The Leak: W. Mark Felt was an associate director at the Federal Bureau of Investigation when he leaked the information and was said to be peeved at being passed over for the top FBI job.
The scandal that eventually brought down Richard Nixon was an intricate web of political intrigue that started with a break-in at the Democratic party’s national committee offices at the Watergate Hotel in Washington, D.C.
The break-in was part of a wider campaign of political spying and wire-tapping that the government tried to cover-up. Illicit information about this espionage from Felt, an administration insider alias “Deep Throat,” was leaked to two journalists, Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein, that made the scandal public.
The Outcome: As Watergate was brewing and administration officials discovered Deep Throat’s identity through wiretaps, Felt organized unauthorized break-ins at the homes of Vietnam protesters in the name of national security.
As a consequence of these illegal break-ins, in 1980 he was convicted in a criminal trial and charged for having “conspired to violate citizens’ Fourth Amendment rights to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures.” However, in a few months after the conviction Ronald Reagan pardoned Felt.
He disappeared from the public eye for almost three decades and was secretly investigated by the FBI for leaking confidential information. For thirty years, he denied that he had been “Deep Throat.” In 2005, Felt came forward and revealed his identity; he died three years later.