And now we know. It was W. Mark Felt, the former No. 2 man at the FBI. While Woodward and Bernstein said they would only reveal Deep Throat's identity after he died, Felt finally outed himself. He is now 91 years old, in declining health, and living with his daughter in California.
When Felt revealed to his family a few years ago that he was the guy they called "Deep Throat," his family thought he should come forward and receive the acclaim he deserves. They think he is a hero. Yet there are people in this country who say he was motivated by spite. He had been passed over when President Nixon picked a successor to the famed FBI chief, J. Edgar Hoover. Other critics believe Felt was wrong to disclose classified information, that he was disloyal to the FBI.
Whatever you may think of Felt's motivations, he and the stories the Post reported helped change this country and proved no man is above the law, even if he is the president. Nixon was disgraced. A lot of his staff members went to jail. And a lot of young people flocked to journalism schools wanting to become investigative reporters.
By the way, the "gate" from "Watergate" has been used to describe all kinds of scandals -- Koreagate, Monicagate, Travelgate, Rathergate. If the "gate" is attached, it's a big story. But nothing yet could rival Watergate.