By: Greg Mitchell
Once again, we?re in the midst of a Deep Throat media frenzy, touched off by the opening of the Woodward and Bernstein archives at the University of Texas. Adding to the fun, a porn-again documentary on the original movie ?Deep Throat? was released this weekend, reminding us that the male star of that epic was Harold Reames, not Howard Hunt. Things get so confused after more than 30 years.
Joining the fray, we sponsored a Name Deep Throat contest last week, hoping to identify the all-time most influential journalistic source (until Ahmad Chalabi came around).
The surprise winner turned out to be William H. Rehnquist, former aide to Attorney General John Mitchell (see our story elsewhere on this site). Others receiving strong support: Mark Felt, Fred Fielding, Henry Kissinger, and L. Patrick Gray. Personally, I am starting to wonder what Jeff Gannon, man of mystery, was doing back then.
We?ve previously published some of the reasoning behind the Rehnquist choice — for one thing, he fits the rumor that Deep Throat is ailing–and here?s what some of our readers wrote about other picks.
Rick LaMont: “I’ll stick with L. Patrick Gray. While W. Mark Felt may be the odds-on favorite (and ill since 2002), Woodward said that as of 1972 Deep Throat was a smoker. Felt quit smoking in 1943.”
Jim Jazwiecki, New York: “I’ll go with speechwriter Ben Stein, because he cried when Nixon resigned.”
Meg Shreve. Evanston, Ill.: “I’m betting it was someone’s mistress or wife.”
Keith Olbermann, New York: “Leonard Garment. What’s the vote total for Hal Holbrook?”
Spencer Mims: “It is my theory that the name, ‘Deep Throat,’ referred to the way in which the subject spoke, much like a nickname might imply. Of course, that thought immediately leads to Henry Kissinger, and, why not? In the Nixon administration, nothing was ever as it seemed.”
Joe Sharkey: “Here is my dark-horse candidate (who I have been betting on for over 25 years): David Eisenhower, Nixon?s son-in-law. Motive: Outrage about defiling of the office once held by beloved grandfather. Means: Navy colleague of Woodward and had worked as intern reporter. Opportunity: Was regular visitor at top-level White House meetings, as historian. Reason for silence: Wife.”
Joan Hoff: “My vote would be No One, since there was no Deep Throat in the original book proposal for ‘All the Presidents Men.'”
Ginger Clark, New York: “My guess is L. Patrick Gray. The Post, I think, did a piece on the 20th Anniversary — had one of their reporters attempt to figure it out. He said that Woodward once remarked that the parking garage in the movie was very close to the parking garage where he and Deep Throat met. This reporter tracked down the apartments of all the main suspects at the time. Guess who’s parking garage was the closest? Gray’s.”
Brian Farrelly: “I believe that Deep Throat is none other than the G-Man. Yes the professional rat-eater, rockin’ drive-time DJ, and burglar alarm tester himself, G. Gordon Liddy. Think about it. Let me know when history proves me correct. Yup.”
Michael Hoffman: “Diane Sawyer was Ron Ziegler?s secretary and kept all the secrets. Sawyer also left the White House with the Nixon transition team and later drew up in diagram form a history of Watergate that led Nixon to say he finally understood what happened.”
William Betz: “I think Deep Throat is L. Patrick Gray. For people to suggest a Republican careerist like Rehnquist is, I believe, off the mark. I think the most likely candidate is a civil servant who cares about democracy and who found himself thrust into a situation that shocked his moral values. It was an accident that Gray was appointed interim director after Hoover’s death, but I think he’s Deep Throat, and, if I’m right, then it was a very fortunate accident.”
Alex Dering: “Louis Patrick Gray III. Why? Count up the characters: 19. What page number got circled by Throat? See. Why use facts when numerology exists?”
Randy Bean, Stanford University, Palo Alto, Calif.: “Leonard Garment! Now, who’s buried in Grant’s Tomb?”
Steven Greene: “The whole concept of Deep Throat was basically a hoax to hide the fact that the CIA, experts in overthrowing governments, was removing Richard Nixon from office in a coup d’etat. I can only speculate as to why the intelligence community felt it necessary to remove Nixon, but certainly Nixon’s instruction to Haldeman on the
smoking gun tape (‘tell the CIA to call off the FBI’) could have been a factor. Haldeman says Helms exploded when told that it would open the whole ?Bay of Pigs? thing. “And if you open that scab, it’s an ugly can of worms.”
Rex Randolph: “Ben Stein and Carl Bernstein grew up literally next door to each other in Montgomery County, Maryland. Ben’s father was an economist and active Republican. Carl’s parents were self-professed Communists who went through some difficult years during the ?50s and ?60s. And yet these two were best friends and remain close today.”
Chase Tingly: “I have to dance with what brung me. In 10th grade history class (circa 1993), I concluded a paper on Watergate with the name Mark Felt. I’m not sure I remotely believe that any more, but I’m backing my younger self just in case, because I seemed much more clever back then.”
Matthew Hays: “My theory about the real identity of Deep Throat is that, as impossiblke as it sounds, it was the current U.S President, George W. Bush. He was very young at the time, but he has such a clear and strong sense of honesty and integrity, something tells me that he must have been so repulsed by the lies, deceit, and sleaze of the Nixon administration that he felt it necessary to bring them down. Of course, even as a child he would have had access to all this info through his father, a part of the Nixon admin.”
Ken Boyce: “I vote for the pope. He’s ill and Ben Bradlee could have already written his obituary. Furthermore, the pope is the right age, fluent in several languages, and probably a Democrat.”
Jeff Gordinier: “Richard Nixon. Clearly the man was hellbent on destroying himself.”