Watergate’s Mark ‘Deep Throat’ Felt dies of heart failure

mark felt deep throat dies

Mark Felt, better known as “Deep Throat,” has died Thursday after suffering from a congestive heart failure at a hospice near his home in Santa Rosa, California. He was 95.

Felt was the associate director of the FBI who helped Washington Post reporters Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein crack the Watergate scandal that brought down President Richard Nixon in August 1974.

The journalists used Deep Throat’s information to write a chain of exposes on the Watergate scandal, which played a crucial role in uncovering the misdeeds of the Nixon administration.

The reporters continued to keep Felt’s name a secret, but in 2005, at the age of 91, Felt told Vanity Fair magazine, “I’m the guy they used to call Deep Throat.”

His revelation in a Vanity Fair article by his family’s lawyer, John D. O’Connor, intensified a national debate: Was he a hero? Or was he a traitor who betrayed not only his president but his oath of office by divulging grand jury information and the contents of FBI files?

For the most part, reaction split along political lines.

Critics, including those who went to prison for the Watergate scandal, were against him for betraying his president.

But supporters hailed Mr. Felt as a hero for blowing the whistle on a crooked administration trying to cover up attempts to sabotage opponents.

Felt, who retired from the FBI in 1973, had his own legal troubles. He was convicted in 1980 on conspiracy charges for allowing government agents to break into homes without search warrants in a hunt for bombing suspects in 1972 and 1973.

When the case went to trial, former President Nixon testified on Felt’s behalf. Felt was eventually pardoned in 1981 by President Ronald Reagan.

When asked how he would like to be remembered, Felt said, “I’d like to be remembered as a government employee who did his best to help everybody.”

Photos: New York Daily News/Chicago Tribune