Was Deep Throat unmasked as far back as 1973?

Gossip, speculation, and scuttlebutt about politics.
Sept. 11 2008 7:01 PM

Deep Throat Unmasked, Circa 1973?

The Washington Post published a huge hint about its Watergate source on the break-in's first anniversary. Nobody noticed.

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After All the President's Men was published, "Who was Deep Throat?" became a favorite Washington parlor game. With the movie's release, the game went national. Did Stern tell friends and family, "I know who Deep Throat was, or at least where he worked"? Probably not. By then, the stakes were much higher. This was a source who'd helped bring down a president and was now officially mythologized as the very symbol of journalistic confidentiality. Also, Stern was rising in the Post management hierarchy and therefore was probably feeling a little less free-spirited. But Marcus Stern does remember attending with his father the Kennedy Center movie premiere of All the President's Men in 1976. Driving home afterward, Marcus recalls, the subject of Deep Throat came up. Who was Deep Throat, anyway? "I think the movie suggested it," his father replied. Laurence Stern then went on to cite something in the film—Marcus can't remember what—that indicated the filmmakers meant to hint that Deep Throat had worked for the FBI. In truth, the filmmakers had no idea who Deep Throat was or where he worked. Laurence didn't indicate, as best Marcus can recall, that he'd already spilled the latter secret in the pages of the Washington Post.

Timothy Noah is a former Slate staffer. His  book about income inequality is The Great Divergence.