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10
A Watershed Moment

Former FBI official Mark Felt arriving at federal court in 1980.

© Bettmann/CORBIS

As political scandals go, Watergate represents just how ugly governments can get -- and how determined whistleblowers can bring them down. In the early 1970s, the Nixon administration was in the midst of full-blown paranoia, bugging the offices of political opponents, harassing protesters and generally just abusing power on a large scale.

Nixon henchmen were even arrested after they broke into the offices of the Democratic National Committee Headquarters with the intention of bugging phones. Subsequently, Nixon's men attempted a cover-up.

Two intrepid reporters from the Washington Post, Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein, began investigating the story. They found a vital inside source, code-named Deep Throat, who supplied them with leads that helped them track the bungling burglars back to the Oval Office. Eventually, it became clear that Nixon had orchestrated many wrongdoings, and he was eventually forced to resign.

It wasn't until three decades later that Deep Throat -- Mark Felt -- stepped forward. Felt was a high-ranking FBI official who had access to all sorts of documents that helped Woodward and Bernstein piece together and confirm their suspicious about the puzzling scandal. In the end, Felt and the Post reporters played important roles in the unraveling of an American president.

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