W. Mark Felt

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W. Mark Felt

William Mark Felt, Sr. (August 17, 1913December 18, 2008), a former Associate Director of the FBI, was "Deep Throat," a source of much of the Watergate scandal information. He was the highest-ranking federal agent ever convicted of wrongdoing. He had authorized raids on homes of suspected Weather Underground terrorists without receiving search warrants, for which he was pardoned during the appeals process by US President Ronald Reagan.

Sourced[edit]

  • When he graduated, Felt took a position at the Federal Trade Commission but didn't like the work. His first case was whether a toilet paper brand called "Red Cross" was misleading consumers into thinking it was endorsed by the American Red Cross. Felt wrote in his memoir:
    "My research, which required days of travel and hundreds of interviews, produced two definite conclusions:
    1. Most people did use toilet paper.
    2. Most people did not appreciate being asked about it.
    That was when I started looking for other employment."
    • Felt, W. Mark. The FBI Pyramid: From the Inside. New York: G.P. Putnam's Sons, 1979. (ISBN 0399119043).
  • I am not Deep Throat, and the only thing I can say is that I wouldn't be ashamed to be, because I think whoever [it was] helped the country, no question about it.
    • The New York Times (29 August 1976)
  • I would have done better. I would have been more effective. Deep Throat didn't exactly bring the White House crashing down, did he?
    • Interview in The Hartford Courant (1999)
  • I'm the guy they used to call "Deep Throat".
    • Statement to John D. O'Connor, under a shield of attorney-client privilege revealed in an article for the July 2005 issue of Vanity Fair which was publicly released on May 31, 2005, revealing his identity after more than 30 years of secrecy. It is stated that he made such a statement several times in the course of conversations, and he is also quoted in the title of the piece as having said" "I'm the guy they called 'Deep Throat'."
  • I guess people used to think Deep Throat was a criminal, but now they think he's a hero.
    • Statement to his daughter, Joan Felt; reported by his grandson, Nick Jones in a public statement of his personal family. (31 May 2005)

About W. Mark Felt[edit]

  • He knows everything there is to know in the FBI. He has access to absolutely everything.
    • H.R. Haldeman, White House chief of staff statement about Felt's suspected leaks in 1972 to Richard Nixon, to which Nixon replied, "Why in the hell would he do that?"
  • Everybody is to know that he is a goddamn traitor and just watch him damned carefully.
  • And I said we have it on very good authority that they're from Felt...I said, "Dammit... you ought to give him a lie detector test."
    • Nixon's explanation to Haig of his earlier discussion with FBI Director Gray (May 12, 1973)
    • Nixon was referring to leaks about the Pentagon Papers to Time Magazine
  • [Felt] has to go, of course... this guy ain't gonna be the big hero now.
    • Nixon to Alexander Haig, May 12, 1973
  • Aware of his own weaknesses, he readily conceded his flaws. He was, incongruously, an incurable gossip, careful to label rumor for what it was, but fascinated by it... He could be rowdy, drink too much, overreach. He was not good at concealing his feelings, hardly ideal for a man in his position.
  • The identity of Deep Throat is modern journalism's greatest unsolved mystery. It has been said that he may be the most famous anonymous person in U.S. history. But, regardless of his notoriety, American society today owes a considerable debt to the government official who decided, at great personal risk, to help Woodward and Bernstein as they pursued the hidden truths of Watergate.
  • Deep Throat lived in solitary dread, under the constant threat of being summarily fired or even indicted, with no colleagues in whom he could confide. He was justifiably suspicious that phones had been wiretapped, rooms bugged, and papers rifled. He was completely isolated, having placed his career and his institution in jeopardy. Eventually, Deep Throat would even warn Woodward and Bernstein that he had reason to believe "everyone's life is in danger"—meaning Woodward's, Bernstein's, and, presumably, his own.
    • John D. O'Connor Vanity Fair (July 2005)
  • I believe that Mark Felt is one of America's greatest secret heroes. Deep in his psyche, it is clear to me, he 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. 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 more.
    • John D. O'Connor Vanity Fair (July 2005)
  • The family believes that 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. We all sincerely hope the country will see him this way as well.
    • Family press statement by his grandson Nick Jones. (31 May 2005)
  • W. Mark Felt was 'Deep Throat' and helped us immeasurably in our Watergate coverage.
  • I've always thought it was Mark Felt. I've told people that privately for a number of years. But I have not mentioned it publicly because I think Deep Throat is a dishonorable man.
  • William Mark Felt was a traitor to Nixon and America! What he did caused 53,000 American soldiers to die for nothing in Vietnam!
    • Pat Buchanan on MSNBC (31 May 2005)
  • This disclosure is a godsend to the mainstream media— just when the Dan Rather and Newsweek scandals are building momentum against anonymous sources, along comes the shining knight of anonymity— "Deep Throat" to the rescue.
    • Matthew T. Felling, media director of the Center for Media and Public Affairs in Washington, D.C. Mercury News (1 June 2005)
  • What would you think the odds were that this town could keep that secret for this long?
    • Benjamin C. Bradlee, former Executive Editor of the Washington Post, who, along with Woodward and Bernstein, were the only ones publicly known to know the identity of "Deep Throat."
  • I always suspected it, but I never asked. First of all, I didn't want to be rejected, and I knew he wouldn't tell me. And I knew that if somebody else blabbed, I would get blamed.
  • I am really shocked. I always thought that he was the consummate professional, very upright, everybody's vision of the F.B.I. guy.
  • When any president has to worry whether the deputy director of the FBI is sneaking around in dark corridors peddling information in the middle of the night, he's in trouble. There were times when I should have blown the whistle, so I understand his feelings. But I cannot approve of his methods.
    • Charles W. Colson
  • I thought Mark Felt was probably the one, which made sense because what he told Woodward was mainly the stuff the F.B.I. would have had. What he didn't tell Woodward was really anything critical about us. It wasn't inside the White House stuff, it was inside the F.B.I. stuff.
  • I haven't been among those consumed by this question. But I thought it might be somebody who felt deeply disturbed by the attempt to corrupt both the F.B.I. and the C.I.A.

External links[edit]

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