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Special Report

Deep Throat Spills His Secret

This is a partial transcript of "Special Report With Brit Hume," June 1, 2005, that has been edited for clarity.

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BRIT HUME, HOST: From the White House across town, much of Washington wa s abuzz today with yesterday's disclosure that a former FBI official was Deep Throat, The Washington Post's anonymous source in the Watergate scandal, a scandal that eventually toppled the president.

FOX News correspondent James Rosen reports on the reaction and on the questions that may remain.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JAMES ROSEN, FOX NEWS CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The revelation that 91-year-old Mark Felt was Deep Throat, the mysterious Watergate-era source for Washington Post reporter Bob Woodward, drew reaction today from all levels of American politics and government, starting with one of Richard Nixon's successors as president, who, in a meeting with South Africa's president, declined to say whether Felt was a hero.

GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: It was a revelation that caught me by surprise. And I thought it was very interesting. I'm looking forward to reading about it.

ROSEN: Surviving Nixon aides also weighed in, from his architect of foreign policy...

HENRY KISSINGER, FORMER SECRETARY OF STATE: I have always believed, and continue to believe, that there was not one Deep Throat. And I suppose Mark Felt was one of several sources that were put into a composite portrait.

ROSEN: ... to Nixon's chief of staff, Alexander Haig, who argued officials must remain loyal to their president.

ALEXANDER HAIG, FORMER NIXON CHIEF OF STAFF: And if you can't, for whatever your reasons, then you have an obligation to resign and take necessary steps within your power to deal with the problem.

ROSEN: Gordon Liddy, the former FBI agent who conceived the Watergate break-in, spoke about the obligations attendant on FBI men who learn about criminal activity.

G. GORDON LIDDY, FORMER FBI AGENT: What you are ethically bound to do is to go to a grand jury and seek an indictment, not to selectively leak it to a single news source.

ROSEN: Even Bernard Barker, one of the original Watergate burglars, now 87, came forward to condemn Felt as quote, unquote, "human excrement."

BERNARD BARKER, WATERGATE BURGLAR: You know, he goes, and sneaks away, and talks to the press. The man has no honor.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The truth is, I can't figure out what we've got.

ROSEN: On the big screen, "Post" editor Ben Bradlee, portrayed by the late Jason Robards, worried whether Woodward and his partner, Carl Bernstein, had their facts straight. Today, Bradlee spoke in terms of closure.

BEN BRADLEE, FORMER WASHINGTON POST EDITOR: I mean, you know, this is the end of a story, one part of it, the last part of it, really.

ROSEN: But questions remain. Among them, could Mark Felt have known all that Woodward attributed to him? One key tip from November 1973 was that Nixon's tapes had a gap created by a deliberate erasure. Yet only a handful of Nixon aides knew this, and Felt had already left the FBI by that time.

Deep Throat also claimed John Mitchell, Nixon's campaign manager, got help investigating the origins of the Watergate break-in from E. Howard Hunt. But Hunt was a conspirator in the break-in who never met John Mitchell.

JIM HOUGAN, "SECRET AGENDA" AUTHOR: There was no single person in the Nixon administration who knew all of the things that Woodward attributed to Deep Throat. Those few people who knew about the 18-and-a-half minute gap did not know about other aspects that were reported in "The Washington Post."

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ROSEN: Perhaps the most basic question that remains is, how did Bob Woodward and Mark Felt actually know each other? "All the President's Men" tells us they were, quote, "old friends" who spent many evenings talking about politics, quote, "long before Watergate."

But Woodward was a police reporter, not a political reporter, and he'd only been at the "Post" nine months when Watergate broke. Prior to that, Woodward worked for the "Montgomery County Sentinel," hardly the kind of outlet whose reporters typically enjoy access to the number-two man at the FBI -- Brit?

HUME: So what do we know, James, about what other sources Bob Woodward may have had? Obviously, Mark Felt was one, and a critical one, of great comfort, I think, obviously, to Ben Bradlee in going ahead with these stories which -- you know, with the newspaper's credibility on the line.

But what else do we know about Bob Woodward's sources?

ROSEN: Well, about Felt, all we have is Woodward's word and Felt's word. We have really no contemporaneous evidence so far, anyway, that shows that Felt was a source, besides what the two men have been saying.

We do have one document that shows, from the CIA from 1973, that shows that one of Woodward's sources at the time was a then-CIA asset named Robert Bennett. Today, Robert Bennett, of course, is the U.S. senator from Utah, the Republican from Utah.

And this 1973 memo states -- and I will read it to you -- it says, "Mr. Bennett said also that he has been feeding stories to Bob Woodward of 'The Washington Post' with the understanding that there be no attribution to Bennett. Woodward is suitably grateful for the fine stories and bylines which he gets and protects Bennett and the Mullin Company (ph)," which was Bennett's CIA front company at that time.

And this memo even goes on to state -- it takes credit for one specific article that Bennett fed to Woodward. "Typical is the article Hunt tried to recruit agents to promote Senator Kennedy's life," from February 10, 1973, "Washington Post."

HUME: A good reporter has more than one source. What about the -- there's a lot of interesting details that came out in the book, in the movie about all of the ways that Bob Woodward communicated with the man he called Deep Throat. How do they check out with what has come to be known since then?

ROSEN: Well, of course, the image that lingers in everyone's mind, Brit, is of Deep Throat, Hal Holbrooke, the actor, meeting with Robert Redford, portraying Bob Woodward, in garages late at night, underground garages around Washington.

It's kind of difficult to imagine Mark Felt skulking around garages. What we do know is that Woodward said that he used to push a flowerpot across this balcony of his apartment and that Deep Throat would see the flowerpot and therefore know that...

HUME: And he had a flag in the flowerpot?

ROSEN: And a flag in the flowerpot, that's right, and that he should therefore met up with Woodward in an underground garage late at night. Well, some digging has been done on this. And we know that Woodward's balcony faced a courtyard interior, did not face the street. And in fact, it was six stories up. And there would have been no way to see, even if he had a palm tree up on his balcony.

That's one way. The other way is involving the circling of the page 820 of Woodward's "New York Times." That's supposedly how Deep Throat let Woodward know that he wanted to get in touch with him, but in fact the newspapers at Woodward's apartment at that time were just stacked up at the front desk and there was no way for him to know it was Woodward's paper.

HUME: All right. Very interesting, James. Thank you.

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