Woodward's Notes, Typed From Memory, on His Meetings With Deep Throat

The Vault
Historical Treasures, Oddities, And Delights
Sept. 18 2013 3:10 PM

Woodward's Notes, Typed From Memory, on His Meetings With Deep Throat

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These two pages of notes from Washington Post reporter Bob Woodward record information from his parking-garage meetings with the Watergate informant “Deep Throat.” W. Mark Felt, then the FBI’s Associate Director, outed himself as Deep Throat in 2005.

Woodward identifies Felt in these pages as “X” and “my friend.” In other notes, Woodward uses Felt’s name. The Harry Ransom Center, which holds Woodward and his reporting partner Carl Bernstein’s papers related to Watergate, kept materials related to Deep Throat sealed until Felt stepped forward. (Here are more notes from Woodward’s meetings with Felt.)

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Woodward met Felt seven times in the fall of 1972 and the spring of 1973, in a variety of locations: Felt’s house, a Maryland bar, Felt’s FBI office, and—most famously—a parking garage in Virginia. Woodward didn’t take notes while the two were together. As soon as the reporter returned to his office, he typed these memos, stringing together the leads that Felt had given him.

The notes give some sense of Felt’s personal reasons for acting as Deep Throat. Several times, he offers his opinion of the “immoral” activities of people he believed were being paid by the Administration to carry out illegal surveillance. His distaste extends to individual figures, many of whom he had worked with at the FBI: (Jeb) Magruder “[was] an SOB”; (G. Gordon) Liddy and (E. Howard) Hunt had “reputations that are just the lowest”; Alfred C. Baldwin, who acted as a lookout for the operation, was “an absolute loser,” who was “effectively fired from the FBI.”

The October 9 notes record Felt telling Woodward “Check every lead—could write stories to next Xmas”—or, Woodward adds, “well beyond that.” Indeed, the information Felt gave Woodward about figures in the Administration and their potential involvement, when investigated, stretched into a string of stories on the financing and structure of the conspiracy.

Watergate Notes 1

Bob Woodward's notes from parking garage meeting with Mark Felt. Oct. 9, 1972. Woodward and Bernstein Watergate Papers, Harry Ransom Center.

FeltNotesJan24Final

Bob Woodward's notes from parking garage meeting with Mark Felt. Jan. 24, 1973. Woodward and Bernstein Watergate Papers, Harry Ransom Center.

Rebecca Onion, who runs Slate’s history blog The Vault, is a writer and academic living in Ohio. Follow her on Twitter.

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