Deep Throat Honored, but Not Here

2011-08-23T07:00:00Z 2011-08-23T07:06:13Z Deep Throat Honored, but Not HereYou Don't Say Steve Crump Twin Falls Times-News
August 23, 2011 7:00 am  • 

There’s no monument in Twin Falls to the city’s most famous son. For that, you must visit a parking lot in Rosslyn, Va.

Earlier this month, the Arlington, Va., Historical Preservation Council installed a sign in front of a gray brick parking garage at 1401 Wilson Blvd. There, W. Mark Felt, Twin Falls High School Class of ’31, brought down a president.

For 11 months between October 1972 and November 1973, Felt – associate director of the FBI – gave Washington Post reporter Bob Woodward the essential details of the attempt by the administration of President Richard Nixon to cover up a White House-orchestrated burglary at the offices of the Democratic National Committee at the Watergate complex in Washington, D.C., in June 1972. Felt’s information, published by the Post, led to a high-profile congressional investigation and Nixon’s resignation in August 1974.

“Deep Throat” was Felt’s code name.

"We thought we should probably do a marker and let people know this, indeed, is where all these things took place," said Michael Leventhal, historic preservation coordinator. "As with all these changes ... you don't want to lose that something happened and this is where things occurred."

Felt always met Woodward in parking space 32-D at 2 in the morning. If the G-man had information for the reporter, he’d leave a message on Page 20 of a copy of The New York Times in Woodward’s apartment building lobby.

“Felt said I would have to observe strict counter-surveillance techniques … ” Woodward wrote in his 2006 book Secret Man. “Take the alley, don’t use  your own car. Take a taxicab from a point several blocks from your hotel where they are cabs after midnight. Get dropped off and then walk to a second cab in Rosslyn. Don’t get dropped off directly at the parking garage. Walk the last several blocks to the garage …”

Nixon’s men didn’t discover Deep Throat’s identity until long after the president left office. Felt outed himself in a 2005 article in Vanity Fair; Nixon himself died in 1994.

“The FBI was at war, but not with the usual suspects,” Woodward wrote. “The war was with Nixon and his men. So Felt took to the underground parking garage. He never voiced pure, raw outrage to me about Watergate or what it represented … Nixon was trying to subvert not only the law but the (FBI). So Watergate became Felt’s instrument’s to reassert the (FBI’s) and thus its supremacy.”

In May 1973, Nixon passed over Felt – then the agency’s No. 2 man – and hired William Ruckelshaus as director.  Felt retired a month later, and died in 2008.

The sign now marking the spot was first drafted by the Arlington County government in 2008, but sat in the Historic Preservation office waiting for a special occasion for it to be erected on city streets, according to Washington, D.C., radio station WTOP. After three years of waiting for an organization to create some pomp, Leventhal's department finally installed it earlier this month "as we do things in Arlington: nicely, quietly, professionally, and (then) go about our business.”

 

Steve Crump is the Times-News Opinion

editor.

 

 

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