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June 6, 2005

Deep Throat, and how I almost could have sort of known who he was if I had been paying attention

I usually don't keep up with the news. I saw a documentary about the 2003 Columbia crash a few nights ago, and up until halfway through, I thought they were talking about the Challenger, as I had no recollection of the Columbia at all. I was unemployed when it happened, but still. Anyway, I don't follow the news much, but all this Deep Throat stuff has got me hooked. All that sneaking around they talk about reminds me of those weird scenes in Double Indemnity where Fred MacMurray and Barbara Stanwyck stand in the grocery store and conspicuously talk to each other, staring straight forward or awkwardly inspecting a can of baby food.

But here's where I can add a small amount to the Deep Throat mythos. I went to college with a guy named Jacob Bernstein. Arty Vassar students that we were, we cared more about the fact that his mother was Nora Ephron than who his father was. His father, as you may have guessed, was Carl Bernstein. To make a long story short, an anonymous source who knew Jacob better than I did told me the other night that Jacob was known to occasionally blurt out Deep Throat's identity (the correct one, I'm told), except that no one knew who that was, or cared, or believed him anyway.

The moral of this story is left as an exercise for the reader.

Update: I'm even more ill-informed than previously thought. Apparently everybody already knew this but me. See the comments for more. Thanks to Dan for ruining my fun.

Posted by Will at June 6, 2005 3:23 PM


Jacob had been blurting out the Throat's identity for 17 years. He didn't just do it harmlessly in front of us Vassar kids, either. When he was nine, he told a friend who was smart enough to go on to learn about Watergate, remember that he had gotten a scoop a decade earlier, and then write a paper about it that got a fair amount of press coverage in 1999, and is being rediscovered now.

The reason the story didn't break back in '99 is that according to Jacob's parents, he didn't actually know who D.T. was, he was repeating his mother's guess that D.T. was Mark Felt. Carl Bernstein claims he never told either her or his son. Turns out her guess was right.

And I leave the moral of that to a similar reader-exercise.

Posted by: Dan at June 8, 2005 2:43 AM

Posted by: Dan at June 8, 2005 2:45 AM

Man! And here I was thinking I was breaking a big story. All right fuck it, my anonymous source was this girl named Claire that I know, I don't know her last name.

Posted by: Will at June 8, 2005 2:51 AM

you and Claire went to summer camp together, right, will?

Posted by: grosz at June 8, 2005 9:04 AM

With my brother, yeah.

Posted by: Will at June 8, 2005 10:19 AM

Any time, Will.

But hey, don't go and give away your anonymous source so quickly. We could have had a thirty-year mystery here.

Did Claire go to the same summer camp as Jacob and Culeman, in Bridgehampton, Long Island?

Posted by: Dan at June 8, 2005 11:58 AM