In “All the President’s Men,” he was a shadowy figure in a parking lot advising Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein to “follow the money” in their journalistic investigation of the Watergate cover-up that ultimately brought down President Richard M. Nixon in 1974.
The two reporters have long referred to him publicly only as “Deep Throat,” and for years the question of the real identity of the anonymous source has bedeviled journalistic and political circles, as captivating a mystery as the question of what happened to Jimmy Hoffa.
Now, an ailing and aging former senior F.B.I. official, W. Mark Felt, has told Vanity Fair magazine that he was the one who leaked certain secrets about Mr. Nixon’s Watergate cover-up to Mr. Woodward and Mr. Bernstein as they pursued the story for The Washington Post more than 30 years ago.
“I’m the guy they used to call Deep Throat,” Mr. Felt told John D. O’Connor, a lawyer and the author of the Vanity Fair article, the magazine said today in a news release.
Mr. Felt, who is 91 and living in Santa Rosa, Calif., was the second-in-command at the Federal Bureau Investigation in the early 1970’s, during the Nixon administration. According to the magazine, Mr. Felt kept his secret even from his family until 2002, when he confided it to a friend. Now, Vanity Fair said, Mr. Felt has given Mr. O’Connor permission to disclose his identity in the magazine’s July issue. “The Felt family cooperated fully, providing old photographs for the story and agreeing to sit for portraits,” Vanity Fair said.