SALT LAKE CITY (AP) -- The disclosure that former FBI official W. Mark Felt was the Washington Post's secret "Deep Throat" source during the Watergate scandal should end speculation that Utah Sen. Bob Bennett was Deep Throat.
"If this turns out to be in fact true, why this will close the chapter on speculation about me," Bennett told the Deseret Morning News by phone Tuesday from Istanbul, where he is attending a conference.
Bennett said he did not know Felt.
"Mark Felt sounds as good as any possibility to me. ... This will open up a whole area for examination and historical re-examination," Bennett said.
Bennett left a job with the Nixon administration before the Watergate scandal and bought a Washington-based public relations firm that was used by the CIA as a cover.
Bennett acknowledged he provided information to Post reporter Bob Woodward, but always denied being Deep Throat and the Utah Mormon did not fit the Post reporter's description of his source as being a scotch-drinking, chain-smoker.
Proponents of the Bennett-as-Deep-Throat theory figured that description was just meant to shift focus from Bennett.
Rolling Stone once figured Bennett as Deep Throat, and Nixon chief of staff H.R. Haldeman wrote that Nixon at one time believed Bennett was Deep Throat and cited a CIA memo that stated Bennett was "feeding information" to Woodward.
The memo, according to Haldeman's book, "The Ends of Power," said that Woodward was "suitably grateful" for Bennett's help, which seemed to point "almost overwhelmingly to Bennett as Deep Throat."
Bennett was quoted by name in "All the President's Men" by Woodward and Carl Bernstein.
"I was one of Woodward's sources. But my name was in the book. There was no attempt to hide it," he told the News.
Bennett said those who thought he was Deep Throat did not understand the source very well.
"He was very conflicted. He felt there were things going on that were not only improper, but were illegal. At the same time, he was a member of the administration who felt an obligation of loyalty," Bennett said.
"Deep Throat was not leaking state secrets. This was not a great spy story where classified information was being leaked to the newspaper. It was just that there was something sleazy going on," he said.
Bennett said he had believed Deep Throat was a career government employee "who was worried about losing his job if it ever got out. I'm not sure Mark FeIt was worried because he was No. 2 (in the FBI)."
However, "it would have been tremendously embarrassing to Mark Felt if the Nixon administration found out," Bennett told the News.
(Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)