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Watergate's 'Deep Throat' Revealed: When Mark Felt Owned Up

Culture | February 1, 2018

Left: Hal Holbrook as 'Deep Throat' in 'All The President's Men.' Right: Poster art for the adult film from 1972 that inspired Mark Felt's pseudonym. Sources: IMDB; wrongsideoftheart.com

The Watergate scandal, exposed by Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein with help from an informant dubbed "Deep Throat," rocked the United States during the early 70s. With all the makings of a story for the big screen -- politics, public officials (including President Nixon), break-ins and wiretapping, a cover-up and a mysterious informant -- it was front-page news that brought down a president. Woodward and Bernstein's reportage explained everything to the American public, but one key detail remained a secret for over 30 years: The identity of Deep Throat. In 2005, the world learned that the mystery man was former FBI Associate Director Mark Felt.

Nixon Resigned To Avoid Impeachment

Some of the Watergate burglars and their lawyer. Source: Pinterest

The Nixon administration had gotten in way over its collective head with this one.  An informant, referred to as Deep Throat, blew the infamous scandal right out of the water. The scandal led to the discovery of despicable abuse of power and was the unfortunate downfall of dozens of people; not the least of which were directly connected to Nixon. Eventually, Richard Nixon had no option but to resign his office to avoid being impeached. As a result, Vice President Gerald Ford assumed his role as President.

Vice President Ford Assumed The Office Of President

Eventually, Nixon had no option but to resign his office to avoid being impeached. As a result, Vice President Gerald Ford assumed the role of President. His first order of business was to pardon Nixon for his crimes.

Deep Throat's Identity Remained A Mystery

The identity of Deep Throat, as the informant came to be known, was the source of much torment and speculation for years. The fact that this person was responsible for uncovering the possible illegal activity was not enough. His claims had been validated and the administration went tumbling down. Although politicians are usually held to a certain standard, they often disappoint. Most organizations including, if not especially, political ones, often frown on whistleblowers and Deep Throat was not ignorant of this fact. It was years before his identity would be revealed.

Nixon Had Suspected Mark Felt Was The Informant

Nixon mentioned he thought Felt might be Deep Throat as early as 1973, but couldn’t be sure. Nonetheless, Felt consistently denied any involvement and went to great lengths to cover his tracks. In so doing, he misled the public due to his fear of retribution. In fact, no less than 6 years before he caved and came clean, Felt issued the following statement: “It would be contrary to my responsibility as a loyal employee of the FBI to leak information.”. Clearly, he was concerned about revealing his true involvement with the infamous scandal.

Eventually, some 31 years after the scandal broke, a family attorney stated that Mark Felt was, indeed, Deep Throat. Felt was suffering from dementia by that point, but Woodward and Bernstein confirmed that Felt had been their informant.

The Infamous Watergate Hotel

The infamous scandal was named after the Watergate Hotel, where much of the activity took place. All these years later, many scandals, both here in the U.S. and abroad, political or not, are associated with the distinction of the (current scandal) - “gate”.

Mark Felt Died Three Years After His Identity Was Revealed

Mark Felt passed away in 2008 at the age of 95; years after exposing the injustices of the Nixon administration.  His efforts and involvement are forever cemented in our U.S. history.

Tags: 1970s News | 2005 | Deep Throat | Richard Nixon | The 2000s | Watergate

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Rebeka Knott

Writer

Rebeka grew up in the 1960’s & 1970’s and has always subscribed to the theory that a positive attitude will take you far! She is a wife and mother of 3 with a fun-loving spirit, believing that family and relationships are invaluable.