Deep Throat: Who knew?

If W. Mark Felt is the man, a few journalists get credit for having been right for a long time now.

Published May 31, 2005 6:07PM (EDT)

If Vanity Fair is right and W. Mark Felt is indeed "Deep Throat," the identity of the man who helped bring down a president will have come as a surprise but not a shock. Felt's name was on a lot of folks' short lists, but it wasn't at the top of many of them.

Over the years, the list of would-be "Deep Throats" has expanded and contracted, but Felt was pretty much a constant. Editor & Publisher captured the modern short list earlier this year: Fred Fielding, John Sears, L. Patrick Gray, Leonard Garment, William Safire, Dwight Chapin, Ray Price, Alexander Haig, David Gergen, Lowell Weicker, George H.W. Bush and W. Mark Felt. Add to that the possibility that "Deep Throat" was actually, in the words of E&P, "the ever popular No One," a composite of sources Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein may have used. Felt himself suggested back in 1974 that the world might never know whether "Deep Source" was one person or several.

If Felt's the man, who gets credit for being right? We're sure that many more will come forward, but the list begins with Jack Limpert, who thought he'd discovered that Felt was "Deep Throat" way back in 1974; James Mann, who wrote an article in the Atlantic Monthly in 1992 suggesting that Felt was it; Ronald Kessler, who covered some of the same territory Vanity Fair covers today in his own book in 2002; and the editors of The Washingtonian, who have been saying for a few years now that they "still think it was Mark Felt."

By Tim Grieve

Tim Grieve is a senior writer and the author of Salon's War Room blog.

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