Video: Post reacts to scoop

msnbc.com
updated 6/9/2005 2:21:49 PM ET 2005-06-09T18:21:49

Tuesday's revelation by Vanity Fair magazine that W. Mark Felt was Deep Throat came as a surprise to most people in the U.S., including the staff at The Washington Post, the paper that broke the Watergate story in the early 70s.

David Von Drehle, a reporter for the Post that wrote the article confirming the Deep Throat revelation in Wednesday's editions and talked with Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein, talked with MSNBC's Amy Robach about how people at his paper reacted to the news.

To watch the interview, click on the link above.

Amy Robach: You write that Bob Woodward and others at the Post were understandably caught by surprise yesterday when the news came out about Vanity Fair's revelation. Can you take us inside the newsroom yesterday? What was the mood like at the Post?

David Von Drehle: It was wild. Obviously, this was something we had talked about in general terms -- what were we going to do when 'Deep Throat' died and Woodward was finally released from his pledge of secrecy -- what we didn't realize is that our hand would be forced by the Felt family. Woodward has been in touch with them for several years, he knew that Felt's daughter and son were encouraging him to go public, but he didn't realize that it was at that point. ... Bob was at a very delicate spot in handling this, because his promise was not to the kids, it was to the father, to Mark Felt, his source. He was not at all sure that Mr. Felt, at his advanced age and delicate health was able mentally to undo the promise, the pledge, the agreement that they've had for all these years, so he was cautious about moving forward.

Robach: David, as you talk about some of that continued back-and-forth between the family and Woodward, you also write that there was an email between the two as late as this past weekend with plans to that if they decided to reveal the secret that they'd reveal it together, Woodward and the family. Did Bob Woodward express disappointment to you when he heard the news that they decided to go with Vanity Fair instead of the Washington Post?

Von Drehle: Not directly. Bob, as I say, had been in talks with them, he was taken by surprise. I don't think he feels necessarily it's his job to make decisions for the Felt family. He's got his own irons in the fire. He's had a book of his own that'd he's had ready for this occasion that's being prepared by his publisher. Part of that book will be in tomorrow's Washington Post, so we will get Bob's story pretty quickly.

Robach: In a city that's not known for being able to keep secrets for too long, was Woodward at all surprised that this secret lasted for this long?

Von Drehle: You know who was really surprised was the editor of the Post in those days, Ben Bradlee. He said to me, 'Who would have given odds that a secret could be kept this long?' Woodward and Bernstein had another approach to that when I walked to them. They were very serious when they made their promise to this man 33 years ago, and to other sources that they had to encourage to tell this very explosive story. They tried to get people on the record, but some of them were too nervous to that, and they knew when they made that promise that they intended to keep that, so they weren't surprised that they were able to do so.   

MSNBC Live with Amy Robach and Randy Meier can be seen weekdays from 9 a.m.-Noon.

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