Former FBI No. 2 Mark Felt is "Deep Throat," the legendary source who leaked Watergate scandal secrets to the Washington Post and helped bring down President Richard Nixon, journalists Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein said on Tuesday after 30 years of secrecy.

The two Post reporters, whose aggressive stories on Watergate led to Nixon's August 1974 resignation, confirmed Felt was "Deep Throat" after Vanity Fair magazine and Felt's family members made his role public.

The unmasking of "Deep Throat" solves one of the greatest political and journalistic mysteries of modern times and ends three decades of speculation on his identity by historians and political observers.

"W. Mark Felt was 'Deep Throat' and helped us immeasurably in our Watergate coverage," Woodward and Bernstein said in a joint statement posted on the Post's Web site.

Vanity Fair had reported earlier on Tuesday that Felt, now a 91-year-old retiree living in Santa Rosa, California, had told the magazine and his family that he was the Post's anonymous source.

"I'm the guy they used to call Deep Throat," Felt told lawyer John O'Connor, author of the magazine story.

Felt's grandson told reporters on Tuesday his grandfather was "an American hero" for his role in uncovering the Watergate scandal, and his daughter said he had "a big grin" upon learning of the Vanity Fair article.

Woodward and Bernstein had refused for decades to reveal the name of their source, spawning multiple books, documentaries and investigations guessing at his identity.

Only three people -- Woodward, Bernstein and former Post Editor Ben Bradlee -- knew his name, and they vowed not to reveal it until after his death. The Post quoted Bradlee as saying that knowing "Deep Throat" was a top FBI official gave him confidence about the newspaper's reporting on Watergate.

"The No. 2 guy at the FBI, that was a pretty good source," Bradlee told the Post.

Felt had always been on the short list of potential Deep Throats. The source was instrumental to the Post's reporting on the Watergate scandal that led to Nixon's resignation in August 1974 -- the only resignation of a U.S. president in history.
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