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The Secret Source of Watergate Scandal Information Revealed


A long-held Washington secret was revealed Tuesday. The Washington Post newspaper confirmed that former F.B.I. official Mark Felt was their unidentified source for prize-winning articles more than 30 years ago. Known as "Deep Throat", he leaked confidential information about the Watergate political scandal, which led to U.S. President Richard Nixon's 1974 resignation.

It was a scandal that brought down a president: "Watergate," in which officials of the Nixon administration paid burglars to break into an opposition Democratic Party office at the Watergate complex in Washington, D.C.

It led to impeachment proceedings. In the middle of those proceedings in August of 1974, Mr. Nixon announced he was resigning. "I shall resign the presidency, effective at noon tomorrow."

It was an investigation by Washington Post reporters Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein that broke the news of the scandal. Their main source, a person known only as "Deep Throat." They and their former boss, Ben Bradlee, had long said they would not reveal the identity of Deep Throat until after his death.

But 91-year-old Mark Felt recently told "Vanity Fair" magazine that he was in fact the confidential source known as Deep Throat. The article came to light Tuesday and was confirmed by the Washington Post.

On the newspaper's Web site late Tuesday, Mr. Woodward, Mr. Bernstein and Mr. Bradlee made the revelation official, confirming Mr. Felt as Deep Throat.

Tuesday afternoon, Mr. Felt appeared at the door of the house in California where he now lives with his daughter, after the media descended on the area. His daughter, Joan, later spoke about her father with reporters. "He is a great man. He is so kind. He is so attentive to other people and loving, and we are so proud of him, not only for his role in history, but that, for his character, the person that he is."

Earlier, Mr. Felt's lawyer, John D. O'Connor, who wrote the Vanity Fair article, explained by telephone why the secret was kept for so long. "As you know, for over 30 years, he kept this secret feeling he was somehow dishonorable."

In their Tuesday statement Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein -- who were immortalized in the Warner Brothers film, "All the President's Men," said Mr. Felt, who was then the number two official at the F.B.I., helped them "immeasurably" in their Watergate coverage. But they also said many other sources and officials helped them and their Washington Post colleagues write hundreds of stories about the Watergate scandal.

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