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'Deep Throat' chronology: The life of William Mark Felt

PRESS DEMOCRAT STAFF, PRESS DEMOCRAT STAFF

WILLIAM MARK FELT

*Born Aug. 17, 1913, in Twin Falls, Idaho. Graduates from Twin Falls Senior High School in 1931.

*Graduates from University of Idaho, where he was president of his fraternity, in 1935 with a bachelor?s degree.

*Attends George Washington University Law School at night.

*In 1938, marries Audrey Robinson, a fellow university student now working with the Internal Revenue Service. The couple are married by the chaplain of the House of Representatives.

*Receives his law degree in 1940, passes the bar exam and takes a job at the Federal Trade Commission.

*Begins training to become an FBI special agent in 1941.

*First field posting is to Houston. Several years later, he is assigned to the FBI's espionage section in Washington investigating reports of possible saboteurs and Axis spies.

*In 1954, meets with FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover. In his 1979 memoir, ?The FBI Pyramid,? Felt describes hitting it off with Hoover in a 30-minute discussion that Hoover concluded by saying: "Mr. Felt, I enjoyed this conversation. You can be sure you will be kept in mind for a promotion."

*In 1962, after stints as the top FBI agent in Salt Lake City and Kansas City, Mo., transfers back to Washington. In 1964, is named head of the bureau's inspection division.

*On July 1, 1971, Hoover installs Felt, then 58, as the bureau's third-in-command. The New York Times reports that the appointment "has raised speculation that Hoover has settled on the man he would like to replace him."

*Less than a year later, on May 2, 1972, Hoover dies. The next day, President Nixon appoints L. Patrick Gray, assistant attorney general, as acting FBI director.

*June 17, 1972: The Watergate burglary — in which five men are arrested after being caught breaking into the Democratic National Committee headquarters — sets loose a chain of events eventually leading to Nixon's resignation. Felt, now the FBI's second-in-command, heads the bureau's investigation into the break-in and whether the White House was involved. In his memoir, he recounts issuing orders June 17 for the bureau "to go all out" on the investigation, and tells a subordinate: "This thing has all kinds of political ramifications and the press is going to have a field day."

*On June 19, 1972, according to the book "All the President's Men," by Carl Bernstein and Bob Woodward, the highly placed government source who came to be known as "Deep Throat" advised Woodward that Howard Hunt (a former CIA agent turned Nixon White House staffer) was definitely involved in Watergate. In his memoir, Felt writes that the White House grew to suspect he was Deep Throat because as the leaks continued, he refused repeated demands by White House counsel John Dean to take steps ensuring the silence of FBI agents. He maintains to Dean that the FBI couldn't be the source of all the information Woodward and Bernstein were reporting.

*January 1973: Gray tells Felt of the White House suspicions and says he has refused requests by Attorney General Richard Kleindienst to fire Felt. Felt wrote that he responded: "Pat, I haven't leaked anything to anybody. They are wrong."

*April 30, 1973: White House Chief of Staff H.R. "Bob" Haldeman, Nixon aide John D. Ehrlichman and Kleindienst resign.

*May 1973: The Senate Watergate Committee begins televised hearings.

*June 22, 1973: Felt retires from the FBI.

*June 1974: "The best gossip in town these days is the Deep Throat guessing game," writer Jack Limpert says in the Washingtonian Magazine. "Try someone like Mark Felt on for size," Limpert wrote, describing Felt as "a Hoover loyalist and number two man to Pat Gray" who had "every reason and resource for leaking the Watergate story and destroying Nixon."

*July 29, 1974: The Twin Falls Times-News reports that Felt is considering suing the Washingtonian, and quotes him: "I would not leak any information. I did not and would not. I don't operate that way."

*Aug. 8, 1974: President Nixon, faced with almost certain impeachment, resigns.

*1978: Felt (along with Gray and FBI Agent Edward S. Miller) is indicted on charges of having authorized illegal FBI break-ins in 1972 and 1973 of homes of people believed to be members of or associates of the Weather Underground.

*1980: Convicted of the charges after a trial during which former President Nixon testifies on his behalf.

*1981: Pardoned by President Ronald Reagan.

*1984: Audrey Felt dies; his attention shifts to spending time with his daughter, Joan, and her family in Santa Rosa.

*1990: Felt, moves to Santa Rosa from Alexandria, Va.

*1992: Felt buys a home on Redford Place in Santa Rosa, where he lives with his family.

*August 1999: Washington Post reporter Bob Woodward, who relied on Felt, visits his former source.

*Summer 2001: Felt suffers a stroke.

*Spring 2002: Marin County attorney John D. O'Connor meets Deep Throat's grandson Nick Jones. O'Connor meets with Felt a week later to discuss revealing his identity.

*June 2002: The Felt family and O'Connor pitch the Deep Throat story to People Magazine. The effort dies because the family wants too much money.

*Late 2003: Author Jess Walter makes three trips to Santa Rosa to interview Felt and his family for a book to be published by HarperCollins. A book is never written because of the publisher's concerns about Felt's mental capacities.

*August 2004: Woodward e-mails Joan Felt to inquire about her father's health.

*May 31 2005: Vanity Fair releases an online article written by O'Connor that identifies Felt as Deep Throat. Woodward and Carl Bernstein confirm his identity later that day.

*November 2008: Woodward, joined by Bernstein, makes final visit to Santa Rosa to pay their respects to Mark Felt. It is the first time Bernstein meets Felt.

*Dec. 18, 2008: Mark Felt dies at home in Santa Rosa surrounded by his family.

Source: Press Democrat