI saw itself as fearlessly independent -- outside politics and ultimately beyond the control of the White House.

This tradition was suddenly thrown into question with Hoover's death. Officials at the Bureau believed that Hoover's successor would be appointed from within their ranks.

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FBI officials refused, insisting that there were no such documents, and after a nasty face-off Gray left. Nixon and his aides had many reasons for wanting to appoint an outsider to head the FBI -- some of them honorable, some not.

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They felt, as had some of their predecessors in the White House, that the FBI was too tradition-bound, and badly needed to adopt more-modern law-enforcement techniques. They also wanted the FBI to be subject to much greater political direction from the White House and the Justice Department than had been possible under Hoover.

The FBI had resisted several law-enforcement and domestic intelligence-gathering initiatives by the Nixon White House, notably the famous "Huston plan" -- the effort, led by the White House aide Tom Charles Huston, to expand intelligence-gathering through a network of informants along with a campaign of wiretapping, bugging, mail opening, and burglaries. Moreover, White House officials feared that if the FBI retained the independence it had had under Hoover, it would never go along with the Nixon Administration's continuing efforts to use the federal bureaucracy to reward friends and punish enemies.

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In short, Hoover's death presented the Nixon Administration with a long-sought opportunity to gain political control of the FBI. Traumatized by Hoover's death, and anxious to preserve the Bureau's traditions, the FBI's leadership resented and resisted the Administration's efforts. By coincidence, the Watergate break-in occurred on June 17, less than seven weeks after Hoover's death and Gray's appointment. The FBI took charge of the federal investigation at the same time that the Administration was trying to limit its scope. WHEN Bob Woodward arrived in the Post newsroom, less than a year before Watergate, he quickly established himself as one of the top investigative reporters on the local staff.

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Other reporters might spend weeks, months, or even years on a single project as, indeed, Woodward himself does now. Woodward distinguished himself by delivering stories fast, sometimes coming up with new information on the controversy of the week. I was a Post reporter at the time of his arrival, and because I was covering Washington's federal courthouse, Woodward and I often worked closely together.

We were friends, reporting alongside each other on the Post's metro staff.

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During the late winter and early spring ofthe story that occupied much of his time was a running local scandal involving corruption within the District of Columbia police department. Some members of the D. Woodward monitored the developing investigation -- reporting, for example, in a front- story on February 3, "Two grand juries here are conducting separate investigations into police corruption and major drug dealers, it has been learned.

Sources say the probes may lead to the most Seeking deep throat criminal indictments in the city in recent years. This was a natural subject for a new investigative reporter on the Post's local staff. Yet in writing about the D. Wilson, to be the next FBI director. Wilson's police force was everything the FBI was not: it espoused a belief in the need for more-progressive law-enforcement techniques, and it got along well with the Administration.

The D. These personnel practices were intensely mistrusted by the FBI. In one particular crisis, the sweeping anti-war demonstrations that had threatened to close down Washington on May 3,the White House and the Justice Department had worked closely with Wilson's police in arranging the arrest of some 12, people. In short, the FBI viewed the D. The symbolic value of the investigation into police corruption was openly discussed and debated at the time. Here is how Woodward himself put it in an article on January 13, Only days after this story appeared, the White House moved to lend political support to the police department.

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The FBI had been in charge of the investigation of the D. Then, in mid-May ofwith the investigations winding down, the Post's metropolitan staff, and Woodward in particular, shifted their attention to a new story: the attempted assassination of Alabama Governor George Wallace. By this time Woodward was clearly making considerable and frequent use of a source at the FBI. As the former Post city editor Barry Sussman has disclosed in his Watergate book, The Great Cover-Up, within hours of the Wallace shooting, when the identity of the assailant was still not publicly known, Woodward volunteered that he had a "friend" who might be able to help.

And indeed, on that day and over the following two weeks, working as part of a team of Post reporters, Woodward was able to come up with details about the life and travels of Arthur Bremer, the man who stalked and finally shot Wallace, virtually as soon as FBI investigators uncovered them. Two weeks after the last of the above stories on the Wallace shooting, five men were arrested inside the Democratic National Committee headquarters at the Watergate. Immediately, on Monday, June 19, Woodward turned to his source at the FBI for help: "Federal sources close to the investigation said the address books contain the name and home telephone of Howard E.

Hunt [sic], with the notations 'W. House' and 'W.

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Bachinski, June At the time of the Watergate break-in, of course, "Deep Throat" was not yet the name of a Watergate source but merely the name of a recently released pornographic movie. Rather, during the summer and early fall ofWoodward spoke to me repeatedly of "my source at the FBI," or, alternatively, of "my friend at the FBI" -- each time making it plain that this was a special, and unusually well-placed, source. What he knew represented an aggregate of hard information flowing in and out of many stations.

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At the same time, they were working with prosecutors at the Justice Department and were trying to deal with, and fend off, efforts by Nixon and his aides to restrict the Watergate investigation. My conviction that Woodward's FBI source was the man later called Deep Throat was buttressed by the following incident. On September 15 the first Watergate indictments were handed down, against the original burglary team.

At the time I had just left the Post and was emptying out my Washington apartment before spending a year in Italy. The day after the indictments were handed down, I called Woodward to say good-bye. I raised the subject of the indictments and asked what was new.

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On September 18 the Post published the first story broadening the investigation beyond the Watergate break-in. In the very first week after the Watergate arrests, FBI investigators found that the White House was putting obstacles in the way of its investigation of the case. The Bureau's efforts to interview witnesses and to obtain various records were being stalled or blocked.

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Nixon's White House tapes later demonstrated that, in one of the key acts of the Watergate cover-up, Nixon and his chief of staff, H. Of course, FBI officials other than Gray did not know this at the time. All they knew in late June oflittle more than a month after Hoover's death and Gray's appointment, was that the White House was impeding their investigation.

FBI officials were furious. The three were Felt, Charles W. Bates, the assistant director in charge of the FBI's General Investigative Division, and Robert Kunkel, the special agent in charge of the Washington field office, which was conducting the investigation. As Felt recounted in his memoir. Invoking Hoover's name, Felt made clear that he and his colleagues believed that the FBI's traditions and its future were at stake:. The contacts with the press guaranteed that information developed by the FBI's Watergate investigative team would not be suppressed or altered by Nixon Administration officials.

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