By: Joe Strupp
In the 24 hours since word broke that W. Mark Felt admitted being the long-protected Watergate source Deep Throat, the lives of Bob Woodward, Carl Bernstein, and Ben Bradlee have been thrown into a whirlwind.
Woodward, who with Bernstein broke the Watergate story in the early 1970s, was out of town as the Vanity Fair story with Felt’s admission came out Tuesday morning. He quickly returned home and, as of this morning, was working (with Bernstein’s help) on what he says will be an account of his dealings with Felt, to be published by the Washington Post on Thursday: a story 30 years in the making.
Although caught off guard by the Vanity Fair bombshell, Woodward is nevertheless well prepared for this assignment, as he has been readying a book on Throat. That volume will now be rushed into print by his longtime publisher, Simon & Schuster.
Reached Wednesday morning at his home office, Woodward would not say what the Thursday Post story will look like, admitting with a laugh, “I just don’t know.”
He added, “If I wasn’t right here, busy, I would be glad to talk to you, but I need to get back to work, I hope you understand.”
According to the Post, Woodward’s article will detail the “accident of history” that connected this young reporter just off the suburban beat to a top FBI man. The story will describe how Woodward and Felt met by chance, as the reporter researched stories about the shooting of presidential candidate George Wallace by Arthur H. Bremer in a parking lot in suburban Maryland, just before the Watergate break-in. Felt was known for being friendly with reporters, and he provided Woodward with a few nuggets on that story.
So Woodward called him again after the Watergate break-in. The rest is literally history.
Bernstein, who was at his New York office working on a book about Hillary Clinton when the story broke, traveled to Washington later and was seen Tuesday night at the Post office and then entering Woodward’s home with his former colleague, as they told the media they had ?a lot of work to do.?
Last night, Bernstein noted that the Deep Throat example proves the value of anonymous sourcing, although it’s not known if this will be an element in the Post story coming tomorrow.
The Post published a photo of the pair “reunited,” as the paper put it, in their old newsroom — now gazing at a laptop computer instead of a typewriter. The newspaper’s Web site has also launched a Deep Throat blog.
While Bernstein could not be reached for comment Wednesday, his assistant in New York, Amanda Ely, said she had been up until midnight answering calls on the Felt revelation. “I think I’ve talked to every news outlet in the country,” she told E&P. “It has been very, very busy, at least hundreds of calls.?
Ely, who has worked for Bernstein for two years, said calls from as far away as the BBC have come in. “They all just want a reaction from Carl and Bob,” she said. “It comes in waves.”
Bradlee, the former Post executive editor who still maintains an office at the paper, declined to comment Tuesday, while calls to his office Wednesday were met with a voicemail that was not taking messages because it was full. He has said he was completely taken by surprise by the Tuesday revelations.