Times Nearly Scooped Post on Watergate

37 years later, reporter reveals FBI chief Gray tipped him off
By Jason Farago,  Newser Staff
Posted May 25, 2009 7:58 AM CDT
Richard Nixon says goodbye to members of his staff outside the White House in Washington as he boards a helicopter for Andrews Air Force Base after resigning the presidency, Aug. 9, 1974.   (AP Photo/File)
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(Newser) – The Watergate scandal made the careers of Washington Post reporters Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein, who broke the story. But the Post nearly got scooped by the New York Times, according to ... the New York Times. Nearly 37 years after the fact, a reporter briefly at the Times says he sat in shock as FBI director L. Patrick Gray revealed that former AG John Mitchell was "involved in a cover-up," and suggested Richard Nixon was involved.

The reporter told his editor at the Times' Washington bureau, but both soon left DC. The tip was never developed into a full story, and the journalist protected Gray's confidentiality until his editor published a memoir last month. If true, it means that both of the top figures at the FBI were providing leaks: Gray to the Times, and deputy Mark Felt—"Deep Throat"—to the Post.