Bob Woodward (search) is finally telling all about Deep Throat.

After keeping the identity of his mysterious Watergate source secret for more than three decades, the Washington Post reporter writes in a story published Thursday that he first met Mark Felt (search) in 1970 in the White House (search).

Woodward was a 27-year-old Navy lieutenant who sometimes was asked to make deliveries to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. In 1970, the recent Yale graduate was sitting in a West Wing waiting room when a tall man with an air of confidence came in and sat beside him. The man was Felt, a senior FBI official.

The two men bonded over graduate studies they had both pursued at George Washington University and work they'd done for home-state politicians. Woodward recalled that Felt's interest in him seemed somehow paternal.

Woodward asked for Felt's phone number and was given his direct line.

And so began the relationship between Woodward and Felt, who would go on to become the FBI's No. 2 man. Felt’s friendship with Woodward became historic a year after that fateful meeting, when Woodward joined The Washington Post (search) and began a journalism career that would eventually lead to the downfall of an American president.

On Tuesday, Felt went public with his role in Watergate, confirming a story in the upcoming Vanity Fair that identifies him as the source who guided Woodward as he investigated President Richard Nixon (search) and key figures in the administration.

Woodward wrote in the Thursday edition of The Washington Post that it was Felt's idea to meet in an underground garage located in Northern Virginia like the one famously portrayed in the movie, “All the President's Men.” It was there he would give Woodward critical guidance with what the reporter describes as "staggering authority."

Woodward recalls the encounters this way:

"[T]he former World War II spy hunter liked the game. I suspect in his mind I was his agent. He beat it into my head: secrecy at all cost, no loose talk, no talk about him at all, no indication to anyone that such a secret source existed.”

Woodward says at the time, he didn't question Felt's motives, but now believes Felt was intent on protecting the FBI from an overbearing Nixon White House for which Felt had nothing but contempt.

Hero or Heel?

Charles Colson (search), the former Nixon White House counsel who was known within that administration as the "evil genius," told FOX News on Thursday that he was shocked to hear that Felt was Deep Throat.

The position Felt held in the FBI at the time is "one of the most trusted positions in government," Colson said, and even though Felt likely thought he was acting in the country's best interest, "the last thing you'd ever expect is for that man to go to the press so 'hero' is not the word I'd use" to describe him.

Colson served seven months in prison in 1974 after pleading guilty to obstruction of justice in the Watergate-related Daniel Ellsberg (search) case. He was also indicted for his role in the Watergate cover-up.

"I know they say it was a paranoid mood in Washington those days -- that's a lot of nonsense," Colson said, referring to why Felt secretly went to the press instead of just marching into the Oval Office and telling Nixon of the FBI's suspicions.

"The president at that point ... for preservation, would have had to act," Colson said. "You can't have the FBI knowing that kind of information and you're sitting there" trying to continue those questionable activities, he added.

Other public figures involved in Watergate scoffed at the idea that Felt was a hero.

"'Hero' is not the first word that comes to my mind," Henry Kissinger (search), President Richard Nixon's secretary of state, told FOX News on Wednesday.

"I view him as a troubled man. I don't think it's heroic to act as a spy on your president when you're in high office. I could fully understand if he resigned ... or if he went to the prosecutor. That would be heroic," Kissinger said.

G. Gordon Liddy (search), the Nixon associate who led the break-in at the Democratic National Committee headquarters at the Watergate hotel and office complex, told FOX News on Wednesday that if Felt had concerns, he should not have taken them to reporters.

"What you are ethically bound to do is go to a grand jury and seek an indictment and not go to a single news source," said Liddy, who was convicted and served nearly five years in prison for his role in the scandal.

Alexander Haig (search), Nixon's former chief of staff who had been fingered by Nixon White House counsel John W. Dean (search) III as Deep Throat, also said he doesn't view Felt in a favorable way. "I don't think I would categorize him as a hero in any way," he said.

"I live by a code that if you work for a president, you stay loyal to that president and if you can't for whatever reasons, then you have the obligation to resign and take whatever steps necessary in your power," he said.

But Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., hailed Felt as one of the original government whistleblowers.

"I am confident that history will see him in a very positive light," Schumer told The New York Post.

Felt's family also sees the 91-year-old differently than those who served with Nixon.

"The family believes my grandfather, Mark Felt, Sr., is a great American hero who went well above and beyond the call of duty, at much risk to himself, to save this country from a horrible injustice," said Felt's 23-year-old grandson, Nick Jones. "We all sincerely hope the country will see him this way as well."

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