We cannot verify your location
Browse Book and Journal Content on Project MUSE


Why Mark Felt Became Deep Throat

By Max Holland

Publication Year: 2013

Through the shadowy persona of "Deep Throat," FBI official Mark Felt became as famous as the Watergate scandal his "leaks" helped uncover. Best known through Hal Holbrook's portrayal in the film version of Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein's All the President's Men, Felt was regarded for decades as a conscientious but highly secretive whistleblower who shunned the limelight. Yet even after he finally revealed his identity in 2005, questions about his true motivations persisted.

Published by: University Press of Kansas


pdf iconDownload PDF (1.7 MB)
p. 1-1

Title Page, Copyright

pdf iconDownload PDF (130.1 KB)
pp. 2-7


pdf iconDownload PDF (44.8 KB)
pp. vii-9

read more

Cast of Characters

pdf iconDownload PDF (87.4 KB)
pp. ix-xiii

John D. Ehrlichman: assistant for domestic affairs, liaison to FBIRobert C. Mardian: political coordinator; former assistant attorney E. Howard Hunt, Jr.: White House consultant; ?plumber? and former G. Gordon Liddy: finance counsel, CRP; ?plumber? and former FBI James W. McCord, Jr.: burglar; chief of security, CRP; former CIA officer...

read more


pdf iconDownload PDF (70.8 KB)
pp. 1-4

With a story as enticing, complex, and competitive and quickly unfolding as Watergate, there was little tendency or time to consider the motive of our sources. What was important was whether the information checked out and whether it was true. . . . The clich? about drinking from a fire hose applied. There was no time to ask our sources, Why are you talking? Do you have an ax to grind? Why don?t you ...

read more

1. A Forced Departure: May 1973

pdf iconDownload PDF (91.0 KB)
pp. 5-11

According to The Secret Man, Mark Felt retired quietly and without fanfare. This bland explanation is unchanged from the original AP story that appeared in the Post and elsewhere (?FBI?s No. 2 Man to Retire?) and is consistent with Felt?s 1979 ghost-written memoir, The FBI Pyramid. That the cover story has persisted so long is striking, given the interest ...

read more

2. The “War of the FBI Succession”: 1969–1972

pdf iconDownload PDF (126.8 KB)
pp. 12-24

Anybody who wanted to be director of the FBI was willing to do some mighty strange things. It was interesting to see the lengths to which an otherwise decent Watergate might have played out very differently had J. Edgar Hoover not chosen an inopportune time to die: May 2, 1972, just seven weeks be-fore the break-in at the Democratic Party headquarters. The profundity ...

read more

3. Felt’s Private COINTELPRO: June 1972

pdf iconDownload PDF (172.5 KB)
pp. 25-42

Someone in the FBI is talking about the details of the investigation.appointment initially. Felt?s best, if not his only, recourse seemed to be to ingratiate himself with the acting director and hope that he would stumble?perhaps with a little strategic push. Meanwhile, it would be best if Gray believed that Felt was fully behind him and had an attitude ...

read more

4. To Leak or Not to Leak? July 1972

pdf iconDownload PDF (150.2 KB)
pp. 43-58

Committee for the Re-election of the President (CRP), dragged its feet, sent agents chasing after false leads, and otherwise sought to impede the Bureau?s investigation in the summer of 1972. These efforts did not really The spectacle astonished most of the capital?s FBI agents, who were generally from less-privileged backgrounds than staffers in the campaign. ...

read more

5. Special Agent Woodward: August 1972

pdf iconDownload PDF (140.5 KB)
pp. 59-71

One weekend in early August, aware of Felt?s reluctance to talk on the telephone, a frustrated Bob Woodward drove uninvited to the FBI executive?s comfortable suburban home on Wynford Drive in Fairfax, Woodward was at his wits? end. Despite his editors? commitment to covering Watergate, the Post had little to show for its efforts since June. ...

read more

6. Retracing the Bureau’s Steps: August–October 1972

pdf iconDownload PDF (164.1 KB)
pp. 72-88

Here?s how the story goes in the popular imagination: Deep Throat leaked in the late summer and fall of 1972, Woodward and Bernstein did a little legwork, and the Post published another front-page scoop that rattled the White House. It was as if Woodward ?did little more than show up with a bread basket that Deep Throat filled with goodies,? as one ...

read more

7. Richard Nixon’s Own “Deep Throat”: October 1972

pdf iconDownload PDF (157.1 KB)
pp. 89-104

...sensed the permanent appointment slipping from his grasp. He faced problems on two fronts: the public perception that the FBI?s investiga-tion had been less than rigorous and/or exhaustive, despite his efforts to claim otherwise, and the White House?s perception that he could not stem the leaks. He might be able to successfully rebut the first charge, as ...

read more

8. “A Claque of Ambitious Men”: November 1972–January 1973

pdf iconDownload PDF (128.5 KB)
pp. 105-116

I now know that many of the high officials in the FBI deeply resented my appointment as acting director. J. Edgar Hoover clearly had not singled out any one of these men to be his successor. The result of this egocentric failure on the part of the late director was to leave a claque of ambitious men straining mightily to hold the reins of power. . . . I wasn?t aware of their animosity at the beginning....

read more

9. The Safe Choice: February 1973

pdf iconDownload PDF (126.0 KB)
pp. 117-128

...dants who hadn?t pled guilty, were convicted. Federal prosecutors imme-diately put in motion the legal machinery to compel everyone who had been deemed guilty to testify. Meanwhile, Williams, Connolly and the DNC prepared to resume the civil lawsuit that had been on hold, and the Senate approved, by a vote of 77-0, the formation of a select committee to ...

read more

10.Gray Self-Destructs: March–May 1973

pdf iconDownload PDF (193.7 KB)
pp. 129-150

The job of the reporter is [to convey] the best obtainable version of the truth . . . On the morning of the first day of Pat Gray?s confirmation hear-ings, President Nixon asked John Dean how he thought the nominee ?I think Pat is tough,? Dean replied. ?He?s very comfortable in all of the decisions he has made, and I think he?ll be good.? But then Dean ...

read more

11. The Making of Deep Throat: 1973–1981

pdf iconDownload PDF (234.1 KB)
pp. 151-179

Folks may be getting fuzzy about the Watergate details, but at least they remember the movie: a couple of nosy journalists and an informer, wasn?t it?aged to regain his equilibrium while putting out self-serving accounts of the long year since J. Edgar Hoover?s death. He told one favored reporter, Jeremiah O?Leary of the Washington Star, that he had been ?uncomfort-...

read more

Epilogue: 1982–2011

pdf iconDownload PDF (165.9 KB)
pp. 180-195

...journalistic, if not national, obsession and thriving cottage industry. The ?parlor game that would not die? kept Bernstein and Woodward in the public eye, of course, far longer than they otherwise would have been. It also had the effect, with every passing year, of elevating Deep Throat?s role as a source and cementing the myth about the Post reporters? own ...

read more


pdf iconDownload PDF (67.5 KB)
pp. 197-200

Like many interesting projects, this one didn?t start out the way it I was never a Watergate buff, even though I worked for George McGov-ern?s campaign in Los Angeles as a twenty-one-year-old. I believed there was much more to the break-in, of course, and kept a McGovern bumper sticker on my car for months after the November 1972 landslide as a small ...


pdf iconDownload PDF (512.0 KB)
pp. 201-262

Bibliography and Sources

pdf iconDownload PDF (134.4 KB)
pp. 263-274


pdf iconDownload PDF (1.8 MB)
pp. 275-285

E-ISBN-13: 9780700619733
Print-ISBN-13: 9780700618293

Page Count: 302
Publication Year: 2013

Research Areas


UPCC logo

Subject Headings

  • Felt, W. Mark, 1913-2008.
  • Watergate Affair, 1972-1974 -- Biography.
  • United States. Federal Bureau of Investigation -- Officials and employees -- Biography.
  • You have access to this content
  • Free sample
  • Open Access
  • Restricted Access