Deep Throat and his Legacy
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Deep Throat and his Legacy In the pre-dawn hours of June 17, 1972, a security guard called police officers to the Watergate Hotel in Washington, D.C. He had discovered a taped-open door. Once inside, the officers found and arrested five males in a highly unusual burglary.

The burglary was unusual not only because it was inside the offices of the Democratic
National Committee, but also because the men had uncommon burgling gear. In addition to standard lock-picks, they held: $2300 in hundred-dollar bills; a walkie-talkie; a police radio scanner; cameras with 40 rolls of film; and sophisticated covert recording devices. Evidently, they intended to eavesdrop on the Democratic organizers.

English: A photo of the Watergate Complex take...
English: A photo of the Watergate Complex taken from a DC-9-80 inbound to Washington National Airport on January 8, 2006. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Furthermore, the men seemed to have ties to the White House. At least one had been a
Central Intelligence Agency employee and two carried notebooks with a telephone
number accompanied by the inscriptions W. House and W.H.

The Watergate Hotel scandal immediately attracted media attention. Washington Post
reporters Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein covered the story for two years. Their
investigative reporting contributed to implicating Nixon and his associates of crimes far
beyond burglarizing the DNC. It became evident that Nixon’s staff had also: authorized
campaign fraud; ordered political espionage and sabotage; created improper tax audits;
conducted large-scale illegal wiretapping, and maintained secret funds (laundered in
Mexico!) to pay off the men involved in break-ins.

But how did these young reporters, just embarking on their careers, gain access to top-
secret Nixon-incriminating information, Woodward, and Bernstein claimed that their
the journalistic advantage came from a single anonymous informant, whom their editor
dubbed Deep Throat. But they vowed to not reveal their informant’s identity until he
consented or passed away.

Thus, for thirty years Americans pondered the mystery of Deep Throat. Hundreds of
theories were put forth, and several were widely considered credible. One leading
candidate was Nixons White House Associate Counsel Fred Fielding, who had obvious
close connections to the uncovered information. He also seemed to be as high-level as
Deep Throat; each obtained information before the FBI was privy. Another candidate was
Diane Sawyer. She’d been hired by Nixon’s press secretary, and one Nixon supporter
made an odd deathbed confession revealing Sawyer as the informant. George H. W.
Bush, Henry Kissinger, and Pat Buchanan also made the list. And although the journalists
claimed to have had a single source, some speculators suggested that Deep Throat was
really a composite of multiple informants.

At last, on May 31, 2005, Deep Throat publicly revealed his identity. Vanity Fair
magazine revealed online that former Deputy Director of the FBI William Mark Felt, Sr.,
91 years old, was the secret Watergate whistleblower. Later that day, Woodward and
Bernstein’s former managing editor confirmed the claim.
A few days later, the Washington Post ran an article by Bob Woodward. Therein he
described his pre-Watergate relationship with W. Mark Felt. Apparently, the two first met
by chance in a White House waiting room, and Woodward kept Felts business card.
Woodward consulted with Felt even before the Watergate scandal.

Felt was instrumental in the Watergate scandal being understood. His information leaks
exposed many misdeeds of Richard Nixon and members of his administration, ultimately
bringing the first US presidential resignation. Administration members receiving prison
terms included G. Gordon Liddy, who masterminded the first Watergate break-in; White
House Chief of Staff H. R. Haldeman; chief counsel Charles Colson; and advisers John
Ehrlichman and Egil Krogh.

Felts leaking of information also changed the face of national politics. The Senate and
House had elections shortly after the Watergate scandal was publicized. Voters were now
thoroughly disillusioned with Nixon’s party, and they elected Democrats in large
numbers. The Democrats gained five seats in the Senate and a significant forty-nine in
the House of Representatives.

As of 2007, Felt was residing in Santa Rosa, California.

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