“Deep Throat” is deep-sixed

This just in…

The man once known to the world only as “Deep Throat” has died at the age of 95.

W. Mark Felt, the one-time anonymous source behind some of the key news stories that forced late president Richard Nixon to resign in the wake of the Watergate scandal, passed away in Santa Rosa, Calif. He had been suffering from congestive heart failure for several months, a family friend said.

Felt, a top FBI commander in the 1970s, provided Washington Post reporters Carl Bernstein and Bob Woodward some of their most significant leads in a series of stories following what appeared to be a low-level break-in of the Democratic National Committee’s headquarters at the Watergate Hotel.

With Felt’s help, the reporters were able to trace the origins of the 1972 crime to the Republican White House and Nixon.

Allan Lichtman, a political historian at Washington’s American University, said Felt played an indisputably important role in bringing a difficult truth forward to the American people.

Without Felt’s efforts, “it’s quite possible that the worst scandal in the history of the country may never have been fully probed, may never have been fully understood and Richard Nixon may have gotten away with crimes of Watergate and even served a full second term,” Lichtman told CTV Newsnet in a phone interview from Washington.

If there is no reason other than this to mourn for Mark Felt, who was J. Edgar Hoover’s #2 man and, like all FBI, very far to the right of normal, at least we can thank him for deep-sixing Tricky Dick’s career. Some say he was bitter at not being promoted to #1 after ol’ cross-dressing J. Edgar kicked the bucket in his high heels. I’m not so sure that was his motive; it seems rather petty considering the dangers he ran in collaborating with Woodward and Bernstein in exposing the true nature and extent of the Watergate burglary and the ensuing cover-up. He risked his life, his safety, that of his family, and yes, his job–and yet never publicly cashed in on his fame (or notoriety, if you will.) He very nearly took his secret to the grave, and might very well have done so if he had not chosen to reveal himself a few years ago.

Thanks, man.

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