Downie: No Plans for More of Woodward on Deep Throat

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By: Joe Strupp

Bob Woodward’s first-person account in today’s Washington Post of his initial meeting and early dealings with W. Mark Felt, the recently revealed Deep Throat, is likely to be the last thing he writes for the paper on the subject for a while, according to Executive Editor Leonard Downie Jr.

“We are doing other things on the subject,” Downie told E&P. When asked if Woodward would write more on the topic for the Post, he said, “not right now.” Today’s Woodward account, while lengthy, breaks off fairly early in the Watergate chronicle.

Instead, look for a more extended account in book form of Woodward’s relationship with Felt, the 91-year-old former FBI official, that goes beyond their Watergate connection. Downie said the story in today’s paper is just a small part of a bigger manuscript Woodward had written prior to Tuesday’s revelation that Felt was the secret source who helped Woodward and Carl Bernstein break the Watergate story.

Asked if the story was limited so that more could be saved for the book — Woodward has been accused in the past of holding back material from his newspaper –D ownie said: “This is what we wanted in the paper. This is what we had planned to put in.” But, he added, “if readers want more, it would not surprise me. …

“It did what we wanted to accomplish today, and that is how Mark Felt became Deep Throat,” Downie said. “Much of the rest of it is the continuing relationship with Deep Throat after the Watergate story.”

Woodward could not be reached for comment Thursday. But it has been reported that his publisher, Simon & Schuster, is rushing a book on Felt into print, which would likely include the manuscript Downie mentioned.

“It would not be a big book,” Downie said about the manuscript he had read. “But I don’t know what might be added to it. It is mostly about the relationship between the two men.”

Downie first saw the manuscript several months ago, when he discussed plans with Woodward for coverage of Deep Throat’s death after Woodward had mentioned that Felt was in his 90s. At that time, Woodward also revealed to Downie that Felt was Deep Throat.

Today’s story does not include many new facts about the subject, other than some specifics about how his friendship with Woodward grew, where their famous parking-garage meeting place was located, and some personal information about both.

“But you also get to see Woodward for the first time and Felt,” Downie said when asked if the story was lacking in new information. “You get to see it in a very personal narrative that was insightful. You get to see how Bob thought and worked and managed resources, as well as seeing Bob’s own vulnerability and insight into his character — making decisions about his life as a young man.”

Downie said no plans are in place for Carl Bernstein to write anything, but those could change. “I told Carl we would welcome that, and I don’t know what his plans are,” the editor said. “He will let me know.”

He said most of the reaction to Woodward’s piece and several other related articles in today’s paper had been positive. He declined to comment on several stories in The New York Times that have criticized Woodward and the Post. “I’m not going to challenge their coverage,” he said. “Their coverage speaks for itself.”

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