Tilting at Windmills
Given the whoppers that Bob Woodward freely tells in the service of protecting the identity of his "sources" when a better man would just STFU, how much do I care that he tells the Harvard Crimson that "Mr. X" does not work in the administration? About as much as I care what Novakula has to say about the Democratic obsession with the 16 words.
Much more interesting is Matt Welch’s analysis of Woodward’s motives in all of this:
If there’s one theme tying his books together, it’s this: Don’t mess with the country’s secret intelligence agencies, and don’t let the White House develop a competing house of spooks. In an October interview with the First Amendment Center, Woodward said Felt, the FBI’s No. 2 man, was motivated by “the Nixon White House manipulating the FBI and trying to make the FBI into another instrument of the political apparatus.” Felt himself was no saint; he was later convicted of violating the civil rights of American citizens during his crackdown on the Weather Underground.
Veil, Woodward’s extraordinary 1987 account of how William Casey, director of the CIA during the Reagan administration, tried to force the agency to cook up bogus links between the Soviet Union and terrorism, reads like a prequel to Dick Cheney’s battles to stovepipe intelligence for the anti-communists’ new crusade against Islamic terrorism and Saddam Hussein. Indeed, it’s Cheney (whose office, after all, was the target of Fitzgerald’s investigation) who looks like the rogue in Woodward’s bureaucracy-influenced worldview.
The vice president, a Nixon appointee, was Gerald Ford’s chief of staff and has been the Bush administration’s point man in rolling back post-Watergate reforms limiting executive power. According to Woodward, “Cheney almost had another heart attack” when Bush agreed to be interviewed for his 2004 book Plan of Attack. And it’s not hard to guess to whom the Post reporter was referring when he told the First Amendment Center, “The big worry that we should have about the country is not terrorism or hurricanes or Karl Rove or George Bush or whoever; the real thing that will bring us down as a country is secret government.”
Maybe this is after all the white horse Woody sees himself riding on when the rest of us just see a commitment to access journalism and fat book deals.
Update: Swopa has more.