JIM LEHRER: It wasn't until the summer of 2005 that
the identity of 'Deep Throat' was revealed. In an
interview with Vanity Fair Magazine, Mark Felt,
the former number two man in the FBI, announced that
he was 'Deep Throat.' For more than 30 years, Woodward
kept his identity a secret. Bernstein knew from the
beginning, but Bradlee did not until after Nixon left
JIM LEHRER: I was surprised when I found out that you did not
know who 'Deep Throat' was, you, the Executive Editor,
until Nixon resigned. Is that right?
BEN BRADLEE: Yes, that's right.
JIM LEHRER: Why didn't you know before?
BEN BRADLEE: Well, I was surprised by that. I was
JIM LEHRER: You're still surprised by that.
BEN BRADLEE: I'm still surprised that, that I didn't
insist on knowing it earlier and I--it never happened
again. The first information I heard--you know, when
I said who's your source, well, there's this friend
of Woodward's that's really well placed and the information
turned out to be right. You know, you can't beat having
somebody tell you the truth and the second time and
the third time. So, the guy was always right. And
I knew where he stood in the pecking order. I knew
vaguely what department and--
JIM LEHRER: The Justice Department, you knew he was
in the Justice Department somewhere over there?
BEN BRADLEE: I knew he was in the Justice Department.
JIM LEHRER: Including the FBI, which is a part of
BEN BRADLEE: And I--I mean, I'm working to convince
myself right now that, that I should--that, that was
enough that I knew. It probably wasn't. I should have
known who the hell he was. No, none of the Grahams
asked me who it was. Nobody asked me who it was and
that's funny. I mean, think of that for a minute.
I don't think that would happen today.
JIM LEHRER: At the time of Watergate, Katherine Graham,
widow of Philip Graham, was the paper's publisher.
She supported the reporting of Woodward and Bernstein
and like Bradlee, never asked for the identity of
JIM LEHRER: How responsible is the owner-publisher
of the newspaper for what goes in the newspaper on
the news side?
BEN BRADLEE: The publisher is totally responsible.
I mean, she owns it. In our case, she, now he. I mean,
for all of Katherine's status as a social hostess,
she was the little girl in the newsroom. She just
loved to come down there. And if we had a good story,
she couldn't possibly leave without checking on it.
And all during Watergate, you know, she would sometimes
say, are you sure you're right.
JIM LEHRER: And leave you alone?
BEN BRADLEE: Absolutely.
JIM LEHRER: Both the Grahams?
BEN BRADLEE: The glory of the Grahams was that they'd
listen and talk to you and then say, it's your call
and which, you know, editors dream of having people
like that as their bosses.
JIM LEHRER: There's a lot of talk in the business
about firewalls. There's the news department. There's
a firewall between the news department and the publisher.
There's also talk about a firewall between the news
department and the business side. But how does that
BEN BRADLEE: Well, I think it has to be established
that the business side does not dictate in any way
to the, to the news side.
JIM LEHRER: Another firewall, the firewall between
the news side--
BEN BRADLEE: Yeah.
JIM LEHRER: --and the editorial page. Explain that.
BEN BRADLEE: Well, we did not want the opinion of
the Post to dictate any news decision that we made.
The opinion of the owners, as represented by the editorial
page, was theirs. That's their page. They can write
what they want or hire people to write what they want,
but they can't serve their interests by manipulating
the editor. It's just that, that's the way it is in
a good paper. I never attended an editorial board
meeting in my life and they were not asked to the
news meetings. It's church and state.