Deep Throat was the pseudonym given to the Federal Bureau of Investigation Deputy Director William Mark Felt, Sr. who, as a secret source, provided information to The Washington Post about the involvement of United States President Richard Nixon's administration in what came to be known as the Watergate scandal.

Deep Throat was first introduced to the public in the 1974 book All the President's Men by Washington Post reporters Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein, which was adapted into an Academy Award-winning film two years later. In the book and movie, the two used Deep Throat's information to write a series of articles on a scandal which played a leading role in introducing the misdeeds of the Nixon administration to the general public. The scandal would eventually lead to the resignation of President Nixon as well as prison terms for White House Chief of Staff H. R. Haldeman, G. Gordon Liddy, Egil Krogh, White House Counsel Charles Colson and John Dean, and presidential adviser John Ehrlichman.

Howard Simons, the managing editor of the Post during Watergate, dubbed the secret informant "Deep Throat" as an allusion to the notorious pornographic movie which was a mainstream cause célèbre at the time. The name was also a play on the journalism term "deep background," referring to information provided by a secret source that, by agreement, will not be reported directly.

For more than 30 years, the identity of Deep Throat was one of the biggest mysteries of American politics and journalism and the source of much public curiosity and speculation. Woodward and Bernstein insisted they would not reveal his identity until he died or consented to have his identity revealed.

Vanity Fair magazine revealed that William Mark Felt, Sr. was Deep Throat on May 31, 2005, when it published an article (eventually appearing in the July issue) on its website by John D. O'Connor, an attorney acting on Felt's behalf, in which Felt reportedly said, "I'm the guy they used to call Deep Throat." After the Vanity Fair story broke, Woodward, Bernstein, and Benjamin C. Bradlee, the Post's executive editor during Watergate, confirmed Felt's claim to be Deep Throat. L. Patrick Gray, former acting Director of the FBI and Felt's boss, disputes Felt's claim to be the sole source in Gray's book, In Nixon's Web, written with his son Ed Gray. Instead, Gray and others have continued to claim that Deep Throat was a compilation of sources combined into one character in order to improve sales of the book and movie.

Role in WatergateEdit

On June 17, 1972 at 2:31 AM, five men were arrested by police on the sixth floor of the Watergate Hotel building in Washington, D.C., inside the offices of the Democratic National Committee. Police had arrived on the scene after being alerted by Frank Wills, a security guard, who noticed that a door leading into the hotel had been taped open.

The situation was unusual in that the five burglars had $2,300 in hundred-dollar bills with serial numbers in sequence, some lock-picks and door-jimmys, a walkie-talkie, a radio scanner capable of listening to police frequencies, two cameras, 40 rolls of unused film, tear-gas guns, and sophisticated devices capable of recording all conversations that might be held in the offices.

At least one of the men was a former Central Intelligence Agency employee. This person, Jim McCord, Jr., was at the time of his arrest a security man for President Nixon’s Committee to Re-elect the President (also known by its acronym, "CREEP", among Nixon's political opponents). Notebooks were found on two of the men containing the telephone number of E. Howard Hunt, whose name in the notebooks was accompanied by the inscriptions “W House” and “W.H.”

The scandal immediately attracted some media scrutiny. A protracted period of clue-searching and trail-following then ensued, with reporters and eventually the United States Senate and the judicial system probing to see how far up the Executive branch of government the Watergate scandal, as it had come to be known, extended.

A pair of young Washington Post reporters, Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein, wrote the coverage of the story over a period of two years. The scandal eventually was shown to involve a variety of legal violations, and it implicated many members of the Nixon White House. With increasing pressure from the courts and the Senate, President Nixon eventually became the first and only U.S. President to resign, narrowly avoiding impeachment by the House of Representatives.

Woodward and Bernstein's stories contained information that was remarkably similar to the information uncovered by FBI investigators. This was a journalistic advantage not enjoyed by any other journalists at the time. In their later book, All the President's Men, Woodward and Bernstein claimed this information came from a single anonymous informant dubbed "Deep Throat". It was later revealed, and confirmed by Woodward and Bernstein, that Deep Throat was FBI Deputy Director W. Mark Felt. Woodward had befriended Felt years earlier, and had consulted with him on stories before the Watergate scandal. Woodward, Bernstein, and others credit the information provided by Deep Throat with being instrumental in ensuring the success of the investigation into the Watergate Scandal.