I was working on Capitol Hill when The Post published its first story in 1972 about the Watergate break-in. Thanks to W. Mark Felt, who, we now know, was "Deep Throat," a disgraced Richard M. Nixon was forced to resign from office, a little more than two years later [front page, June 1].

Somewhere between the Lincoln and Jefferson memorials, a statue of Mr. Felt needs to be erected. His courage helped save our nation.

DENNY FREIDENRICH

Laguna Beach, Calif.

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So if W. Mark Felt had been promoted we wouldn't have had a Watergate? It's probably a good thing that not everyone spills his guts after being denied a promotion.

Second in command at the FBI, and he can't keep a secret? He should be prosecuted.

ALBERT E. CRANDALL

Montgomery Village

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I agree with your assessment that trying to do the right thing for his country might have motivated W. Mark Felt to help reporters Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein.

The reactions of those who called Mr. Felt a traitor Tuesday should serve as a reminder that his actions were about our country and not the wishes for power of a few. Abuse of power was one of the biggest reasons for the downfall of Richard M. Nixon and "all the president's men." We were reminded then that a president is not above the law. Perhaps this country is in need of another reminder.

JEAN LIGHTFOOT

Anderson, Ind.

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W. Mark Felt has tarnished the entire FBI. By sneakily revealing information he has cast a doubt over the security and privacy of data gathered by the entire organization. There were other routes he could have taken. The Post is also guilty by abetting in the violation of an oath and trust.

CHARLES SPENCE

Gaithersburg

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Being only 37, I did not experience firsthand the Watergate era. But from history books and numerous classroom discussions I, too, reveled in the "whodunit" aspects of the identity of "Deep Throat." Thank you, Mark Felt, for your service to your country. It took guts. It strengthens my own resolve to serve my country honestly and faithfully in the model of Mr. Felt should I return to law enforcement.

KARL L. HARIG II

Pottsville, Pa.

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The number two man at the FBI, W. Mark Felt, secretly ratted out President Richard M. Nixon after Nixon failed to appoint Felt to head the FBI. Mr. Felt is no hero -- just a man who got his revenge and then hid out for 30-plus years.

MIKE RETHMAN

Kaneohe, Hawaii

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As a federal worker with the Transportation Security Administration, I have never forgotten my oath of office. Like W. Mark Felt, the former number two man at the FBI, I swore allegiance to my country, and I made the same promise when I volunteered for military service.

But because we are empowered by the citizenry, it is every federal employee's duty to blow the whistle on deception and criminal behavior.

Mr. Felt could have looked the other way, but he didn't. No one can say that the end did not justify the means.

A.J. CASTILLA

East Boston, Mass.

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The renewed discussion of Watergate underscores the critical role a free press plays in our society. The Post and W. Mark Felt acted responsibly and ethically in pursuing the Watergate scandal and revealing criminal activity at the highest levels of government. To hear Pat Buchanan and Charles Colson on TV offering up self-serving criticism of Mr. Felt's actions reminds me of the arrogance and the ethical deficit that caused the Nixon administration's troubles. Mr. Felt is to be congratulated for following his conscience in the face of intense pressure and personal risk.

S.E. PHILLIPS

Potomac

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Now that W. Mark Felt has identified himself as a source for your original Watergate coverage, I'm reminded of something my late father, who presided over the trial of the Watergate burglars and who experienced his own frustrations in trying to get to the bottom of the case, used to say: That the story of Watergate might never have surfaced without the courage and persistence of The Post and its reporters in the months after the break-in. We now know that Mr. Felt showed the same qualities in his service as "Deep Throat." He and his family should feel nothing but pride.

JACK SIRICA

Northport, N.Y.