Washington Post newspaper has confirmed a U.S. magazine report that former FBI official W. Mark Felt was the source for leaked secrets about the Watergate scandal that has led to the resignation of President Richard Nixon in 1974. The magazine article solves one of the last remaining mysteries behind the Watergate affair.
The magazine Vanity Fair says it has identified the anonymous source known as Deep Throat who helped the Washington Post newspaper uncover the Watergate scandal in the early 1970s.
The magazine says W. Mark Felt, a former high-ranking official with the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) during the Nixon administration, was, in fact, Deep Throat.
Vanity Fair says Mr. Felt has acknowledged that he was the official who secretly leaked information about the budding scandal to Washington Post reporters Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein.
Mr. Felt is 91 and lives in California with his daughter. He did not comment Tuesday but a family spokesman, his grandson Nick Jones, read a statement to reporters indicating that the family believes Mr. Felt is telling the truth.
"The family believes that my grandfather, Mark Felt Senior, 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," said Mr. Jones.
Former Washington Post reporter Carl Bernstein issued a written statement that neither confirmed nor denied Mr. Felt as Deep Throat. The Bernstein statement went on to say that he and Mr. Woodward stand by their agreement not to reveal the identity of Deep Throat until the person dies.
In their book All the President's Men, the two reporters say Deep Throat played a crucial role in feeding them information about the Nixon administration's efforts to hide its involvement in the 1972 break-in at Democratic Party headquarters at the Watergate complex in Washington and the resulting illegal cover-up.
The book was eventually made into a popular Hollywood movie in which actors portraying then-Washington Post editor Ben Bradlee and reporter Bob Woodward discussed the veracity of Deep Throat.
BRADLEY CHARACTER: "How much can you tell me about Deep Throat?"
WOODWARD CHARACTER: "How much do you need to know?"
BRADLEY CHARACTER: "Do you trust him?"
WOODWARD CHARACTER: "Yeah."
Two years after the break-in, President Nixon was forced to resign over the Watergate scandal after the House of Representatives began impeachment proceedings against him on charges of obstruction of justice and abuse of power.
White House audiotapes revealed that the president had lied when he denied any knowledge of the White House cover-up of the Watergate scandal.
Mr. Nixon resigned in August of 1974.
NIXON: "To continue to fight through the months ahead for my personal vindication would almost totally absorb the time and attention of both the president and the Congress in a period when our entire focus should be on the great issues of peace abroad and prosperity without inflation at home. Therefore, I shall resign the presidency at noon tomorrow."
Former White House aide Alexander Butterfield was the man who revealed the existence of the White House taping system to the Senate committee that investigated the Watergate affair. He told VOA's Gary Thomas that he was not surprised by the Vanity Fair report.
"I always say that Mark Felt is the leading contender because he was kind of the number two guy at the FBI and if you look carefully at the kinds of things that Deep Throat was telling [Washington Post reporter Bob] Woodward, they were things that the average bear does not know but FBI guys do about laundering money and that type of thing."
The identity of Deep Throat has been one of the last remaining mysteries stemming from the Watergate scandal and was the subject of intense speculation and guessing for years from historians and political pundits in Washington.