He was known as "Deep Throat," a shadowy government official who revealed to reporters Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein the inside scoop on the Watergate scandal and by doing so helped to bring down President Richard Nixon.
But why did this man - FBI official Mark Felt (1913-2008) - share his knowledge with the two Washington Post reporters?
Max Holland delves into that mystery in Leak: Why Mark Felt Became Deep Throat on Monday, June 18, 2012, at 6:30 p.m. at the Central Library, 14 W. 10th St.
Best known through Hal Holbrook's portrayal of him in the film version of Woodward and Bernstein's All the President's Men, Felt was regarded for decades as a conscientious but highly secretive whistleblower who shunned the limelight. Yet even after he finally revealed his identity in 2005, questions about his motives persisted.
Holland offers a key missing piece of the "Deep Throat" puzzle, revealing for the first time in detail what truly motivated Felt - who would rise to the No. 2 position at the FBI - to become the most fabled secret source in American history. In the process, he directly challenges Felt's own explanations while also demolishing the legend fostered by Woodward and Bernstein's bestselling account.
Holland reveals not a selfless official acting out of altruistic patriotism, but rather a career bureaucrat with his own very private agenda.
Drawing on new interviews and oral histories, old and just-released FBI Watergate files, papers of the Watergate Special Prosecution Force, presidential tape recordings, and Woodward and Bernstein's Watergate-related papers, Holland sheds important new light on both Felt's motivations and the complex and often problematic relationship between the press and government officials.
In doing so, he radically revises our understanding of America's most famous presidential scandal.
Holland is editor of the website Washington Decoded, contributing editor to the Wilson Quarterly and The Nation, and author of The Kennedy Assassination Tapes: The White House Conversations of Lyndon B. Johnson Regarding the Assassination, the Warren Commission, and the Aftermath. He received the J. Anthony Lukas Work-in-Progress Award for a forthcoming book on the Warren Commission.
Admission is free. The event will be preceded by a 6 p.m. reception. RSVP online  or call 816.701.3407. Free parking is available at the Library District Parking Garage at 10th & Baltimore.
Major funding for programs at the Kansas City Public Library is provided by a generous grant from the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation.