Washington Post Confirms Felt as 'Deep Throat'
By William Branigin and David Von Drehle
Washington Post Staff Writers
Tuesday, May 31, 2005
The Washington Post today confirmed that W. Mark Felt, a former number-two official at the FBI, was "Deep Throat," the secretive source who provided information that helped unravel the Watergate scandal in the early 1970s and contributed to the resignation of president Richard M. Nixon.
Woodward said Felt helped The Post at a time of tense relations between the White House and much of the FBI hierarchy. He said the Watergate break-in came shortly after the death of legendary FBI director J. Edgar Hoover, Felt's mentor, and that Felt and other bureau officials wanted to see an FBI veteran promoted to succeed Hoover.
Felt himself had hopes that he would be the next FBI director, but Nixon instead appointed an administration insider, assistant attorney general L. Patrick Gray, to the post.
Bradlee, in an interview this afternoon, said that knowing that "Deep Throat" was a high-ranking FBI official helped him feel confident about the information that the paper was publishing about Watergate. He said that he knew the "positional identity" of "Deep Throat" as the Post was breaking its Watergate stories and that he learned his name within a couple of weeks after Nixon's resignation.
"The number-two guy at the FBI, that was a pretty good source," he said. "I knew the paper was on the right track," Bradlee said. The "quality of the source" and the soundness of his guidance made him sure of that, he said.
"We made only one mistake ..... and that had nothing to do with 'Deep Throat,'." Bradlee said, referring to an error in reporting grand jury testimony.
Bradlee said that over the years, "it was interesting to watch people flounder around with odd choices" about the identity of "Deep Throat," a nickname borrowed from the title of a pornographic film. Although he knew the source's identity, Bradlee said, "I've never met Felt. I wouldn't know him if I fell on him."
In a family statement released today, Felt's grandson, Nick Jones, said, "The family believes my grandfather, Mark Felt Sr., is a great American hero who went well above and beyond the call of duty at much risk to himself to save his country from a horrible injustice." The statement added, "We all sincerely hope the country will see him this way as well."
Jones said in the statement, "My grandfather is pleased he is being honored for his role as 'Deep Throat' with his friend Bob Woodward. As he recently told my mother, 'I guess people used to think "Deep Throat" was a criminal, but now they think he was a hero.'"
The Vanity Fair article, by California attorney John D. O'Connor, described Felt as conflicted over his role in the Watergate revelations and over whether he should publicly reveal that he was the anonymous source whose identity has been a closely guarded secret for more than three decades.
"On several occasions he confided to me, 'I'm the guy they used to call "Deep Throat,".'." O'Connor wrote. The author wrote that Felt "still has qualms about his actions, but he also knows that historic events compelled him to behave as he did: standing up to an executive branch intent on obstructing his agency's pursuit of the truth."
The article concluded, "Felt, having long harbored the ambivalent emotions of pride and self-reproach, has lived for more than 30 years in a prison of his own making, a prison built upon his strong moral principles and his unwavering loyalty to country and cause. But now, buoyed by his family's revelations and support, he need feel imprisoned no longer."