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NEW YORK (AP) — The decision to publish a column by an anonymous Trump administration official bashing the boss could backfire on The New York Times.

The risk is if the author is unmasked and turns out to be a little-known person, or if the newspaper’s own reporters solve the puzzle.

Within hours of the essay appearing on the paper’s website, the mystery of the writer’s identity began to rival the Watergate-era hunt for “Deep Throat” in Washington. And a parade of Trump team members issued statements Thursday saying, in effect, “it’s not me.”

The Times’ only clue was calling the author a “senior administration official.”

The newspaper’s op-ed editor says he conducted a background check and spoke to the person to the point that he was “totally confident” in the identity.