Watergate Revisited: Following Felt's Trail

Passed over for the FBI directorship and wary of Nixon's imperial ambitions, W. Mark Felt became Deep Throat: the shadowy source whose confirmations and clues drove "Woodstein" to dig where others didn't dare. A look back at the twists and turns of Watergate--and the part that one man played in toppling a president. ^ Watergate events and revelations ^ Felt's ROLE WATERGATE EVENTS AND REVELATIONS: 1970

WATERGATE EVENTS AND REVELATIONS: Spring: Navy courier Bob Woodward delivers a package to the West Wing, where he meets FBI Assistant Director W. Mark Felt. Woodward asks for Felt's number; Felt offers up his direct office line.


WATERGATE EVENTS AND REVELATIONS: May 2: At 9:45 a.m., Felt learns that FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover has died. Promoted a year earlier to a top bureau spot, he's next in line--but Nixon appoints outsider L. Patrick Gray instead.

FELT'S ROLE: June 17: 2:30 a.m. Five men equipped with bugging devices and cameras are arrested while breaking into DNC HQ at the Watergate Hotel. One, James McCord, says he has worked for the CIA; two carry notes that link an "E. Howard Hunt" to the White House.

WATERGATE EVENTS AND REVELATIONS: June 19: Now a Washington Post reporter, Woodward calls Felt at his FBI office, seeking info about Hunt; Felt says the case will "heat up"--then hangs up. Woodward soon learns that Hunt once worked for the CIA and calls Felt back. Felt now admits that Hunt "is a prime suspect" in the Watergate investigation.

FELT'S ROLE: June 19: The Post reports that McCord is a GOP security aide; former attorney general and current Nixon campaign manager John Mitchell denies any ties to the break-in. Nixon is ahead in the polls by 19 points.

WATERGATE EVENTS AND REVELATIONS: July 5: Convinced that the White House is bent on obstructing the ongoing FBI investigation, Felt and two colleagues meet with Gray to protest. Felt soon tells Woodward that "the White House regard[s] the stakes ... as much higher than anyone outside perceive[s]."

FELT'S ROLE: Aug. 1: Linking Nixon cash to Watergate for the first time, the Post reports that a $25,000 check donated to the re-election campaign wound up in the bank account of a Watergate burglar.

WATERGATE EVENTS AND REVELATIONS: August: Unable to reach his source on the phone, Woodward visits Felt's home in Fairfax, Va. There, Felt tells the reporter that from now on they must speak in person, late at night, on the bottom level of a parking garage in Rosslyn, Va. They agree on a set of signals that will allow both to call meetings when necessary.

FELT'S ROLE: SEPT. 15: The grand jury hands down indictments of Hunt, G. Gordon Liddy and the five Watergate burglars.

WATERGATE EVENTS AND REVELATIONS: Sept. 16: Breaking the rules, Woodward calls Felt and reads him a draft of a story hinting that officials from the Committee for the Re-election of the President (CRP) financed Watergate; Felt says "you can go much stronger" about which officials controlled the secret fund.

WATERGATE EVENTS AND REVELATIONS: Sept. 17: Over the phone, a frightened Felt confirms that Nixon deputy campaign director Jeb Magruder and CRP staffer Herbert Porter received at least $50,000 in secret-fund dough.

FELT'S ROLE: Sept. 29: The Post reports: "John Mitchell, while serving as [A.G.], personally controlled a secret Republican fund that was used to gather information about the Democrats."

WATERGATE EVENTS AND REVELATIONS: Oct. 8: Meeting in Rosslyn from 1:30 to 6 a.m., a harried Felt tells Woodward that 50 staffers at CRP and the White House engaged in ops designed to harm Nixon's opponents.

FELT'S ROLE: Oct. 10: The Post reports: "FBI agents have established that [Watergate] stems from a massive campaign of political spying and sabotage."

WATERGATE EVENTS AND REVELATIONS: Oct. 19: In the White House, H. R. Haldeman names Felt as the top tattler. "If we move on him," says the chief of staff, "he'll go out and unload everything."

WATERGATE EVENTS AND REVELATIONS: Oct. 27: After Woodward and Carl Bernstein wrongly report that the CRP treasurer fingered Haldeman in his federal testimony, Felt confirms that Haldeman does, in fact, control the fund. The Post prints Felt's blind quote: "This is a Haldeman operation."

FELT'S ROLE: Nov. 7: Nixon is re-elected with more than 60 percent of the vote--one of the largest landslides in American history.


WATERGATE EVENTS AND REVELATIONS: Jan. 24: Felt meets Woodward in the Rosslyn garage and confirms that Mitchell and White House special counsel Charles Colson were "behind the Watergate operation."

FELT'S ROLE: Jan. 30: After pleading not guilty on all counts, McCord and Liddy are convicted of conspiracy, burglary and wiretapping.

WATERGATE EVENTS AND REVELATIONS: April 26: As evidence that implicates Haldeman, Mitchell and top aide John Ehrlichman goes public, Felt confirms that FBI Acting Director Gray destroyed incriminating documents recovered from Hunt's White House safe.

FELT'S ROLE: April 30: Haldeman, Ehrlichman and Attorney General Richard Kleindienst resign; Nixon fires White House counsel John Dean.

WATERGATE EVENTS AND REVELATIONS: May 16: Fresh from a frantic encounter with Felt, Woodward tells Bernstein that "everyone's life is in danger" and "electronic surveillance is going on"; they never find evidence of either.

FELT'S ROLE: May 17: The Senate Watergate Committee begins its nationally televised hearings.

FELT'S ROLE: June 3: The Post reports that Dean has testified to discussing the Watergate cover-up with the president "on at least 35 occasions."


FELT'S ROLE: July 13: In his congressional testimony, a former Nixon aide reveals that since 1971 the president has recorded all West Wing phone calls and conversations.

FELT'S ROLE: July 18: Nixon shuts off the taping system.

FELT'S ROLE: July 23: Asked to turn over the White House tape recordings to the Senate or the special prosecutor, Nixon refuses.

FELT'S ROLE: Oct. 20: The Saturday Night Massacre. With impeachment looming, Nixon asks A.G. Elliot Richardson to fire special prosecutor Archibald Cox, but the A.G. resigns in protest. Richardson's deputy also resigns; instead Acting A.G. Robert Bork must fire Cox.

WATERGATE EVENTS AND REVELATIONS: November: Felt tells Woodward that there are deliberate erasures on the tapes that Nixon has just turned in.

FELT'S ROLE: Nov. 21: The Senate reveals that there's an 18^-minute gap in the tape of Nixon's June 20, 1972, chat with Haldeman.


FELT'S ROLE: April 30: The White House releases more than 1,200 pages of edited tape transcripts; the House demands the actual tapes.

FELT'S ROLE: July 24: The Supreme Court rejects Nixon's claim of executive privilege, ruling unanimously that Nixon must turn over the tape recordings of 64 White House conversations.

FELT'S ROLE: July 27-30: The House judiciary committee adopts three articles of impeachment, including obstruction of justice.

WATERGATE EVENTS AND REVELATIONS: August: When asked by The Washingtonian if he's Deep Throat, Felt says: "I can tell that it was not I and it is not I."

FELT'S ROLE: Aug. 9: Richard Nixon resigns from the presidency.