I was previously a constitutional law and civil rights litigator and am now a journalist. I am the author of three New York Times bestselling books -- "How Would a Patriot Act" (a critique of Bush executive power theories), "Tragic Legacy" (documenting the Bush legacy), and With Liberty and Justice for Some (critiquing America's two-tiered justice system and the collapse of the rule of law for its political and financial elites). My fifth book - No Place to Hide: Edward Snowden, the NSA and the US Surveillance State - will be released on April 29, 2014 by Holt/Metropolitan.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Cheney & Woodward: Working together in the past

Amidst all of the speculation about the identity of the Senior Administration Official who is Bob Woodward's original source, it is worth noting that Woodward did extensive interviews with Dick Cheney as part of Woodward's Bush-glorifying book, Plan of Attack.

Here's Woodward being interviewed by Gwen Ifell about that book:

GWEN IFILL: Let's talk about the relationships of all these people who are decision-makers who are on the cover of this book. Rate them for us in terms of influence, starting with the president and working your way down.

BOB WOODWARD: Well, one of the things that is clear to me from the reporting and discussions with the president, where I was able to go in for hours and ask him literally hundreds of questions -- kind of unprecedented, something his father would never let a reporter do, something, certainly, Bill Clinton would never let....

GWEN IFILL: And something Vice President Dick Cheney did not agree to.

BOB WOODWARD: Something Vice President Cheney was worried about, but now the White House has publicly said that I did interview Vice President Cheney for this.

So the president is the decision-maker and he ... weapons of mass destruction, important, but when you dig into the why -- you know, why did you do this -- he said, explicitly, he believes we have a duty to free people, to liberate people.

And I asked him directly, I said, "Is this not kind of a dangerous paternalism where people are going to say, now, wait a minute, where's the United States coming in and liberating us?"

And he said, quite directly, he said, "that's an elite view," and that people who are liberated are delighted and happy with it. And he wants to fix things. I think it is a moral determination which we've not seen in the White House maybe in 100 years.

Bob Woodward has built his entire post-Watergate career based on his unique access to Government officials at the highest levels. Whoever his Plame source was, he was very senior. That's where Woodward gets his information. He obviously has a prior relationship with Cheney and is one of the Administration's favorite journalists for planting information. Shouldn't Cheney's office be asked immediately if it was someone in Cheney's office, or Cheney himself, who leaked to Woodward?

Apparently all the buzz in Washington right now is that Dick Cheney, variously called "The Prince of Darkness" and "Darth Vader" by his enemies (and even some friends, anonymously), may well be enlisted to run for President on the Republican ticket in 2008. If true, it means that the man who started all the buzz--journalist Bob Woodward, who in a recent speech speculated the current Vice-President, despite his protestations, would indeed run for the Oval Office.

UPDATE: When the Administration wanted to get word out that George Tenet supposedly told Bush prior to the war that it was a "slam dunk" that Saddam had WMDs -- a fact which has become the favorite tool for Bush defenders to use in defending him against charges of pre-war lying -- whom did they choose to disseminate this nugget? Their favorite in-house Kremlin propagandist well-respected journalist, Bob Woodward:

About two weeks before deciding to invade Iraq, President Bush was told by CIA Director George Tenet there was a "slam dunk case" that dictator Saddam Hussein had unconventional weapons, according to a new book by Washington Post journalist Bob Woodward.

That declaration was "very important" in his decision making, according to "Plan of Attack," which is being excerpted this week in The Post.

And let's not forget Woodward's speech awhile back, which generated a fair amount of press, in which Woodward pumped up Cheney as a serious contender for the 2008 presdiency.

Finally, here is an excellent compilation of the countless ways in which Woodward is inextricably in bed with the Administration on which he ostensibly reports.

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