Mark Felt, the former FBI agent who was Bob Woodward's "Deep Throat" source, is dead. He was 95.
In May 2005, Felt's declining health forced Woodward and his publisher, Simon & Schuster, to rush to print "The Secret Man," a book about Woodward's relationship with his Felt. Felt's family decided to reveal his identity -- one of Washington's rare, kept secrets for a more than three decades -- by way of a magazine interview. (Full disclosure: Woodward's editor at S&S, Alice Mayhew, is also mine.)
Other papers besides W&B's Washington Post were working the story of Nixon's corruption, and maybe that story would have been reported out, in a slightly different way, and Nixon would still have been forced to resign, without Felt's contributions to Woodward.
But without Felt it's rather unlikely that "All the President's Men" -- the book that made Woodward and Bernstein famous and changed politics, journalism, and political journalism forever in this country -- would have been possible. And that book still resonates with many people, myself included.