National

null
Bob Daugherty/AP
Former Associate FBI Director
W. Mark Felt

W. Mark Felt, Watergate’s “Deep Throat,” Dies at 95

December 19, 2008 04:01 PM
by findingDulcinea Staff
The formerly anonymous source whose identity was kept secret for decades helped bring about the fall of former President Richard Nixon.

‘Deep Throat’ Dies of Unknown Cause

facebook
W. Mark Felt Sr. died at the age of 95 Thursday at 12:45 p.m. at his home in Santa Rosa, Calif.

The cause of Felt’s death is unknown, although he had suffered from congestive heart failure prior to his death, reported Reuters.

Felt’s daughter, Joan Felt, told The Washington Post that he seemed “fine” in the morning, before dying in his sleep. “He slipped away,” she said.

Felt is best-known for secretly leaking information to Washington Post reporters Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein during a series of articles they wrote about the Nixon administration’s illegal break-in at the offices of the Democratic National Committee, also known as the Watergate scandal. Felt was associate director and No. 2 official at the FBI when he was contacted first by Woodward, but as an anonymous source he was known by the public only as “Deep Throat,” a moniker inspired by the title of a pornographic movie.

Felt denied that he was Woodward and Bernstein’s source until 2005, when the 91-year-old’s family revealed his story in Vanity Fair magazine after years of speculation by the public. “I’m the guy they used to call Deep Throat,” he told the author of the piece, his family’s lawyer, John O’Connor.

Woodward, who along with Bernstein had agreed not to reveal the name of their source until after Felt’s death, immediately confirmed his relationship with Felt. “Felt believed he was protecting the bureau by finding a way, clandestine as it was, to push some of the information from the FBI interviews and files out to the public, to help build public and political pressure to make Nixon and his people answerable,” Woodward wrote. “He had nothing but contempt for the Nixon White House and their efforts to manipulate the bureau for political reasons.”
The articles written by the Post and other news sources eventually led to Nixon’s resignation in 1974, and legal consequences for more than 30 other government officials.

Felt was also the inspiration for a character in the book and movie “All the President’s Men,” about Woodward and Bernstein’s reporting on the Watergate affair.

Felt is survived by his two children. His wife Audrey died in 1984.

Background: Early life

Felt was born on Aug. 17, 1913 in Twin Falls, Idaho. He first worked in Washington as a Capitol Hill staffer and for the Federal Trade Commission before being hired by the FBI in 1942. He worked for the agency’s espionage section during World War II, investigated bank robbers and organized crime, oversaw the monitoring of the performance of field agents, and caught a German spy. He was appointed deputy associate director of the agency in 1971.
facebook

Most Recent Beyond The Headlines