above, for articles in
The Bob and Judy Show
Woodward’s bizarre explanation for his failure to reveal that he was aware of
the Bush administration’s attempt to expose the name of an intelligence agent a
month before Judy Miller or any other reporter is not credible.
Woodward at his word, the fact that he didn’t think the initial leak was
important makes sense. He was busy. His mind was on his book and everything on
his horizon was seen through the context of that project. But as soon as Joe
Wilson wrote his op-ed in the New York Times and Bob Novak took the White House
bait and exposed Wilson’s wife, Woodward should have taken action.
understand why Judy Miller didn’t. She and her neocon sources had a track record
of bad stories based on bad intelligence that led the country to war. She was
not likely to expose those who could expose her. Woodward had no such skeletons
in his closet. He writes warm and fuzzy books about the President. His calls get
returned, even from the top administration officials. The inexplicable thing is
that, like Miller, he did not do a story about the fact that the neocons were
trying to destroy a CIA agent’s career.
reporter could have smelled what was coming out of the Vice-President’s office.
Yet America’s premier investigative reporter didn’t figure it out?
this stew the fact that Woodward has been going on television over the last
couple of years telling us all there are no more Watergates and that this leak
investigation is pretty minor stuff. In that context his behavior becomes
no secret that Woodward has had a curious relationship with the intelligence
community. As a young Naval officer he was a very junior player to a number of
covert operations. In the early days a number of reporters wondered if Bob was
more comfortable working in a newsroom or doing the dirty work of a politically
motivated Admiral who was jealous of Henry Kissinger. Bob Woodward knows when a
job is being done on someone.
is not exactly a warm and fuzzy colleague. Several decades ago I was
investigating the disappearance of a John Paisley, a top CIA official, who
vanished while sailing on Chesapeake Bay. When I dug into Paisley’s background I
learned he had been an active participant in a sex partner swapping club in the
middle of the Watergate scandal. I quickly learned that Woodward’s partner, Carl
Bernstein, had attended some of these parties, Before I had a chance to approach
Carl I got a call from Detective Carl Shoffler, a DC cop and long time source.
Shoffler said that a prominent Post reporter wanted to talk to me about a
sensitive matter. Could I come down to Washington and meet with him.
meeting took place inside the men’s room in the basement of the U.S. Federal
Courthouse. The reporter was Tim Robinson and he was very nervous. “Woodward has
me investigating Carl Bernstein because of the work you are doing on this
Paisley story,” he said. “Can you help me on this?”
Carl, who I knew, said if
I wrote this story he could end up on the wrong end of a custody suit with his
ex-wife, Nora Ephron. So, after consulting with my editors, I left his name out
of the coverage. I have always regretted that. The entire episode raised real
questions about the entire “deep throat” episode. In 1988, while I was writing
Widows, which dealt with the Paisley case, I called Woodward and he finally
confirmed that he had authorized the investigation by Robinson into his former
Watergate reporting partner. I tell this story because it shows how concerned
Woodward was with anything that affected his reputation or his stories. Contrast
that behavior to sitting on the Valerie Plame leak story for more than two
and Woodward are celebrity reporters. They had been permitted by their employers
to make deals with sources that are not the norm in this business. In the CIA
leak case these two reporters entered into mutual protection agreements with
sources who were trying to leak the name of a covert CIA operative. When that
happened they should have wondered why this information was being leaked to
them. That is a reporter’s natural reaction. A normal reporter would have begun
asking what’s behind the effort to out this woman? What is the
some thought, a normal reporter would have gone to his or her editor and said
this approach did not add up. We ought to get to the bottom of it. Instead
Miller and Woodward both did something against all their reportorial training
and instincts - they sat on the story and even misled colleagues about it. That
is not the way a normal reporter behaves. But it is the way an intelligence or
political operative behaves.
Woodward and Miller’s insider status finally put them over the edge? Or will
Patrick Fitzgerald uncover something darker?
Copyright © 2003-2005 Public Education Center, Inc. All rights
www.publicedcenter.org Republished herein
with the author's consent.
has spent more than 35 years as an investigative journalist, working
with both print and broadcast outlets and writing extensively on national
security issues. Before joining the National Security News Service in 1991,
Trento worked for CNN's Special Assignment Unit, the Wilmington News
Journal, and prominent journalist Jack Anderson. Trento has received six
Pulitzer nominations and is the author of five books, the most recent of which
is The Secret
History of the CIA. He regularly publishes a blog at www.storiesthatmatter.org
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