Assistant Attorney General Henry Petersen
Assistant Attorney General Henry Petersen was the Justice Department’s No. 1 Watergate investigator—and he regularly sneaked the Nixon White House privileged information that allowed the Nixon administration to forestall the Watergate inquiry until after the 1972 presidential election.
by Don Fulsom
Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein relied on “Deep Throat” for inside intelligence on Watergate—the scandal they broke open 40 summers ago as rookie local reporters for The Washington Post. Over the next two years, with extensive help from their dreamboat of a secret source, “Woodstein” wrote more than 400 exclusive stories about what became our biggest political scandal.
Their main source was the ever-accurate Mark Felt, the No. 2 man at the FBI. Felt was a friend of, and father figure to, Woodward. A cagey pro at his craft, Felt had access to more Watergate clues, findings and secrets than just about anyone. His identity as The Post’s Subterranean Oracle (he favored post-midnight meetings with Woodward in a certain underground parking garage near a specific pillar) was not revealed until early this century, just before Felt’s death.
Far less known, but probably just as important, is that the prime architect of the Watergate cover-up, President Richard Nixon, had his own Deep Throat. The Nixon’s loyalist and critically placed surreptitious leaker was a little-remembered man named Henry Petersen, who was even better informed than Felt was, at least on breaking prosecutorial developments.