Ex-FBI Official Says He Was 'Deep Throat'
By GREG SANDOVAL, Associated Press Writer
SANTA ROSA, Calif. - A former
FBI official claims he was "Deep Throat," the
long-anonymous source who leaked secrets about
President Nixon's Watergate coverup to The Washington
Post, his family said Tuesday.
W. Mark Felt, 91, was second-in-command at the FBI in
the early 1970s. His claim was revealed Tuesday by
Vanity Fair magazine, and family members said they
believe his account is true.
"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," a family statement
read by grandson Nick Jones said. "We all sincerely
hope the country will see him this way as well."
Felt, who lives with his daughter Joan in Santa Rosa
and is in declining health, kept the secret even from
his family until 2002, when he confided to a friend
that he had been Post reporter Bob Woodward's source,
the magazine said.
"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 Washington Post had no immediate comment on the
The existence of Deep Throat, nicknamed for a popular
porn movie of the early 1970s, was revealed in
Woodward and Carl Bernstein's best-selling book "All
the President's Men." In the hit movie based on the
book, Deep Throat was played by Hal Holbrook.
But his identity of the source whose disclosures
helped bring down the Nixon presidency remained a
Among those named over the years as Deep Throat were
Assistant Attorney General Henry Peterson, deputy
White House counsel Fred Fielding, and even ABC
newswoman Diane Sawyer, who then worked in the White
House press office. Ron Ziegler, Nixon's press
secretary, White House aide Steven Bull, speechwriters
Ray Price and
Pat Buchanan, and John Dean, the White House counsel
who warned Nixon of "a cancer growing on the
presidency," also were considered candidates.
And some theorized Deep Throat wasn't a single source
at all but a composite figure.
In 1999, Felt denied he was the man.
"I would have done better," Felt told The Hartford
Courant. "I would have been more effective. Deep
Throat didn't exactly bring the White House crashing
down, did he?"
In 2003, Woodward and Bernstein reached an agreement
to keep their Watergate papers at the University of
Texas at Austin.
At the time, the pair said documents naming "Deep
Throat" would be kept secure at an undisclosed
location in Washington until the source's death.
MSNBC quoted Bernstein as saying Tuesday that he and
Woodward would stick to their pledge not to say
anything until Deep Throat dies.
In the family statement, Jones said his grandfather
believes "the men and women of the FBI who have put
their lives at risk for more than 50 years to keep
this country safe deserve recognition more than he."
"On behalf of the Felt family we hope you see him as
worthy of honor and respect as we do," Jones said.
Associated Press writer Larry McShane in New York
contributed to this report.