Here’s how part of this interview appears in All the President’s Men, as an exact quote from “Deep Throat” during one of their clandestine garage meetings:
“Mitchell conducted his own--he called it an investigation--for about ten days after June 17. And he was going crazy. He found all sorts of new things which astounded even him. At some point, Howard Hunt, of all the ironies, was assigned to help Mitchell get some information. Like lightning, he was pulled off and fired and told to pack up his desk and leave town forever. By no less than John Ehrlichman.”
Here's the same part of the actual interview with "X" as it
appears in Woodward's original notes, now on deposit at the
University: of Texas:
Note the dropped “we had guys assigned to
him to help.” (The yellow highlighting does not
appear in the original.) Woodward and Bernstein dropped that
detail in order to hide their source.
If that source was Mark Felt, his “we” could only mean the FBI. But that’s impossible. If there had been FBI agents “assigned to help” who “found all sorts of new things,” not only would the Watergate case have been broken during those first ten days, but the FBI’s now public Watergate files would be filled with official summaries of the assignments and resultant interviews. There are none. Woodward and Bernstein are lying to us when they say “X” was Mark Felt. It was someone else, someone on the inside trusted enough to “help.”
--As described fully in the last chapter of In Nixon’s Web, the unattributed single page is actually of an interview with Donald Santarelli, a prominent Washington lawyer who was a justice department official during Watergate. While examining a photocopy of Woodward’s page, Santarelli told Ed Gray that it definitely was him.
--Another set of notes, dated January 24, 1973 are marked “interview with my friend.” These may very well have been with Mark Felt.
Thus there are interviews with at least three individuals in Woodward’s far from complete set of “Deep Throat” notes: Mark Felt, Donald Santarelli, and X.
Why is it so important that “Deep Throat” was a fictional character and not an actual person? For two reasons, one specific to Pat Gray, the other important for the rest of us.
First the personal. All the President’s Men wasn’t just the title of a bestselling book and a major motion picture. It was a list of evildoers and Pat Gray is still on that list. Check the current paperback, first page, “Cast of Characters.” Check the website at the University of Texas, which houses Woodward and Bernstein’s papers and where L. Patrick Gray III is still listed prominently by Woodward and Bernstein as a “conspirator.” Pat Gray isn’t just a name on that list, his photograph was included with Nixon himself and ten others on the book’s original dust jacket. Of those ten men, every one except Pat Gray either pled guilty or was convicted of a crime. As a list, All the President’s Men needs to have one name removed.
But more important, like several recently disputed memoirs, the book itself needs to be reclassified. All the President’s Men is today accepted as a factual recitation -- and often the factual recitation -- of how Nixon and his “men” were driven from office. Until Woodward and Bernstein sold their notes to the University of Texas there was no way to test the book’s claim of historical accuracy. Those verifiable documents have provided the previously unavailable key. “Deep Throat” was a myth. So, therefore, is All the President’s Men.