- The Washington Times - Thursday, June 2, 2005

Woodward’s walk

Who in Washington isn’t discussing “Deep Throat,” the formerly anonymous Watergate informant to reporters Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein?

Actually, in this column in May 2002, Ronald Kessler, a former investigative reporter for The Washington Post who left the newspaper in 1985, all but beat Vanity Fair to the punch of disclosing that “Deep Throat” was former FBI Associate Director W. Mark Felt.

A New York Times best-selling author of more than a dozen nonfiction books, Mr. Kessler, in advance of his publication of “The Bureau: The Secret History of the FBI,” revealed that Mr. Woodward made a mysterious visit to Mr. Felt’s house more than five years ago.

“[I]n the summer of 1999, Woodward showed up unexpectedly at the home of Felt’s daughter, Joan, in Santa Rosa, Calif., north of San Francisco, and took [Mr. Felt] to lunch, Joan Felt, who was taking care of him at her home, told me,” the author recalled.

“Woodward had been interviewing former FBI officials for a book he was writing on Watergate,” Mr. Kessler noted. “However, now confused because of the effects of a stroke, Felt was in no shape to provide credible information.

“Joan said her father greeted Woodward like an old friend, and their mysterious meeting appeared to be more of a celebration than an interview, lending support to the notion that Felt was, in fact, Deep Throat.

“‘Woodward just showed up at the door and said he was in the area,’ Joan Felt said. ‘He came in a white limousine, which parked at a schoolyard about 10 blocks away. He walked to the house. He asked if it was OK to have a martini with my father at lunch, and I said it would be fine.’”

As he had in the past, Mr. Felt denied to Mr. Kessler that he was “Deep Throat.” And, we noted in our 2002 column, Mr. Felt could not remember having lunch with Mr. Woodward in 1999 and even mistook the Post reporter for a government lawyer.

One for the road

Oh, what one D.C. cop might have spared the nation were it not for a few late-night snorts.

During the night of the Watergate break-in, recalls political consultant Craig Shirley in his new book “Reagan’s Revolution,” a uniformed police officer abandoned his patrol area, which included the Watergate complex, in favor of several cocktails at a local bar.

When the call came in for him to investigate suspicious behavior at the Watergate, he deferred the call to backup officers in order to avoid repercussions for his drinking while on duty. As it turned out, those backups dispatched to the Watergate arrived in an unmarked vehicle and were dressed in plain clothes.

“They were able to enter the complex undetected by the lookouts for the burglars,” Mr. Shirley says. “Had the uniformed police offer not been drinking on duty and was able to respond to the call in his patrol car, the lookouts that night would have had time to alert the burglars of the policeman entering the complex and the Watergate scandal would have never happened; [President] Nixon’s resignation would have never occurred.”

Casual Colin

For security reasons, even rotating members of the White House press corps — when it is their to accompany the president and first lady to unpublicized, often private engagements — have no idea where they’re going until they get there.

Tuesday evening was no different, or so we read in this subsequent report:

“On short notice, your pool [reporters] scrambled to catch a previously unannounced motorcade to take President and Mrs. Bush off-campus for dinner. They left the White House at 6:43 p.m. and arrived just under 20 minutes later at a private house in McLean, Va. Former Secretary of State Colin L. Powell and his wife, Alma, opened the door — surprising the members of the pool, who had not been told in advance who would be hosting. Powell was dressed in a light-colored dress shirt and khakis (no jacket or tie); [Mr. Bush] embraced him and, turning to wave at the cameras, removed his suit jacket and grinned. … We were told the dinner was private, with just the two couples.”

Big, bad Wolf

In response to a TV character on “Law & Order: Criminal Intent” commenting after an appellate court judge was killed, “Maybe we should put out an APB for somebody in a Tom DeLay T-shirt,” supporters of the embattled Republican leader will be distributing “Tom DeLay” T-shirts today at a Capitol Hill subway stop.

Saying executives at NBC have used the “Law & Order” series to take jabs at President Bush, Mr. DeLay and conservatives in general, Free Enterprise Fund Vice President Lawrence Hunter says this “again demonstrates just how out of touch the entertainment business is with red-state America.”

“Incidents like this only serve to galvanize conservatives and drive more people into the movement,” he says, criticizing in particular the show’s executive producer, Dick Wolf.

The front of the shirt sports a picture of Mr. DeLay, and the back of the shirt reads: “Who’s Afraid of Dick Wolf?”

John McCaslin, whose column is nationally syndicated, can be reached at 202/636-3284 or jmccaslin@washingtontimes.com.


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