Deep Throat in deep sleep

Mark Felt, Bob Woodward's mysterious source, dies at 95.

Published December 19, 2008 7:08PM (EST)

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.

By Thomas Schaller

Thomas F. Schaller is professor of political science at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County and the author of "Whistling Past Dixie: How Democrats Can Win Without the South." Follow him @schaller67.

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