Reporters' Watergate notes released

Woodward And Bernstein's Watergate Papers Go On Display
More than 75 document boxes of materials created by Woodward and Bernstein while covering Watergate went on display Feb. 4 at the Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center at the University of Texas in Austin.Jana Birchum / Getty Images

Nearly 33 years after the first pieces of the puzzle began to emerge in what became the Watergate scandal, the notes of the two reporters who broke the story went on public display for the first time Friday. And scholars are already searching through them, looking for clues to the biggest unsolved mystery of Watergate.

The scraps of paper that fueled one of the biggest political firestorms in U.S. history were carefully cataloged and made part of the permanent archives of the University of Texas at Austin.

Washington Post reporters Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein pieced the Watergate story together, bit by bit.

"It's a pretty complete portrait of what happened to us during that two years," says Woodward.

One actual page from Woodward's notebook shows the beginning, noting "five men arrested at Democratic National Headquarters." As later dramatized in a movie, he scribbled those notes when the Watergate burglars were brought into court.

The archives reveal how much the two reporters relied on sources in President Nixon's own party.

"The Republican Party came together, recognized what this president had done, and was really responsible for him leaving office," says Bernstein.

After Nixon resigned, one of his lawyers, Fred Buzhardt, helped them reconstruct what ultimately led the president to step down. And former Sen. Barry Goldwater told them he began to think that Nixon was "off his head."

But nothing in what's been made public so far reveals the identity of their mystery source, nicknamed "Deep Throat."

Even so, investigative reporting students and their professor drove from Illinois to be first in line to look for clues.

"We would like to explain, I think, not only who Deep Throat is, but what Deep Throat's role was in Watergate," says professor William Gaines from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign.

Though already extensive, the Watergate archives will continue to grow, as sources, including Deep Throat, die, freeing Woodward and Bernstein to reveal yet more secrets.