[JURIST] Wire services are reporting that a former FBI official is claiming to be "Deep Throat", the Washington insider who leaked secrets about the Watergate coverup to the Washington Post that eventually led to President Richard Nixon's 1974 resignation, according to an article to appear in the July issue of Vanity Fair magazine. W. Mark Felt, now 91 and living in Santa Rosa California, is the retired head of the agency's investigation division and has lately been in declining health. Post reporters Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein have repeatedly said they would only reveal their source after his death and have as yet declined to confirm the claim. AP has more. Slate provides background on Felt and the Deep Throat connection. The University of Illinois Department of Journalism reviews some of the theories about Deep Throat's identity, noting that Felt was advanced as the leaker in a 2002 book by former Post reporter Ronald Kessler entitled The Bureau: The Secret History of the FBI.
3:15 PM ET - Felt's grandson has issued a press statement supporting his claim:
The family believes my grandfather, Mark Felt Sr., is a great American hero who went well above and beyond the call of duty at much risk to himself to save his country from a horrible injustice. We all sincerely hope the country will see him this way as well. My grandfather is pleased that he is being honored for his role as Deep Throat with his friend Bob Woodward. He is also pleased by the attention this has drawn to his career and his 32 years of service to his country. But he believes in his heart that the men and women of the FBI who have put their lives at risk for more than 50 years to keep this country safe deserve recognition more than he.The Santa Rosa Press-Democrat has more.
Mark had expressed reservations in the past about revealing his identity, and about whether his actions were appropriate for an FBI man, but as he recently told my mother, 'I guess people used to think Deep Throat was a criminal. But now they think hes a hero.' Our family believes older people are our national treasure and should be honored and respected in the declining years of their lives. My grandfather is one of those special people and on behalf of the Felt family we hope you see him as worthy of honor and respect as we do. The Felt family does ask however, that in view of his age and health, you respect his zone of privacy as he enjoys this moment with us.