Deep Throat was pivotal to Nixon’s downfall.
The role of Deep Throat — the pseudonym of FBI agent Mark Felt, who served as an anonymous source for Washington Post reporter Bob Woodward during the scandal’s unfolding — is often dramatized in Hollywood depictions of Watergate, and headlines to this day insist on his importance in Nixon’s undoing. The Guardian called him “the man who brought down Nixon,” and Vanity Fair similarly labeled him the man who “brought down the Nixon administration.”
But by the time in 2005 that Deep Throat was revealed to be Felt — an FBI official, not a White House insider — people should have known better. Because Felt had no access to the inner workings of the White House, he was not feeding Woodward new information but merely hints about what the bureau’s investigation had uncovered, and in many cases, what the journalists reporting the Watergate story already knew. Indeed, when Woodward and his partner Carl Bernstein wrote the book “All the President’s Men,” they were surprised, per Bernstein, at the mystique that developed around Felt’s role. “We didn’t think his role would achieve such mythical dimensions,” Bernstein said in a 2005 interview. “You see there that Felt/Deep Throat largely confirmed information we had already gotten from other sources.”