May 31, 2005: The Identity Of “Deep Throat” Is Revealed
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May 31, 2005: The Identity Of “Deep Throat” Is Revealed

New York City : NY : USA | May 31, 2011 at 5:58 PM PDT
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ALL THE PRESIDENT'S MEN. Deep Throat

W. Mark Felt’s family ends three decades of speculation by identifying Felt, the ex-FBI assistant director, as “Deep Throat,” the secret source who helped solve the Watergate scandal. The Felt family’s admission, made in a Vanity Fair article, took legendary journalists Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein, who had promised to keep their source’s identity a secret until his death, by surprise. Tapes reveal that Nixon himself had speculated that Felt was the secret informant as early as 1973.

The question “Who was Deep Throat?” had been investigated relentlessly in the years that followed Watergate in films, books, TV shows, and on the Internet. The United States was obsessed with the shadowy figure, who went to great lengths to conceal his involvement with The Washington Post journalists. In spite of the fact that his name was frequently mentioned as a possibility, Felt always denied being Deep Throat, even penning in his 1979 memoir, “I never leaked information to Woodward and Bernstein or to anyone else!” Even as recently as six years prior to the admission, he was quoted as saying, “It would be contrary to my responsibility as a loyal employee of the FBI to leak information.”

Following the death of then-director of the FBI, J. Edgar Hoover, Felt, who was serving as the bureau’s assistant director, wanted the position and was angry at Nixon for not appointing him. Moreover, he was upset over Nixon’s attempts to stall the bureau’s investigation into the Watergate burglaries. Therefore, when Bob Woodward called Felt to request information about the FBI’s Watergate investigation, he agreed to talk. However, his cooperation came with strict restrictions. Felt refused to be quoted, even anonymously, and agreed only to confirm information already obtained. Furthermore, the journalists had to promise to keep his identity a secret. Felt was only contacted on matters of great importance.

At first, Woodward and the veteran FBI employee talked by phone, but Felt, before long, started to worry that his phones could be tapped. Thus, the two devised a set of signals and started meeting in the middle of the night in a parking garage. Throughout the months that followed, Felt confirmed stories connecting Nixon’s re-election committee to the Watergate burglaries and illegal investigations of the Democratic Party. Furthermore, he warned Woodward of the extensive nature of the scandal, indicating that it could be traced back to government higher-ups, including President Nixon himself.

In the wake of Felt’s admission, both Woodward and Bernstein expressed concerns that, because of the extreme interest in the Deep Throat enigma throughout the years, Felt’s part in unraveling the complex web of lies and deceit that was Watergate may be exaggerated. The journalists reminded the American people that additional sources, Nixon’s secret White House tape recordings, the Senate’s Watergate hearings, and the landmark ruling of the US Supreme Court that President Nixon hand over all the tapes all played an important part in bringing the truth to light.

In 1973, The Washington Post won a Pulitzer Prize in public service for its investigation of the Watergate case.

W. Mark Felt died at the age of 95 on December 18, 2008.

Source: History.com

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W. Mark Felt, aka “Deep Throat.”
Stephanie Sklar is based in Silver Spring, Maryland, United States of America, and is an Anchor on Allvoices.
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