William Mark Felt, Sr (William Mark Felt)

William Mark Felt, Sr

FBI Agent, Watergate Figure. He was better known as “Deep Throat,” the name given him by the press to hide his identity as the secret government official who leaked details of the illegal activity relating to the Watergate Scandal.  His information led to the resignation of President Richard M. Nixon, who resigned rather than face an impeachment trial. Born the son of Mark Earl Felt and Rose R. Dygert Felt, a building contractor, he graduated from Twin Falls High School in 1931, and received a BA from the University of Idaho in 1935, where he was a member of Beta Theta Pi Fraternity.  He went to Washington DC to work in the office of Idaho Senator James P. Pope (Democrat), and in 1938 he married his college sweetheart, Audrey Robinson.  They would have two children:  Joan and Mark.  During the evenings, Felt attended the George Washington University Law School, earning his law degree in 1940 and was admitted to the DC Bar in 1941.  Upon graduation from Law School, he took a job with the Federal Trade Commission, but being dissatisfied with the work he had to do, he transferred to the FBI in January 1942.  During World War II, he worked in the Espionage Section, looking for German spies in the United States.  His most important case was Agent Peasant, a German spy captured in England, who was turned to the Allies.  Felt used him to feed disinformation back to Germany.  After the war, Felt was sent to a number of field assignments in Seattle, New Orleans, Las Vegas, and then back to Washington DC.  In July 1971, he was promoted to Deputy Associate Director, considered the third most important position in the FBI.  During this time, Felt ordered illegal wiretaps and break-ins of Weathermen (radial American citizens who were trying to overthrow the US Government), in which he would later state that while he knew the break-ins were illegal, he felt that they were necessary for the greater good of the country.  When J. Edgar Hoover died in his sleep in May 1972, Felt was promoted into the FBI’s number two position, Associate Director, with L. Patrick Gray becoming Director.  In 1972, President Richard Nixon (Republican) was facing reelection against Democratic challenger George McGovern.  The Headquarters of the Democratic National Committee was located in the Watergate Office Complex in Washington DC, and during the evening of June 17, 1972, five men were arrested while breaking into the DNC offices to plant wiretaps and other listening devices.  The men initially refused to talk, but investigation eventually linked the five men to the Republican Committee to Reelect the President, and many thought the President himself ordered the break-in.  Both the Congress and the American public demanded to know the truth.  From 1972 to 1974, Washington Post newspaper reporters Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein revealed several classified government documents that indicated how deeply into the president’s cabinet the scandal reached.  Woodward would only reveal that his source was an unnamed high-ranking government official that he codenamed “Deep Throat.”  Deep Throat’s information indicated illegal activity by several of the President’s closest advisors and cabinet members.  The resulting scandal led eventually to the conviction of many of President Richard Nixon’s advisors, and to President Nixon’s resignation in 1974.  Despite speculation over the next 30 years as to who was Deep Throat, Woodward kept his promise not to reveal his identity.  Felt admitted to his role of Deep Throat in May 2005, ending the speculation and indicating that he became the source of information because he believed the President’s men had violated both their oaths of office and the trust they owed to the American people.  Felt died in his sleep at a hospice care facility in Santa Rosa, California, at the age of 95.  The apparent cause of death was congestive heart failure. (bio by: Kit and Morgan Benson)


  • August, 17, 1913
  • USA


  • December, 12, 2008
  • USA


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