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Breaking news on the BBC website:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/americas/4597503.stm

A former deputy chief of the FBI has reportedly admitted to being "Deep Throat", the source who leaked secrets during the Watergate scandal.

Vanity Fair magazine says that Mark Felt owned up to being the source whose identity has been secret for decades.

The scandal forced the resignation of US President Richard Nixon.

Former Washington Post reporter Bob Woodward, who had secret meetings with "Deep Throat" during the affair, did not confirm the claim.

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Im sure you have all heard that woodward now confirms the story.

Thank you Mr.Felt!

Its good to finally have closure on this. This brings right into the public eye the watergate scandal all over again and hopefully a second look at the political climate of the 60s and 70s.

John

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I have spent the last week in rural Spain and have been a long way from national newspapers and the internet. I only discovered this morning that Mark Felt had confessed to being Deep Throat. It has long been known that Felt was passing information to the press.

On 19th October, 1972, White House Chief of Staff H. R. Haldeman told Nixon a secret source had identified Felt as someone who was leaking information about Watergate to the press. Nixon considered sacking Felt but Haldeman urged caution: "He knows everything that's to be known in the FBI. He has access to absolutely everything... If we move on him, he’ll go out and unload everything."

Nixon knew that Felt had complained bitterly to L. Patrick Gray when he had stopped Charles Nuzum, the FBI agent in charge of the Watergate investigation, from interviewing Ken Dahlberg and Manual Ogarrio. Gray claimed that it was Vernon Walters, deputy director of the CIA, who was applying pressure on the FBI not to interview these two men. It was claimed that these interviews would “imperial a CIA operation”. The truth of the situation was that Walters and Gray were both being pressurized by Nixon not to carry out a full investigation into Watergate. Both Gray and Walters were Nixon appointees and had been long time political associates of the president.

Felt, on the other hand had as a young man been active in the Democratic Party and had worked closely with James Pope, the senator from Idaho in the 1930s. This is interesting story in itself as Pope lost his seat after discovering details of corruption concerning arms dealings during the First World War. (I will post more about this fascinating story later).

Several writers have suggested that Mark Felt was Deep Throat. This includes Ronald Kessler (The Bureau: The Secret History of the FBI), James Mann (Atlantic Monthly) and Jack Limpert (Washingtonian). The first person to provide any real evidence that Felt was Deep Throat was Chase Culeman-Beckman. The 17 year old exposed Felt in high-school history paper in 1999. He revealed how as a 8 year old he was told Deep Throat’s identity by Jacob Bernstein, the son of Carl Bernstein. Culeman-Beckman's history teacher was not impressed and did not even give the essay an 'A' grade.

The reason why Felt has so far been rejected as a serious Deep Throat candidate concerns the information he was giving to Woodward. Some of it did include evidence acquired from the FBI investigation. As associate director, it was Felt's responsibility to compile all the information that came from all FBI agents before it was sent to L. Patrick Gray.

However, most of the important information that Deep Throat revealed did not come from the FBI. Instead it came from the CIA and the White House. How did Felt get hold of this information?

For example, one of the most important pieces of information Deep Throat gave Woodward was that Nixon’s was tapping his conversations at the White House. Woodward leaked this information to a staff member of Sam Ervin Committee. He in turn told Sam Dash and as a result Alexander P. Butterfield was questioned about the tapes. Only a very small number of people knew about the existence of these tapes. If Felt knew about these tapes he had his own Deep Throat. I suspect that was William Sullivan, his former colleague at the FBI who was working for the White House during this period (Nixon employed him in this role after he was sacked by Hoover).

Felt, who leaked information to Time Magazine about what became known as the “Kissinger taps”, later admitted that he got this information from Sullivan (one of the first things that Sullivan had done when he was appointed by Nixon was to transfer the wiretap logs to the White House). Sullivan was playing a double-game. He provided information to Nixon about the CIA role in the assassination of JFK. It was this information that Nixon tried to use to control Helms. However, Sullivan, like Felt, was a pro-Kennedy Democrat. I imagine they combined forces to bring down Nixon. I suspect they also had help from Richard Ober of the CIA in carrying out this task.

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