In April 1981 Richard Nixon sent a bottle of champagne, along with a note reading “Justice ultimately prevails,” to Mark Felt.
The triumph of justice that called for libations? The disgraced former FBI agent Felt had just received a presidential pardon, as the disgraced former president Nixon had some years earlier.
Today, Felt is best known as the mythical Deep Throat, the man who helped bring down the chief executive synonymous with the unchecked “imperial presidency.” Back in 1981 — before Deep Throat's identity had been revealed — Felt was known for different reasons. He was one of two FBI agents to be convicted of having “unlawfully, willfully, and knowingly combine[d], conspire[d], confederate[d], and agree[d] together and with each other to injure and oppress citizens of the United State.” The two agents had authorized break-ins, or black bag jobs, of relatives and acquaintances of suspected Weather Underground members. (While such a conviction could carry up to ten years in prison, Felt had merely been fined.)