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W. Mark Felt, 'Deep Throat' of Watergate, dead at 95

  • Story Highlights
  • W. Mark Felt, known as "Deep Throat," has died, sources tell CNN
  • Felt leaked information to Washington Post reporters about 1972 Watergate break-in
  • Watergate scandal eventually led to President Richard Nixon's resignation
  • Felt: "I thought I was doing the right thing"
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(CNN) -- W. Mark Felt, who leaked information to reporters under the moniker, "Deep Throat," about the Watergate break-in, died Thursday at the age of 95, sources told CNN.

W. Mark Felt, known as "Deep Throat," divulged information to reporters about the Watergate break-in.

W. Mark Felt, known as "Deep Throat," divulged information to reporters about the Watergate break-in.

Rob Jones, Felt's grandson, said his grandfather died at his home in Santa Rosa, California. According to published reports, Felt died of congestive heart failure.

Felt admitted in a 2005 Vanity Fair article he was the Washington Post's source for many of its 400 stories on the Watergate affair during the early 1970s. The Watergate break-in eventually led to the 1974 resignation of President Richard Nixon.

"I'm proud of everything that Deep Throat did," Felt, 92, told CNN's "Larry King Live" in 2006, his first public interview on the subject.

Felt's entanglement with history occurred in 1972 after the bungled break-in at the Democratic National Party offices in the Watergate hotel. Felt, an associate director at the FBI, said he was unhappy with the way the administration meddled with the investigation into the break-in, which led him to divulge information to the newspaper. Video Watch how Felt played a pivotal role in presidential history »

Carl Bernstein and Bob Woodward, then-rookie reporters with the Washington Post, did stories about the break-in and subsequent cover-up. Both men credited Felt for helping them, but Bernstein said Felt was a tough interview.

"He didn't leak. He had to really be squeezed," Bernstein said in a 2006 interview. "He confirmed mostly what we had gotten elsewhere. He didn't want to volunteer a lot of information, yet his role was essential in giving us a solidity and a knowledge that what we were reporting was right." Video Watch Bernstein praise Felt's courage »

When King asked Felt whether he felt he had done anything wrong in going outside approved channels to get information out, Felt was unequivocal.

"I thought I was doing the right thing," he said. Video Watch Felt's interview with Larry King »

Felt, who retired from the FBI in 1973, had his own legal problems. He was convicted in 1980 on conspiracy charges for authorizing government agents to break into homes without search warrants in a hunt for bombing suspects in 1972 and 1973.

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When the case went to trial, former President Nixon testified on Felt's behalf. Felt was eventually pardoned in 1981 by President Ronald Reagan.

When asked how he would like to be remembered, Felt said, "I'd like to be remembered as a government employee who did his best to help everybody."

-- CNN's Alan Duke contributed to this report.

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