Book questions Woodward's Watergate source

April 30, 2012 at 3:53 PM
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WASHINGTON, April 30 (UPI) -- Forty years after a break-in at the Watergate office complex brought down U.S. President Nixon, papers indicate a key player had doubts about the key source.

While researching for his biography on celebrated Washington Post Editor Ben Bradlee, Jeff Himmelman, a former researcher for Post reporter-editor and author Bob Woodward, said he came upon an unpublished 1990 interview Bradlee gave to Barbara Feinman, who was helping him write his memoir. The interview raised questions about Deep Throat, the source who supplied Woodward and fellow Watergate reporter Carl Bernstein information about the Watergate break-in scandal, New York Magazine reported Monday.

"You know I have a little problem with Deep Throat," Bradlee said during the interview, referring to details in "All the President's Men," the best-selling book-turned-movie by Woodward and Bernstein.

"Did that potted [plant] incident ever happen? … One meeting in the garage? Fifty meetings in the garage? … There's a residual fear in my soul that that isn't quite straight," Bradlee is quoted as saying in the interview found among boxes of papers and tapes belonging to the Post executive that Himmelman reviewed for his biography "Yours in Truth: A Personal Portrait of Ben Bradlee," due out May 8 from Random House.

The New York Magazine article said Woodward asked his former research assistant not to use the quote.

Himmelman wrote of a later interview with Bradlee.

"It's inconceivable to me," Bradlee said, "that in his preparation for all of this, to strengthen his case, he didn't neaten things up a little -- we all do that! … He thinks it is a critical and fatal attack on his integrity, and I don't think it is.

"There's nothing in it that attacks the verity of his research."

Woodward told Politico in an e-mail that some information was omitted from the magazine piece.

"On October 7, 2010, Himmelman did an interview with Ben Bradlee to review what Ben had said 20 years earlier in 1990," Woodward wrote. "Ben said the following, according to the transcript that Himmelman gave me, 'if you would ask me, do I think he (Woodward) embellished, I would say no.' … Ben's own words pretty much undercut the premise of the piece."

The identity of Deep Throat was revealed in 2005 to have been FBI Associate Director Mark Felt Sr., who died in 2008.

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