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A G-Man's Life

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A G-Man's Life

The FBI, Being 'Deep Throat', And the Struggle for Honor in Washington

Public Affairs,

15 min read
10 take-aways
Audio & text

What's inside?

When FBI official Mark Felt became "Deep Throat," he was torn by loyalty to both the FBI and the U.S.A. And he got torn up.

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Editorial Rating



  • Innovative


This essential historical account explains that the infamous Watergate break-in was only one event in a series of illegal acts by officials in the Nixon administration, which obstructed justice and hindered the subsequent Watergate investigations. Their success pushed career FBI agent Mark Felt to become a newspaper informant, famously known as "Deep Throat." Felt did not mention being "Deep Throat" when he wrote much of this autobiography in the mid-1980s. Instead, he dwells extensively on his early career and his work with J. Edgar Hoover, whose virtues and eccentricities he discusses in detail. With the passing years, Felt, now an old man, has forgotten many details of his fascinating career and the Watergate era. Co-author John O'Connor fleshes out Felt's account with material from Felt's files, relatives and colleagues. This includes new information about his family turmoil and his covert meetings with Post reporter Bob Woodward. Many readers know about Watergate, but Felt's story becomes even more powerful in light of the Justice Department investigations he underwent after his retirement. getAbstract highly recommends this book to anyone interested in U.S. politics.


A High-Stakes Game

Seattle FBI agent Mark Felt had his first one-on-one meeting with J. Edgar Hoover, the legendary head of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, in Washington, D.C., in 1954. They discussed the FBI's role in conducting time-consuming background investigations of Atomic Energy Commission members to prevent communist infiltration. Felt suggested that the FBI needed to check only senior level staff, not everyone. Hoover agreed. Days later, Felt received orders to move his family to Washington.

This fulfilled Felt's desire to be back in D.C., where he had wanted to live ever since he graduated from the University of Idaho in 1935 and decided to become an attorney. After graduation, he wrote to Idaho's senator, who hired him for his Washington staff. In 1938, Felt married another Idaho graduate, Audrey Robinson. After attending law school at night, he passed the bar in 1940. Following a dull job at the Federal Trade Commission, he applied to the FBI, which paid $3,200 a year. After a thorough background check, tests and a physical exam, he became a special agent in 1942, just as the FBI was expanding. It grew from 600 agents before WWII to 4,000 by 1945...

About the Authors

Mark Felt lives in Santa Rosa, California. John O'Connor is an attorney and director in the litigation department of a major law firm. His practice focuses on product liability, intellectual property and business tort litigation.

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