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Deep Throat Uncloaked

Aired May 31, 2005 - 20:00   ET


PAULA ZAHN, CNN ANCHOR: Good evening, everybody. Welcome. Thanks so much for joining us.
Tonight, one of the biggest mysteries in American history is solved.


ZAHN (voice-over): After three decades, he stepped out of the shadows.


UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: Just follow the money.


ZAHN: Watergate's ultimate insider, who followed his conscience and helped bring down a president.

RICHARD NIXON, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I shall resign the presidency, effective at noon tomorrow.

ZAHN: Tonight, political history, Deep Throat revealed.


ZAHN: So much of how we think now goes back to Watergate, fear of trusting authority, of trusting even the president, reporters routinely relying on unnamed sources, the sense that the media is out to get politicians.

All of that goes back to water Watergate. And without Deep Throat, the ultimate anonymous source, the ugly secrets of the Nixon administration might not never come to light and Nixon might not have resigned. So, today history was made with the revelation that Mark Felt, former number two at the White House -- or, excuse me, at the FBI was Deep Throat.

In Washington, where information is power and keeping secrets is nearly impossible, this one survived for 33 years. The news broke this morning through a story in "Vanity Fair." Then, late in the afternoon, "The Washington Post" confirmed it on its Web site. And then the family of 91-year-old Mark Felt talked with reporters.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's a great moment in human -- in American history. It's a great moment for our family.

My dad, I know him -- I know him so well, and he's a great man. He's so kind. He's so attentive to other people and loving. And we're all so proud of him, not only for his role in history, but for that, for the character that he is, the person that he is. We love him very much. And we're really happy. And thank you for your acknowledgement and your interest.

What's it like to be the grandson of Deep Throat?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It feels fine. It feels good.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're really proud, really proud.


ZAHN: Those were family members of Mark Felt, proclaiming what a great patriot he is, although, we're told that he, at this late stage in his life, is conflicted about the role he played in Watergate.

We are joined now tonight by one of the planners of the Watergate break-in, G. Gordon Liddy, Leonard Garment, who was President Nixon's White House attorney, who will join us on the telephone, and journalist Ronald Kessler, who has interviewed Felt and written two books on the FBI, and "Washington Post" media critic Howard Kurtz. We will eventually be seeing Howard's face.

And we'll be taking your questions tonight. You can call us at 1-800-304-3638 or e-mail us at

First, though, what we know about Mark Felt, Deep Throat, from Judy Woodruff.


JUDY WOODRUFF, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Meet the answer to one of the greatest American riddles. This 91-year-old California retiree is the secret source who used to meet Bob Woodward in dimly- lit garages more than 30 years ago, who famously told the young reporter to:


UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: Just follow the money.


WOODRUFF: And who helped topple a president.

NIXON: I shall resign the presidency effective at noon tomorrow.

WOODRUFF: Woodward called him Deep Throat, a homage to the blockbuster porn movie. His true identity had never been revealed or uncovered.

But now we know. Deep Throat is Mark Felt, the number two man at the FBI in the Nixon era. Woodward confirmed it tonight with former "Post" editor Ben Bradlee, one of three men in on the secret, saying, "The number two guy at the FBI, that was a pretty good source."

"Vanity Fair" broke the new this is morning in a splashy article. Felt reportedly told the writer, attorney John O'Connor, "I'm the guy they called Deep Throat." Unlike other Throat suspects, Felt isn't a household name, but he has long been a favorite pick of Watergate aficionados.

A protege of J. Edgar Hoover, Felt oversaw the investigation into the Watergate break-in, had access to lots of sensitive information. He had another role, too, an ironic one. The president's men tapped him to ferret out press leaks. He refused. In his own 1979 memoir, Felt wrote: "It was this sequence of events which led both the White House staff and top Justice Department officials to the conclusion that I was Deep Throat."

In fact, Nixon's chief of staff, Bob Haldeman, fingered Felt to the president. Felt denied it then and many times since. But the "Vanity Fair" report says Felt eventually came clean to his own family, told them he hated how Nixon was manipulating the FBI, that he spilled secrets to protect the institution.

This evening, Woodward told "The Post" Felt had hoped to take over the FBI upon Hoover's death. He was passed over. So, he retired from the FBI in 1973, before Richard Nixon was forced from the White House. In 1978, the former agent was indicted for approving other Nixon-era break-ins, raids on leftist anti-war groups. He was convicted and later pardoned by Ronald Reagan. And then Mark Felt slipped into obscurity, until now.



ZAHN: And that was Judy Woodruff reporting for us tonight.

I want to call your attention to the screen, because we have a really group of interesting guest with us tonight. And they'll be taking your phone calls about the revelation about who Deep Throat is, 1-800-304-3638 or you can e-mail us at

Joining me now from Washington, one of the men who planned the Watergate break-in, former FBI agent G. Gordon Liddy, who was also an assistant to President Nixon, served time in prison for his role in Watergate and now is a radio talk show host. Also in Washington, Ronald Kessler, a journalist who has worked with Woodward and Bernstein, the two journalists who, in their late 20s, broke the story. He has also interviewed Mark Felt and written two books on the FBI, including "The Bureau: The Secret History of the FBI." And "Washington Post" media critic Howard Kurtz, also host of CNN, our own "RELIABLE SOURCES." And on the phone with us, Leonard Garment, who was President Nixon's special counsel. Good to have all of you with us tonight.

Mr. Liddy, you heard Mr. Felt's family sort of urge the American public to view their ailing 91-year-old father and grandfather as an American hero, a patriot. How do you view him?

G. GORDON LIDDY, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: I view him as someone who violated the ethics of the law enforcement profession, in that, if he possessed evidence of wrongdoing, he was honor-bound to take that to a grand jury and secure an indictment, not to selectively leak it to a single news source.

ZAHN: But can we not deduce from what has been said in reports over the last 30 years, he was afraid to do that, because he never thought that it would be investigated seriously?

LIDDY: Well, there is actually more questions about this whole thing than there are answers.

For example, as number two man in the FBI, he would have been well aware of the fact that the FBI, with the United States attorney for the District of Columbia, were investigating the prostitution ring that was being run out of the Columbia Plaza apartments, right across from the Watergate office building. He would have been aware that the FBI had detected a link between the prostitution ring and the DNC. He would have been aware of the fact that they had arrested the lawyer who was charged with running the thing, that they had all the information about it.

He would have been aware of the fact that the Democrats themselves found the wiretap not on Lawrence O'Brien.

ZAHN: All right.

LIDDY: But on the phone that was shared by the woman whose desk it was that was the target and all of that.


LIDDY: And if he told that to Woodward, why did Woodward not print that?


ZAHN: Mr. Kessler, these are some troubling questions that Mr. Liddy raises. What about them?

RONALD KESSLER, AUTHOR, "THE BUREAU": Well, I don't see it as troubling at all.

I sat next to Carl Bernstein during Watergate. And Woodward would come over every night and Bernstein would write the stories and Woodward and he would argue about everything and talk about their sources. You know, there was a crime committed. These were low-level reporters who were really honored to work on this story. They didn't realize how big it was. They worked hard. They stayed up until midnight, knocking on doors.

They got a lot of sources. One of them was Deep Throat. It was not the only source, by any means. Deep Throat sort of gave them more reassurance, because the fact is that Nixon was trying to cover up this whole investigation. He was trying to suppress it. That's certainly why Mark Felt cooperated with Woodward.

And the FBI was afraid that it would be suppressed. Nixon actually made up some story about CIA secrets that have to be protected. Therefore, the FBI shouldn't investigate. I interviewed a lot of the FBI agents who worked this case, and they were always amazed that, you know, a lot of their material would end up in "The Washington Post" a few days later.

And so, it had to be a very important source, such as Mark Felt. But they also were afraid that it would be suppressed. And that's what it comes down to. And even though the FBI agents were not going to back down, if at all possible, really, the future of this country was at stake, because Nixon, I think, would have torn up the Constitution in a second to protect himself.

And so, that's why I say that Mark Felt was an American hero.

ZAHN: Mr. Garment, you may see it differently. We mentioned that you were former counsel -- or former counsel to President Nixon. You, at -- from time to time were considered as a possibility as Deep Throat. Are you relieved? Do you feel any sense of syndication tonight that your name is now forever erased from that list?

LEONARD GARMENT, FORMER NIXON WHITE HOUSE ATTORNEY: Thank you. It's a relief to be able to say that it's now established that I'm not Deep Throat. I never considered that an encomium.

But let's start with this. As a rule of thumb, every secret deserves a decent burial. And I think that this particular secret will probably receive a state funeral. There will be a great deal of speculation and a lot of excitement. And I think a key point in the story, at least to me, was the indication from Mark Felt that the reason he kept the secret for 31 years was because he Felt that what he had done could well be considered dishonorable.

And I think that's the central question. Richard Nixon was -- resigned his office. He was guilty of participating in the cover-up. We know all of that. Woodward and Bernstein did a hell of a job of reporting and received appropriate credit and reward for that. We know all that.

The question at heart here is the question relating to sourcing and when government persons, having private, secret, confidential information, are justified to become the whistle-blower and defy or ignore their sworn obligation to maintain security and go to the press with it. It's a difficult question. It's not an easy one to resolve. Mark Felt apparently is still not able to resolve that question.

ZAHN: You could certainly sense that from the "Vanity Fair" article, if you read between the lines. Let's move on to Howard Kurtz now.

It's interesting that Mr. Garment, who you cannot see, but we heard, actually mentioned other possibilities in the book he wrote just five years ago about who Deep Throat was and, up until today, wasn't convinced, perhaps, that it was Mark Felt. This was a very well-kept secret, Howie. You got three people at "The Washington Post" that knew about it, Ben Bradlee, who was the editor at the time, the two reporters who broke the story, Mark Felt himself.

This guy kept quiet through seven presidencies. He is a guy who could have cashed in on his story through film for a great deal of money at any point in time. How was it that his identity was kept so secure?

HOWARD KURTZ, "RELIABLE SOURCES": Well, in a nutshell, Paula, because so very few people knew about it and weren't willing to talk about it, although it's ironic, after three decades, that "The Washington Post" ended up getting scooped on its own secret by "Vanity Fair."

But going to -- sources often have complex motivation. We wrestle this with this today in the case of "Newsweek," whose source was wrong about Guantanamo Bay, in the case of the Valerie Plame leak investigation.

And, in terms of Mark Felt, you're right. He obviously was conflicted. And Gordon Liddy says he betrayed the administration. He did. He betrayed a corrupt Nixon administration and a corrupt Justice Department, then headed by John Mitchell. So, I think we ought to keep in mind, he's not necessarily a hero. He lied about his role being Deep Throat. He later was indicted for other Watergate-related activities.

But he did, ultimately, I guess, have the pangs of conscience to feel that this information had to get out. And, often, although anonymous sources are used and overused and abused by the press, often, promising somebody anonymity is the only way to get information of very important nature, as we saw in Watergate and as we've seen in many investigations since then.

ZAHN: We're going to take a short break here and take your phone calls and your e-mails.

Please stay with us. We'll be right back.


ZAHN: ... FBI was Deep Throat is a reminder of how Watergate changed so many things in this country.

Joining me now from Los Angeles, "Washington Post" media critic and host of CNN's "RELIABLE SOURCES," Howard Kurtz. With me again from Washington, author Ronald Kessler and G. Gordon Liddy. And, on the phone with us tonight, former Nixon White House counsel Leonard Garment. Welcome back.

We're going to take a phone call from one of our viewers now. We have David from Louisiana on the line.

What's your question, David?

CALLER: Good afternoon, Paula. And good evening to your panel.

My question is to Mr. Liddy. Earlier today, Mr. Pat Buchanan came on TV and said he thought Mr. Felt was a traitor to America. I wanted to get Mr. Liddy's opinion on, does he agree with that or does he think Mr. Felt did an honorable thing by coming forward and revealing something that was going on behind -- going on within the Nixon administration? I'll get off the phone, but thank you so much.


ZAHN: Thank you, David, for your question.

You touched on that a little bit earlier on, Mr. Liddy, when you said, unlike his family, you do not view him as a patriot or a hero, mainly because you didn't think he was truthful with the grand jury, right?

Mr. Liddy, can you hear us?

Apparently, we're having trouble with that hookup with Mr. Liddy.

But let's move along to Ronald Kessler, who doesn't agree with that notion.

But you certainly can answer David's question. Here was a guy who betrayed a corrupt White House. Where is the heroism in that?

KESSLER: Well, it certainly is a difficult ethical question.

As an FBI agent, he was not supposed to leak to the press. But I think, in a few cases in our American history, it is, you know, justified in retrospect. This was a situation where, you know, as I said, Nixon very well could have torn up the Constitution. He really would stop at nothing to protect himself. And I think that Felt had the larger interests of the country at heart.

ZAHN: We're going to take another phone call right now, James from Tennessee.

James, what's on your mind tonight?

CALLER: Deep Throat -- of course, Deep Throat wouldn't have had a secret, had it not been for whoever it was discovered the burglars. I have not heard a thing said about that person. It seems like that would be the real American hero that is totally just unsung and left out of the whole deal here. Any information from any of your panelists or you, Ms. Zahn, on who that person was? And whatever happened to that -- it was a man, is all I know. ZAHN: I think Mr. Kessler and Mr. Garment are two that could...


ZAHN: Who the real hero is in all this and who uncovered the burglary?

Mr. Garment, can you hear us? Because you wrote a book about this as recently as five years ago.

GARMENT: I forget -- I forget the name of the guard who picked at the tape and saw the double-placed tape and called the police. So, he was an unsung hero and, like many unsung heroes, did not reap any of the benefits.

But let me just add this. In my view, in my humble view, the -- Richard Nixon's downfall was inevitable from the time the burglars were caught and a grand jury was impaneled and Earl Silbert and the U.S. attorney's office went to work on that case. Virtually everything that was ever known about Watergate was revealed in the deliberations of the grand jury, witnesses called by the -- produced by the FBI and called by Earl Silbert, so, that the course of history, I think, would not have been changed one bit.

I think it was accelerated by the stories that Woodward and Bernstein wrote. And, of course, these are always very complicated matters of motivation, when you're dealing with sources. How much of it is sheer patriotism? How much of it is less than the most honorable motivation, such as has been, of course, talked about with respect to Mark Felt, who was deeply disappointed that he was passed over for director of FBI in the job given to Pat Gray, who made a terrible mess out of it.

ZAHN: Sure. And there are people who have come out today who said that that was his motivation.


And, Paula, how much of it is that sense of power that persons who have secrets to divulge to the press feel and enjoy while breaching their responsibilities? It's not an easy question to resolve. There are ethical wrongs on one side. There are more grievous wrongs on the other side here. But it's not a very pat matter, where you can say this person was a hero and this person was a villain.

ZAHN: As we can see in these questions in abundance tonight, as we wrestle with these tough ideas that you pose.

Howard Kurtz, Ronald Kessler, G. Gordon Liddy, Leonard Garment, we apologize for some of the technical problems we're having right now. We're going to work on them during this short break. And then we will have more of your calls and e-mails on the other side.

The number to call is 1-800-304-3638. And the address to reach us at is at We look forward to your responses. Stay with us.


ZAHN: And welcome back.

We continue our discussion about today's big news, that Mark Felt, a former number two man at the FBI, was, in fact, Deep Throat.

My guests, from Los Angeles, "Washington Post" media critic and host of "RELIABLE SOURCES" here on CNN, Howard Kurtz. With me again from Washington, author Ronald Kessler, and, on the phone, former Nixon White House counsel Leonard Garment.

Welcome back.

We're going to take another call now from Kasan from Michigan.

Kasan, fire away.

CALLER: Hi, Paula. I'm glad that you have me on the show. And good evening to your panelists.

Let me say quickly that I'm hoping that Mr. Felt isn't watching this show. The reason for that is, at the time that Watergate was happening, I was 12 years old. And instead of running home -- this is a true story -- instead of running home to watch cartoons, I ran home every single day to watch the Watergate hearings. And I had absolutely no idea what was going on, but, as it unfolded, what I realized was that there was this one person who had put their life and limb on the line to bring the truth out to the story regarding this Watergate thing.

ZAHN: And your question today?


CALLER: Right. And I'm saying, today, I'm realizing who that person is. And I'm very pleased to know it's Mr. Felt. I do think he's a hero and very ethical patriot.

My question is, don't you believe -- because everyone is asking the question, why is he revealing himself now? Isn't it obvious that he's doing this so that, had he not had a chance to speak for himself or, God forbid, be on his deathbed, someone would then question his mental capacity or had he, God forbid, passed before it was revealed, his daughter and his son or grandsons would not have the ability to confirm that he, indeed, was Deep Throat?


ZAHN: Let's let our panelists tackle that question.

G. Gordon Liddy, the question is why Mr. Felt would reveal himself and his identity today. He's an ailing 91-year-old man.


LIDDY: According to the story, because he was urged to do so by his family for the money. He was very reluctant to do so, because he feels -- and correctly, in my view -- a sense of dishonor.

ZAHN: We have got an e-mail now from Douglas from Utah. And he writes...

KESSLER: Well, he was very close to FBI agents who are his friends. And now, of course, most of them are dead. So, that's one factor. And the other factor is the family.

ZAHN: OK. Thank you for reinforcing that.

I'm going to move on to this e-mail now. And this gentleman writes, Douglas: "I take it that President Nixon went to his grave not knowing who Deep Throat was. Or does anyone think he knew?'

Let me ask you about that, Ronald Kessler, because isn't it true that the White House tapes, actually, from October of 1972, showed H.R. Haldeman telling Richard Nixon that he believed that Mark Felt was the guy leaking information to the press?


But, you know, it's one thing to speculate and it's another to know or to have real information. So, until we got the confirmation -- and, also, when I interviewed Mark Felt in 2001, I found that his daughter told me that Bob Woodward had stopped by, unannounced, about a year and a half earlier and under very mysterious circumstances, that Bob came in a limousine, but had the limousine park two blocks down the street.

So, he wanted to, you know, see him very secretly. They went out and had lunch and had martinis, of all things, which is pretty unusual for Woodward.


KESSLER: But, in my mind, there was no reason why Woodward would go see Mark Felt now. He was not working on an FBI book and certainly not try to keep it secret, the way he did, unless he was a source and he was still trying to maintain that secrecy.

ZAHN: Howard, I want to bring you into the conversation now, because there's some really interesting stories about how Woodward and Bernstein maintained this secrecy over the years. I don't know whether you can give us a little detail about how Woodward would position a flower pot with a red construction flag at the rear of his apartment to signal to Felt that he wanted to talk to him, and didn't Felt -- and actually, mysteriously, write, sort of, the clocks with hands on page 20 of "The New York Times" before it was even delivered to Woodward on a daily basis, which would signal their next meeting time?

HOWARD KURTZ, MEDIA CRITIC, "WASHINGTON POST": All of that happened according to Woodward's account, and the reason we know about that is not just the book that they wrote, but the movie "All the Presidents' Men" with Hal Holbrook in the role of Deep Throat, which kind of made journalists, at least very briefly, into heroes.

The impact on today's journalism, Paula, is that, obviously, the news business is not looked upon that way anymore and I think too many journalists wanting to be the next Woodward, wanting to be the next movie star played by Robert Redford, got sloppy or lazy or overly aggressive or overly prosecutorial in relying on unnamed sources, some of whom, it turned out, didn't know what they were talking about, as we saw in the recent "Newsweek" fiasco, and I think that approach, and turning every two-bit scandal into a "gate" that would be a Watergate- like intensity, I think, helped turn the public against the news media, unlike the rather fine reputation it enjoyed just briefly in the mid-70s because of the glorification of the "Post" over Watergate.

ZAHN: Watergate, 33 years later, teaching us some pretty pointed question about ethics and a whole range of issues. G. Gordon Liddy, Ronald Kessler, Howard Kurtz, Leonard Garment, thank you so much for your perspective tonight. We really appreciate you joining us.

And when we come back, we're going to change our gears in a moment. Coming up next, a band whose leader is more than happy to get political.

Please stay with us as Bono and U2 juggle music and politics.


ZAHN: Flashback time: Freddy Mercury and Queen performing some 20 years ago at the star-studded LiveAid concert. Musician Bob Geldof organized that concert to focus the world's attention on the famine in Ethiopia. Well, today, Geldof announced plans for a sequel of sorts. This time his goal is to end poverty in Africa. He's staging five concerts in July to put pressure on the world's richest nations before the G8 Summit in Scotland.


BOB GELDOF, FOUNDER, LIVE 8: It posed a fantastic, unique opportunity in the political life of this country, especially married to the coincidence of the LiveAid 20th anniversary. So, it seemed to me that we could gather together again, but this time, not for charity, but for political justice.


ZAHN: In 1985, LiveAid not only raised millions to help the hungry in Ethiopia, it helped put the band U2 on the map, and this year the Irish rockers released their 14th album, "How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb," which soared to number one. But the band has had some speed bumps along the way, including a disastrous album in 1997 that turned off many fans. U2 is the focus of tonight's "People in the News" profile.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) ZAHN: In 2001, U2 went back on tour with a mission. It was reapplying for the title of the biggest band in the world.


ZAHN: The over-the-top spectacle of his Pop Mart tour was gone. In its place, a stripped-out, back-to-basics approach. U2 had changed yet again, turning to the past to find new direction.

THE EDGE, U2 GUITARIST: We were looking to ourselves a lot more than normal and maybe, you know, along the way, taking lessons from previous records.

ZAHN: The gamble paid off. Its 2000 album "All That You Can't Leave Behind" was a critic critical and commercial success that put U2 back on top.

BONO: "All That You Can't Leave Behind" is really just about getting to the heart and soul of what our band is about, which is the four of us playing in a room together.

ZAHN: However, getting U2 in the same room isn't always easy, especially with a lead singer who has a second job, activist.

BONO: We want the rich countries to drop the debts that are owed to them by the poorest countries.

My political life has come out of my artistic life, and the band has always believed that the job of rock'n'roll is to change the world.

ZAHN: At times, it seems like Bono is everywhere, but in U2. Speeches, meetings and photo op after photo op, hoping to change the world one politician at a time.

BONO: Am I being used? Probably. Am I cheap date? No.

LARRY MULLEN, JR., U2 DRUMMER: It is another job. He spends as much time on Africa as he does on U2 now.

PAUL MCGUINNESS, U2 MANAGER: I worry about him, because he overschedules himself, and he takes too much on at times, but he has more energy than 10 normal people.

BONO: I have no choice about this. I don't want to do this. I would much rather be in the studio, in a rehearsal room and singing songs. I wake up in the morning with melodies in my head. It's the easiest thing for me.

ZAHN: Instead, he has been nominated for the Noble Peace prize for his work that focuses on eliminating debt for third-world nations, fair trade issues, and helping to fight AIDS in Africa.

BONO: For seven cents out of $10, you can change millions of lives. I want to be part of the generation that says no to extreme poverty, says no to the idea that children can die for the lack of a cheap immunization or food in its belly, and I want to be the generation that puts an end to that. I want to be part of that, and I think the band feels proud to be part of that generation. I just wish it didn't take up so much of this singer's time.

ZAHN: All four members of U2 are in one place again right now, touring the world behind their latest album "How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb."

THE EDGE: This record, I believe, is our best, most accomplished record, and I think we can make a better record.

MULLEN: It's always wanting more. It's wanting the cherry on the cake with some extra jam, and it's always about that. I think that's why, you know, that's why we've stuck it out.

ZAHN: They've been together for nearly 30 years, four friends from high school, once again, the biggest band in the world.

STEVE LILLYWHITE, U2 PRODUCER: They still have the same spirit and the same feeling that they had in the early days, which is they think they're the worst band in the world.

MULLEN: We didn't learn how to play and we don't play proficiently. We don't play particularly well.

THE EDGE: And that's our secret, in a sense.

CLAYTON: Individually, we can't really go very far without the help of the other three.

MULLEN: We play together well. It's what happens in U2 that makes it special.

BONO: Relationships don't last. Marriages break up. So, when you see four people who have stood together and with each other through so much, I think it's a very powerful thing.


ZAHN: A real team there. They've proven that. U2's commitment to social change continues, too. The band will be on the bill for Bob Geldof's Live Aid concerts this summer.

Coming up next, an unforgettable and an on-camera showdown.


MIKE CHINOY, CNN SR. ASIA CORRESPONDENT: Out of nowhere, this man in a white shirt ran in front of the tank. The tank stopped, and, for a heart-stopping four or five minutes, there was this extraordinary drama.

(END VIDEO CLIP) ZAHN: Please stay with us for a highlight of CNN's first quarter century.


ZAHN: CNN has had an extraordinary window on history, capturing events as they unfold and sending those images all over the world, like the protests in China in 1989, when students challenged their communist leaders and demanded change.

Tonight, the showdown at Tiananmen Square, part of our weeklong look at the defining moments in CNN's 25-year history.


CHINOY: Hu Yaobang's death on the 15th of April 1989 was the catalyst for everything that followed that spring. Hu Yaobang was to many Chinese a symbol of hopes for reform, and he had been ousted by Communist Party hard-liners two years earlier.

WANG DAN, EXILED TIANANMEN LEADER: Due to his death, we all think we have to do something, like go to street to show our sorrow for him.

BERNARD SHAW, FORMER CNN ANCHOR: CNN had been there to cover that historic summit between Deng Xiaoping and Mikhail Gorbachev, but the crowds just multiplied and increased. They had taken over Tiananmen Square, demanding democracy.

CHINOY: Unbelievable. We all came here to cover a summit and we walked into a revolution.

CYNDE STRAND, CNN PHOTOGRAPHER: We couldn't believe that the government tolerated this, that it had let it go on this far. They were being embarrassed. They were being humiliated on TV every night around the world, and they pulled the plug on it.

SHAW: And now, as we report to our viewers around the world, martial law has been declared in Beijing. I am being told that the government officials are coming into the CNN control room now.

ALEC MIRAN, CNN EXEC. PRODUCER: And they said, we are here to tell you that the coverage of Gorbachev is over. Your task is over.

The bosses are saying that for us to go off the air, we would require it in writing.

Our policy is the government has ordered us to shut down our facility. We are shutting down our facility.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Can we sign off? Maybe sign off?


SHAW: OK. We've heard the orders. We have our instructions from headquarters in Atlanta. STRAND: After martial law was declared and they pulled the plug on our broadcast, we didn't have a way to get our pictures out. So, we would do something called pigeon them out. And in those days, it was fairly easy to do. You would take your tape to the airport, a copy of your tape, and you would find a sympathetic person to carry the tape for you.

And in this case, we had tapes taken to Hong Kong.

On the afternoon of June 3rd, I mean, you could feel it. You could just feel things were going in a bad direction.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The assault on Tiananmen Square is now under way.

CHINOY: Later that evening, the soldiers began to move in. I could see below me little bicycle carts where people who had been shot were dumped in the back, and then the rider would pedal furiously, taking these victims off to hospitals.

WANG: One of my classmates came back from Tiananmen Square, and he told me that the troop shoot at students.

CHINOY: And as dawn broke, the People's Liberation Army was in full control of the square. The student movement had been crushed.

It happened the day after the morning. The column of tanks had started to leave Tiananmen Square. Out of nowhere, this man in a white shirt ran in front of the tank. The tank stopped, and, for a heart-stopping four or five minutes, there was this extraordinary drama. The big question was, what would happen? Would he be run over? Would they shoot him?

WANG: I saw that picture. It was a young man standing in front of the tank. We never know who he is, and right now, nobody know where he is.

I was arrested in 1989, in -- in July.

CHINOY: Wang Dan spent most of the decade after Tiananmen in China in jail. He is now a graduate student at Harvard University.

WANG: I think I was pretty proud of my role at that time, because I think finally I can really do something to change history.

SHAW: That was our contribution, being there, reporting what was happening. It was historic. The People's Republic of China is going to be the next superpower, and what we were able to do was to provide a window for the world to peek through and see that beneath the facade, there is much ferment, much unrest.


ZAHN: And that story and other defining moments in the history of CNN will be featured in a special prime-time event tomorrow night to mark our 25th anniversary. It gets under way at 8:00 Eastern, 5:00 Pacific. We hope you'll all join us then.

Coming up, though, Jeanne Moos takes the day's big news to the streets. Stay with us for some deep thoughts about Deep Throat.


ZAHN: Still to come tonight, former president George Bush is among the guests at the very top of the hour on a very special "LARRY KING LIVE." But first, time for a look at today's other top stories. Erica Hill from HEADLINE NEWS joins us.

HILL: Thanks, Paula.

In a few hours, hurricane season officially begins along the Atlantic and Gulf Coast shorelines. Today, Colorado State forecasters predicted a very active season, with at least 15 named tropical storms and eight full-blown hurricanes. To put that in perspective, there were six hurricanes in last year; four made land fall causing $40 billion in damage. But forecasters say there's actually been a decrease in the number of cyclones worldwide in the last decade.

Two American citizens tonight are charged tonight with conspiring to provide material support for al Qaeda suspects. Those suspects -- for al Qaeda terrorists, rather -- the suspects were charged in courts in New York City and Ft. Piece -- Pierce -- Florida. They were identified as Tariq Ibn Osman Shah, and Rafiq Sabir. The feds accuse of them of meeting to set up training sessions for al Qaeda terrorists and included martial arts and hand-to-hand combat. They are also accused of conspiring to offer medical assistance to wounded jihadists in Saudi Arabia. If convicted, both could get up to 15 years in prison and a quarter million dollar in fines.

An Iraqi government crackdown on insurgents in the Baghdad area continues after weeks of suicide bombings and other violence, but today, the governor of a province in western Iraq was killed as U.S. forces pursued his abductors.

Imagine a chocolate-flavored cigarette that actually helps you lose weight. Well, it doesn't exist, but Harvard researchers say, that is just one of the ideas tobacco companies toyed with trying to lure more women into lighting up. Tobacco company documents from the 1960s through the year 2000 are said to indicate women might be more receptive to lower tar cigarettes with flavors that is included brandy, spearmint, cinnamon, and honey. Other studies show the companies explored the idea of adding appetite-suppressing chemicals to cigarettes.

And, at least a dozen people are feeling on top of the world today after reaching the summit of Mt. Everest. Officials in Nepal expect more to make the top of the world's tallest peak before bad weather hits. At least 58 people have made the 29,000 foot climb so far, and that's the latest from Headline News at this hour. Paula, back to you.

ZAHN: And what an achievement! Thanks, Erica.

In just a moment, Jeanne Moos goes in search of anyone who remembers why Deep Throat is still so important.


ZAHN: Over the years, so many big names, people with real star power, were rumored to have been Deep Throat. But today's revelation kind of falls with a thud. Deep Throat turns out to be a guy who was the number two man at the FBI during the Nixon years and most of us never even heard of him.

Here is Jeanne Moos.


JEANNE MOOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It was a day when "deep throat" was on everybody's lips.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The identity of deep throat.



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Deep Throat was the ultimate anonymous source.

MOOS: To a symphony of clicking cameras, W. Mark Felt revealed himself. "I'm the Guy They Called Deep Throat," blared "Vanity Fair."

His name is Mark Felt.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Never heard of him.

MOOS: And his name is Mark Felt.

Confronted with deep throat's face, she made a face. Even some of the media needed a reminder.

MOOS: Look, I have a cheat sheet. Mark Felt.

Sure, there were more famous candidates for Deep Throat from Al Hague to Henry Kissinger to Diane Sawyer, a former Nixon press aide.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh, I wish it had been Diane Sawyer.

MOOS: Why?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh, I don't know. Because, wouldn't it have been wonderful? Because she is so sexy!

MOOS: Instead, it was a 91-year-old former FBI honcho.

W. MARK FELT, "DEEP THROAT": I really appreciate you coming out like this.

MOOS: Living in Santa Rosa, California, on a street named, get this, Redford Place. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I need to know what you know.

MOOS: In "All the President's Men" Robert Redford played Bob Woodward meeting Deep Throat in parking garages...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Your lives are in danger.

MOOS: But when asked about "Deep Throat," most folks recalled another movie starring Linda Lovelace.

MOOS: When you hear deep throat what comes to your mind?


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The sexual connotation.

MOOS: And Deep Throat the source doesn't cross...


MOOS: For most folks, Watergate was water under the bridge.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And he turned in information against Clinton?

MOOS: No, against Nixon.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Oh, way back when.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is really before my time.

MOOS: As reporters staked out Deep Throat's house, his grandson appeared half-naked at the door and later made a statement, saying the family considered Mark Felt a hero. Felt's daughter had an even deeper code name for Deep Throat. She called him Joe Camel. A rapper who calls himself Majesty never heard of Deep Throat the source, but managed to come up with a rap about him.

MAJESTY, RAPPER: (SINGING) Now, they went to the '70s -- Watergate. They called him Deep Throat. it's like this dude here just came out the closet.

MOOS: Some wish Deep Throat had stayed in the closet.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's like a great mystery novel of a whodunit and you don't know who did it, and it always leads to great conversation and great chat over a martini.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's the wonderful thing about the United States. Nobody can keep a secret.

MOOS: Well, that's three decades. Come on.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, that's pretty good.

MOOS: This guy's a pretty good secret-keeper. After all those years, we finally get to the bottom of Deep Throat.

FELT: Thanks for coming.


ZAHN: I don't know about you -- I could've lived without that close-up, Jeanne Moos. Thank you so much for joining us tonight. Prime time continues now with "LARRY KING LIVE." His guests, the former president and first lady, George and Barbara Bush. See you tomorrow night.



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