By Michela Riva.
The Nose would like to acknowledge the death of Mark Felt, who in 2005 was revealed as the mysterious Washington Post source known as ‘deep throat’, the FBI agent who leaked information about the Watergate affair in the early 70’s.
Mr Felt died aged 95, of congestive heart failure in Santa Rosa, California, after several months of failing health.
follow the money
He was the inspiration behind the oscar-winning Dustin Hoffman/ Robert Redford classic movie, All the President’s Men about a shadowy FBI informant who aides reporters, Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein in their investigations to unearth the truth behind the break-in at the Democratic national committee’s headquarters at the Watergate building. What the journalists found was a web of deception, sabotage and espionage that could be traced to the Nixon administration and was the eventual undoing of president Nixon.
For years people had tried to guess Deep Throat’s identity, with Woodward and Bernstein refuting to reveal any detail while their source was alive. However in 2005, Mr Felt identified himself in a Vanity Fair interview and had since grappled with accepting his role in one of the most historic political scandals and inspiring what could be described as a landmark piece of investigative journalism.
Mr Felt had contended with critics who questioned his motive as a self-advancing tactic which brought the Federal Bureau into disrepute. He was seen as something of a ‘rat’ for divulging details of privileged information and someone not to be trusted. However, supporters maintain that he will be remembered for his honesty and courage.
“follow the money”, the phrase he used to guide Woodward through the murky waters of political plotting and bureaucratic decoys, has now entered common speech and remains something of an allusive term for journalists to mean, ‘look beyond the obvious and you’ll find the real story’.
It would be nice think that this simple phrase, represents the crux of good investigative journalism and this mantra is what Mark Felt will be remembered for in journalistic circles.