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'Deep Throat' of Nixon era dies at 95

Mark Felt, the FBI official who as the anonymous journalistic source "Deep Throat" helped bring down President Richard Nixon, died on Thursday (Dec. 18, 2008) at his home in Santa Rosa, Calif. He was 95.

Mr. Felt suffered from congestive heart failure, but the immediate cause of death was not known on Thursday night.

"He was an important person for the history of our nation, but also such a gem and such a treasure to our family," said his grandson Nick Jones, who confirmed the death. "He was a great man."

Jones said the family would issue a formal statement today.

In 2005, more than 30 years after his whistle-blowing helped topple a presidency, Mr. Felt held a press conference on the front steps of his Santa Rosa home.

Mr. Felt, then 91, revealed that he was "Deep Throat," the anonymous source who in 1972 leaked information to Washington Post reporters Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein about the Watergate scandal that eventually led to Nixon's resignation in 1974.

Mr. Felt's role, but not his identity, was depicted in a 1974 book titled All the President's Men by Woodward and Bernstein and in a film of the same title released in 1976.

Mr. Felt's role is explored in detail in Woodward's 2005 book, The Secret Man, and in Mr. Felt's 2006 autobiography, A G-Man's Life.

Mr. Felt, who lived in Alexandria, Va, after his 1973 resignation from the FBI, moved to Santa Rosa in 1991, and lived there with his daughter, Joan Felt, until his death.

Mr. Felt was born in Twin Falls, Idaho, on Aug. 17, 1913, the son of carpenter and building contractor Mark Earl Felt and his wife, the former Rose Dygert. He graduated from Twin Falls High School in 1931 and received his B.A. from the University of Idaho in 1935.

After graduation, Mr. Felt moved to Washington, D.C., and got his first taste of political life working in the office of Sen. James Pope, D-Idaho. In 1938 he married Audrey Robinson, a fellow Idahoan.

Although his name was frequently raised as the suspected source, Mr. Felt denied for more than 30 years that he was the person who met Woodward and Bernstein in underground parking garages to provide clues to Watergate. His own family learned of his role only in 2002.

Mr. Felt resigned from the FBI in 1973. In 1976, he was indicted with another FBI official, Edward Miller, for authorizing illegal searches of the homes of relatives and friends of Weather Underground members.

Mr. Felt took responsibility for ordering the break-ins, saying he knew they were outside the law, but felt the actions were in the best interest of the country. He and Miller were convicted in 1980 but were pardoned a few months later by President Ronald Reagan.

'Deep Throat' of Nixon era dies at 95 12/18/08 [Last modified: Thursday, November 4, 2010 1:07pm]

    

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