Dead, William Mark Felt, Sr. on December 18, 2008 at the age of 95, he was a Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) special agent who retired as the Bureau’s Deputy Director in 1973.
Born on August 17, 1913, in Twin Falls, Idaho, Felt was the son of carpenter and building contractor Mark Earl Felt and his wife, the former Rose R. Dygert.
His paternal grandfather was a Free Will Baptist minister.
His maternal grandparents were born in Canada and Scotland; through his maternal grandfather, Felt was a relative of Revolutionary War general Nicholas Herkimer.
After graduating from Twin Falls High School in 1931, he attended the University of Idaho in Moscow, and was a member and president of the Gamma Gamma chapter of the Beta Theta Pi fraternity.
During the early investigation of the Watergate scandal (1972–1974), and shortly after the death of longtime FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover on May 2, 1972, Felt was the Bureau’s Associate Director, the second-ranking post in the FBI.
While serving as Associate Director, Felt provided the Washington Post with critical information that eventually led to the resignation of President Richard M. Nixon in 1974.
In 1980, Felt was convicted of violating the civil rights of people thought to be associated with members of the Weather Underground Organization, by ordering FBI agents to search their homes as part of an attempt to prevent bombings. He was ordered to pay a fine, but was pardoned by
President Ronald Reagan during his appeal.
After completing sixteen weeks of training at the FBI Academy at Quantico, Virginia, and FBI Headquarters in Washington, DC., Felt was first assigned to Texas, working in the field offices in Houston and San Antonio, spending three months in each.
He then returned to FBI Headquarters, and was assigned to the Espionage Section of the Domestic Intelligence Division, tracking down spies and saboteurs during World War II, where he worked on the Major Case Desk.
His most notable work there was on the “Peasant” case. Helmut Goldschmidt, operating under the codename “Peasant”, was a German agent in custody in England.
Under Felt’s direction, his German masters were informed “Peasant” had made his way to the United States, and were fed disinformation on Allied plans.
In 1938, he married his college sweetheart, Audrey Robinson, in Washington.
They were wed by the chaplain of the House of Representatives. She died in 1984. The couple had a daughter, Joan, and a son, Mark. They and four grandsons survive Mr. Felt.
In 2005, Mr. Felt revealed that he was the one who had secretly supplied Bob Woodward of The Washington Post with crucial leads in the Watergate affair in the early 1970s.
His decision to unmask himself, in an article in Vanity Fair, ended a guessing game that had gone on for more than 30 years.