Death Of The Legendary ‘Deep Throat’: Mark Felt, Watergate Source

W. Mark Felt died peacefully yesterday in a California hospice. He was 95, a legendary figure among journalists — and known best by his secret name:

Mark Felt was “Deep Throat.”

It was a code name whose roots were unseemly, but it emerged a powerful brand and captured the public imagination for more than 30 years.

Felt was the former No. 2 man at the FBI. His clandestine reports to Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein of the Washington Post helped topple the Richard Nixon White House, ultimately resulting in Nixon’s resignation in August 1974.

“Therefore, I shall resign the presidency effective at noon tomorrow. Vice President Ford will be sworn in as President at that hour in this office,” Nixon famously said, on Aug. 8, 1974.

We remember the drama of the moment: The President of the United States, looking tired and worn, announcing on national TV that he was resigning. The crisis began in 1972 over a bungled break-in — famously cited as a “third-rate burglary attempt” of Democratic National Committee headquarters at the Watergate office-apartment complex in Washington, D.C.

Felt acknowledged in 2005 that he was “Deep Throat” in Vanity Fair magazine.

Not only did Felt play a pivotal role in U.S. history, he helped Woodward and Bernstein become household names. The Pulitzer Prize-reporting duo went on to write “All the President’s Men.”

Robert Redford played Woodward in the movie version; Dustin Hoffman played Bernstein, and Hal Holbrook played “Deep Throat.” Woodward and Bernstein have been on the stage for decades now, in part because of Mark Felt.

Wanton criminality inside the Nixon White House is what motivated Felt to steer Woodward and Bernstein in the right direction, he said.

Felt left the FBI in 1973. In 1980, he was convicted on charges of approving illegal break-ins to investigate the Weather Underground during his FBI days. The Weather Underground was a radical group. Felt was pardoned by President Reagan.

Nixon always suspected Felt was “Deep Throat”; Felt denied it in public until 2005. Woodward and Bernstein confirmed his story when he came forward.

Woodward and Bernstein, of course, have co-authored books and have had magnificent careers as solo writers and authors. Mark Felt’s death must have brought back a lot of memories for them today, two guys with remarkable talent who’ll be everlastingly linked to Mark Felt and Watergate.

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