I just finished reading All the President’s Men by Washington Post reporters Carl Bernstein and Bob Woodward. The classic book chronicles the investigative reporting of the Watergate burglary and the ensuing scandal of the Nixon administration’s attempted cover-up which eventually led to the resignation of Richard Nixon.
Gene Roberts called the work of Bernstein and Woodward “maybe the single greatest reporting effort of all time.” Robert Redford produced and starred in the film of the same name, and the authors introduced the world to one of the most infamous parking garages in the world.
Woodward secretly met with an anonymous FBI source nicknamed “Deep Throat” in the Rosslyn Garage in Arlington, Va., to get secret information on the Watergate scandal. The book validates the fact that parking garages can be extremely creepy, as the two chose to meet in a dark corner of a secluded garage in the middle of the night with odd sounds and sporadic noises freaky enough to frighten the likes of Stephen King. Reading it makes me wonder how easily such a meeting could happen today with the progressive security measures and technological advancements the parking industry has embraced in recent years.
Could Deep Throat and Woodward meet today in the bottom level of a parking garage without being captured on camera? Could they even get into a restricted access facility that requires credentials? Would sensors cause smart lights to turn on as they walk throughout the garage alerting management of activity in the bottom of the garage? Would the design of the garage have incorporated Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design (CPTED) principles that would make it harder to meet out of view of passers by? Would a roaming security guard ask them their business in the garage?
There are many garages where it’s still possible to hold secret secluded meetings, but it’s fun to think about the many garages that, thanks to technology and security upgrades, Woodward and Deep Throat would have to pass by. Today, I think they’d have to meet in a park instead of a parking garage.