Famous whistleblowers: Mark Felt

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Famous whistleblowers: Mark Felt

Watergate is one of the biggest political sensations in US history. It took place in 1972-1974, and its initiator was none other than Richard Nixon, 37 US president, who (after the disclosure of the scandal) was the only US president to step down from his position, infamously writing in the pages of political America.

What was Watergate?

The scandal evolved around illegal activities of Nixon’s state administration. His supporters wanted Nixon’s reelection so badly that they tried to discredit his opponents. Their actions were not only offensive, but also illegal. Nixon formed the organization called "Committee to Re-Elect the President" and went so far as to get medical documents incriminating his rival - Daniel Ellsberg, who was visiting the psychiatrist at that time.

Whistleblowers initially passed on the information, which suggested that the Nixon administration wanted to illegally discredit democratic opponents, but they did not have sufficient evidence that would allow law enforcement authorities to take appropriate steps and end illegal activities.

Everything changed in 1972, when five people broke into the Democratic National Committee headquarters in Washington and tried to illegally wiretap the building. Among those detained was James McCord, a member of the Committee to Re-Elect the President. Then, both the FBI and the public focused more on the activities of the group. However, despite the scandal, Nixon easily won the 1972 presidential election.

The "Plumbers" - as five men covered with Watergate were called - was further investigated. Society took a closer look at the President, while journalists from "Washington Post" - Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein - focused on proving the illegal actions of the Committee to Re-Elect the President. They were supported by an anonymous source of information - the whistleblower under the name of "Deep Throat". Reporters published the information provided by the whistleblower and protected his identity for many years. It was only in 2005 when Deep Throat's identity was revealed to be Mark Felt - the then deputy director of the FBI, which was directly involved in the Watergate burglary case.

Mark Felt was angry at how much the Nixon’s administration pulled the strings hiding their illegal behavior. For this reason he decided to cooperate with the independent media, which did not disappoint his confidence and helped reveal the truth.

After numerous articles and publicized cases, a Senate committee was set up that was supposed to objectively deal with Nixon’s partners. TV stations gave a live broadcast of hours of hearings of witnesses for many months of 1973. Americans could see by themselves what the ruling party did to have their president re-elected. The public lost confidence in their president and the House of Representatives in 1974 decided to put Nixon in the indictment and then deprive him of his office. However, on August 9 1974, Richard Nixon himself resigned from his function. His successor, Gerald Ford issued an act of grace, which prevented legal actions against Nixon.

To this day, Mark Felt is one of the most popular whistleblowers. Recognized as an American patriot, he ignored the danger and informed the relevant departments about what was happening. Despite the fact that Nixon was not convicted for his actions, he could no longer hold the presidential function.

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