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The ‘Z’ Memo

An important Watergate source was not a “mystic,” as Woodward and Bernstein described her in All the President's Men. She was a grand juror.

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When their Watergate reporting went cold in November 1972, Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein received permission from editor Ben Bradlee to approach the grand jurors in the burglary case—a legally murky tactic, since jurors are prohibited from disclosing details of the proceedings. Woodward went to the courthouse and talked a clerk into letting him see the list of jurors (he wouldn't let Woodward take notes, so he would memorize as much as he could, retreat to the bathroom to write it down, then go back and have another look). According to All the President's Men, they began seeking out those jurors the weekend of December 2 and 3, following Bradlee's advice to identify themselves as Post reporters but be vague about how they had gotten each juror's information. In the book and and ever since, Woodward and Bernstein have maintained that none co-operated. But a memo dated December 4 and recently discovered in Bradlee's files shows that one source — a source Woodward later suggested had been as important to the story as Deep Throat — was a grand juror, a fact they disguised in their book. This is that memo.



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