Because I have had lunch with Carl Bernstein and Bob Woodward, people assumed I knew who Deep Throat was.
I did pry. I remember once asking Woodward, "Been in any good garages lately?"
Another time I noticed Bernstein had a cold and kept sneezing. I asked, "Who gave you the cold?"
But unlike a lot of nosy people, I didn't just come out and ask them point-blank who it was, what they were hiding and why they were hiding him.
Both reporters remained mum. You have to remember this was when you still could use unnamed sources.
When I had no luck with Woodward and Bernstein, I decided to take a different tack. I would talk to Robert Redford and Dustin Hoffman, who were sure to know who Deep Throat was, or they never would have made "All the President's Men."
Neither actor would admit he knew, but their press agents hinted they did, and the item got into all the newspapers.
This does not mean I didn't have my own suspects. I knew he had to be someone who could go out at night and lie to his wife that he was having an affair.
He had to find a garage that was open all night and charged only $3.50 an hour.
Woodward and Bernstein put the garage fees on their expense accounts and their editor, Ben Bradlee, at The Washington Post, okayed them.
I have known Bradlee for 40 years, and I know he is cheap with The Post's money, so I believed he would never sign the voucher if he thought the reporters were making up Deep Throat.
After the film came out, the speculation reached a peak. Everyone in Washington claimed they knew who Deep Throat was, or knew someone who knew someone who knew.
People went to jail for being involved in Watergate -- Haldeman, Ehrlichman, Dean, Colson and Liddy. All paid the price for a stupid, third-rate burglary.
The people who spent time in prison suspected one of them blew the whistle on the others. They were bitter because they didn't know who it was.
Deep Throat made Woodward and Bernstein very rich. They had a book, a film and lecture tours, and this year they sold their papers to the University of Texas for $5 million. All for keeping a secret.
Am I jealous? Of course I am. I don't blame them, but I do blame Bradlee for not giving me the story. I told him at the time, "I am not chopped chicken liver."
Did I have candidates? Of course I did. They included Dan Rather, the crew of "60 Minutes" and Robert Novak. Why Novak? He would leak it to other reporters so they wouldn't think it was him.
The long nightmare is over. W. Mark Felt, the second-in-command in the FBI, did it. At 91, he is so famous he will probably appear on "Larry King Live."
There is talk that the garage should be made into a shrine. People from all over the world will come there.
Those who visit will be charged $3.50, or $6 for valet parking.
Pictures of those who made Nixon's enemies list will hang on the wall, and Nixon's Watergate tapes will be available.
For some people it was a day of shame; for others, like Woodward and Bernstein, it was a night to remember.
(c) 2005, Tribune Media Services