The full, unedited transcript of Bob Woodward‘s appearance on Larry King Live is after the jump…
CNNâ€™s Larry King Live
Airdate: Monday, November 21, 2005 at 9pmET
Guest: Bob Woodward
LARRY KING, CNN HOST: Tonight, an exclusive, Pulitzer Prize-winning
journalist Bob Woodward, caught up in the CIA leak controversy. What
did he know about Joe Wilson’s wife, Valerie Plame? When did he know
it? And why didn’t he tell his boss for more than two years?
Bob Woodward for the hour, next on LARRY KING LIVE.
Good evening. Tonight, we welcome Bob Woodward for one of his many
appearances to LARRY KING LIVE at our request. And he did accept almost
immediately. The assistant managing editor, Pulitzer Prize-winning
journalist, his number-one “New York Times” bestseller.
His books have included “The Secret Man: The Story of Watergate’s
Deep Throat” and “Plan of Attack.” He’s currently writing another book.
A little background. On November 14th, Bob Woodward gave a sworn
deposition to Special Counsel Patrick Fitzgerald in connection with the
public disclosure of the identity of the CIA officer, Valerie Plame.
The deposition focused on small portions of interviews that Woodward had
done with what he characterizes as three current or former Bush
The interviews in question were conducted in June of 2003. Woodward
says it was in mid-June that one of those officials told him that Joe
Wilson’s wife worked for the CIA. The hottest parlor game in Washington
is trying to guess the identity of the still-confidential source. That
source has released Woodward to talk to Special Counsel Fitzgerald, but
not to publicly disclose his or her identity.
This program has come into question, because on the night of October
27th, in response to rumors that he’d have a bombshell, he was on this
program. Michael Isikoff of “Newsweek” said the following. Watch.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MICHAEL ISIKOFF, REPORTER, “NEWSWEEK”: I talked to a source at the
White House late this afternoon who told me that Bob is going to have a
bombshell in tomorrow’s paper, identifying the Mr. X source who was
behind the whole thing. So I don’t know. Maybe this is Bob’s
KING: Come clean.
BOB WOODWARD, ASSISTANT MANAGING EDITOR, “THE WASHINGTON POST”: I
wish I did have a bombshell. I don’t even have a firecracker. I’m sorry.
In fact, I mean, this tells you something about what’s — the
atmosphere here. I got a call from somebody in the CIA saying he got a
call from the best “New York Times” reporter on this saying that I
supposedly had a bombshell. Finally…
KING: And that you were going to do it tonight, right?
WOODWARD: … that it was going to do tonight or in the paper.
Finally, Len Downie, who is the editor of the “Washington Post,” called
me and said, “I hear you have a bombshell.”
“Would you let me in on it?”
KING: So now the rumors are about you?
WOODWARD: And I said, “I’m sorry to disappoint you, but I don’t.”
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: OK, Robert, what were you not telling us that night?
WOODWARD: Well, first of all, I was telling you the exact truth,
that I did not have a bombshell or any story for the next day’s paper.
I did know that, back over two years ago, at the end of a very long
interview, substantive interview, for my book, “Plan of Attack,” a
source had, when I asked about Joe Wilson, told me that Wilson’s wife
worked at the CIA as a WMD analyst.
At that point, and on your show, I didn’t know what that meant at
all, because it was such a casual, off-hand remark.
KING: But should you — you later apologized. Should you have told
WOODWARD: Yes. I have a great relationship with Len Downie, the
editor of the “Post,” and I was trying to avoid being subpoenaed. And I
should have, as I have many, many times, taken him into my confidence.
And I did not.
KING: But did you also know, when you came on — and these may be
difficult things for investigative journalists — that you had to talk
about the Plame case, and yet you knew you couldn’t say certain things
about it, or wouldn’t say certain things about it.
WOODWARD: That’s true, but every time somebody appears on your show
talking about the news or giving some sort of analysis, there are going
to be things that they can’t talk about. It’s not at all unusual.
There are all kinds of things — I’m working on a book on Bush’s second
term. I’m trying to put the pieces of the puzzle together. There are
things I know that I’m just not going to talk about involving that research.
So it’s an ongoing process and to take a snapshot, which is fair
when that was asked of me, I knew in the back of my mind how off-hand
and casual this was, and I was trying to make the underlying point,
which I think is very important, that it seemed to me there was no
crime, no underlying crime, in this investigation. In fact, the very
next day, when the special counsel, Patrick Fitzgerald, announced he was
indicting Libby for perjury, he did not indict anybody for the
underlying crime. So he seems to, at least at this point, agree with
So I don’t find it unusual — I don’t find it uncomfortable going
back to the Clinton years or all kinds of things we’ve talked about. I
try to give as much information as I can, but it is inevitable, if I’m
doing my job trying to dig into what’s going on in the Bush
administration, what is the nature of this war, what is the CIA up to,
that there are going to be things I know that we can’t talk about, or
I’m not going to bring up most certainly.
KING: In retrospect, Bob, could you have said on the show that
night, Well, to you and your viewers, I do have some information, I’m
working on it, something was said to me, but I can’t reveal it. That
would have covered this whole thing.
WOODWARD: But that’s always the case. That’s always the case. And
that would be — you know, well what is it — you would have asked me,
What are you working on, is it bigger than a bread box, is it a
bombshell, is it a firecracker, is it a stick of dynamite and so forth.
That is the nature of this kind of reporting. Remember, I’m trying to
figure out what goes on in a very closed, secretive White House, and
have had some success at doing that because of the process, the
“Washington Post” giving me time to do these in-depth examinations or books.
KING: Last week, the “Post” ombudsman, Deborah Howell, said, “Last
week we found out that he (Woodward) kept the kind of information from
Downie, the editor, that is a deeply serious sin not to disclose to a
boss, that kind that can get a good reporter in the doghouse for a long
Why didn’t you tell him?
WOODWARD: Because I was focused on getting the book done. You
know, the significance of this is yet to be determined. And what’s the
good news in all of this is, when it all comes out — and hopefully it
will come out — people will see how casual and off-hand this was.
Remember the investigation and the allegations that people have
printed about this story is that there’s some vast conspiracy to slime
Joe Wilson and his wife, really attack him in an ugly way that is
outside of the boundaries of political hardball.
The evidence I had first-hand, a small piece of the puzzle I
acknowledge, is that that was not the case. So I’m trying to find out
and focus on immense questions about, are we going to go to war in
Iraq? How are we going to do it? What is the nature of Powell’s
position? What did Cheney do? What was the CIA’s role? How good was
the intelligence on all of this?
I think, at this point, I was learning things like, that the CIA
director, George Tenet, went in and told the president the intelligence
on WMD in Iraq was a slam dunk. That was new. That was the basis of
this incredibly critical decision the president and his war cabinet were
making on, do we invade Iraq?
KING: When and why did you finally decide to disclose it to your
WOODWARD: An excellent question. The week of the indictment, I was
working on something and learned another piece of this puzzle. And I
told Len Downie about it. And I told him about the source and what had
been disclosed to me.
And there was a sense before the indictment, “Well, this is kind of
interesting, but it’s not clear what it means.” Then, the day of the
indictment, I read the charges against Libby and looked at the press
conference by the special counsel. And he said: The first disclosure
of all of this was on June 23, 2003, by Scooter Libby, the vice
president’s chief of staff, to “New York Times” reporter Judy Miller.
I went, “Whoa,” because I knew I’d learned about this in mid-June, a
week, 10 days before. So then I say, “Something’s up.” There’s a piece
that the special counsel does not have in all of this.
I then went into incredibly aggressive reporting mode and called the
source the beginning of the next week and said, “Do you realize when we
talked about this and exactly what was said?” And the source in this
case, at this moment — a very interesting moment in all of this —
said, “I have to go to the prosecutor. I have to go to the prosecutor.
I have to tell the truth.”
And so I realized I was going to be dragged into this, that I was
the catalyst. And then I asked the source, “If you go to the
prosecutor, am I released to testify?” And the source told me, “Yes.”
So it is the reporting process that…
KING: Did you also ask that…
WOODWARD: … set all this in motion.
KING: I don’t want to interrupt, but did you ask the source then…
KING: … “In view of that, why can’t I announce your name to the
WOODWARD: I did later in the week. And the source said no.
KING: We’ll take a break from…
WOODWARD: And I would love to.
KING: OK. We’ll take a break. We’ll come right back with Bob
Woodward. As we go to break, here is the editor of the “Washington
Post,” Len Downie.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HOWARD KURTZ, HOST, “RELIABLE SOURCES”: Deborah Howell, the
“Post’s” ombudsman, writes this morning that the paper took a hit to its
credibility and that the Woodward episode put the “Post” in a terrible
light. Do you disagree with that?
LEN DOWNIE, EDITOR, “WASHINGTON POST”: Oh, I think that’s for other
people to judge and for time to tell. But, certainly, Bob made a
mistake and a mistake that he’s apologized for. And also, he made a
mistake going on television giving his opinions about the investigation
— whether or not he was holding this secret, he shouldn’t have been
expressing those opinions.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PATRICK FITZGERALD, SPECIAL PROSECUTOR: Valerie Wilson’s cover was
blown in July 2003. The first sign of that cover being blown was when
Mr. Novak published a column on July 14, 2003. But Mr. Novak was not
the first reporter to be told that Wilson’s wife, Valerie Wilson,
Ambassador Wilson’s wife, Valerie, worked at the CIA.
Several other reporters were told. And, in fact, Mr. Libby, who is
the first official known to have told a reporter, when he talked to
Judith Miller in June of 2003, about Valerie Wilson.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: And that, Bob, is when you jumped, right?
WOODWARD: Yes, exactly. And this is where reporting — just like
this prosecutor here — every bit of information I have, he’s trying to
find out what happened — a reporter, it’s not always a straight line
from A to B to C.
And I did jump. And I thought, “What is the significance of this?
What is my obligation to get information out to the public?” And that’s
why I went to my source.
And also, in that press conference, Patrick Fitzgerald said
something that really kind of struck me. He said the truth is the
engine of the judicial system. And when I testified to him under oath,
this came up. And I said, “I’d like to think that, in my business,
journalism, truth is also one of the engines.” At least it’s what we
And so there is this moment when I realized I have a piece of
something. I truly don’t know what it means. But then I go in a mode
where — actually some people said, you know, “Why did you do this? Why
not stay out of it? Why get involved?” And all of the juices — my
wife, Elsa, told me this, that she could almost hear it, the reporting
news juices running.
And so I started talking to people. And I talked to the source.
And that process now led us — you know, what, a couple of weeks later,
we know a lot more about this case. And that’s what we do in
journalism; we try to get more out. And this has happened in this case.
KING: Mr. Downie said you should not have given your opinion. Was
WOODWARD: Yes. I think I was a little hyper and a lot of pent-up
frustrations, bad night. And as you have pointed out a number of times,
I tend to be very neutral, overly neutral, and I think I should find
ways of expressing myself that don’t look like I’m making a judgment or
voicing an opinion, but offering analysis or, hopefully, some new facts.
KING: Do you have concerns about why this source doesn’t want he or
her to be known, for us to know him or her? Wouldn’t that concern you?
KING: … nothing to hide government?
WOODWARD: I would love it, but here is the issue. The public,
rightly and passionately, wants to know what’s going on in government
behind the scenes. What’s the real story? I spent my life trying to
what’s really hidden, what’s in the bottom of the barrel.
To get what’s in the bottom of the barrel, you have to establish
relationships of confidentiality with people at all levels of
government. You have to establish relationships of trust. And then
those people will provide you with information and evidence that you can
get to the better version, what Carl Bernstein and I used to call the
best attainable version of the truth.
KING: But when you’re in that position, it’s obvious you can also
KING: For example, “Bob, I’ll tell you this, and what you release
— don’t mention me — will be beneficial to me.” And you like it,
because I’m telling you something I didn’t tell him. So it’s quid pro quo.
WOODWARD: No, it’s not quid pro quo. That’s what’s nice about the
process and the method of going to everybody else involved. And in
these matters in the Bush administration, I’ve been able to do two
books. I’ve been able to interview President Bush for the last book,
“Plan of Attack,” for three and a half hours over two days. No
limitations on questions, no practical limitation on time. It was like
— people who’ve read the transcripts said it’s like a deposition: “Why
did you do this”; “Cheney said this”; “How about this intelligence?”
So all the stuff, all the material I gained from confidential
sources and documents and notes and so forth can be tested, in this case
by the president, who’s on the record. And if he wants to say, “Oh,
that’s not true” or offer his point of view, as he does, then that will
So everyone, in the end — you can’t do this for a daily newspaper
story — pretty much gets their point of view out.
KING: But don’t you have to, in that sense, sort of like him? He’s
giving you three hours. He’ll help you with the next book. Doesn’t
that give him an edge with you?
WOODWARD: He is giving his position. You know, it — an edge, in
what sense do you mean an edge?
KING: Well, he’s not going to come out looking terrible, because
you want him for your next book. And you’d like to have that in.
WOODWARD: But you know, I would never compromise. You know, if I
may, I brought some headlines in “The Washington Post.” These — do
these make any sense?
KING: Hold them up a little.
WOODWARD: Yes, OK.
KING: So we can read them.
WOODWARD: This is — yes, OK. This is November 2002 before — as
the Bush — word came out about the war in Afghanistan. “A Struggle for
the President’s Heart and Mind.” Struggle. It explains in great detail
how Powell had different positions, there was a mass tension and
difficulties in the war council.
Let’s see. This is the second part of that series. “Doubts and
Debates Before Victory over the Taliban.” Doubts and debate. Now,
anyone who knows anything about the Bush administration, they’d rather
keep doubts and debate off stage. I bring them on stage in this book.
I’ve — you know, I don’t want to go on, but “The New York Times,”
front page, when the book, “Plan of Attack,” came out last year, “Airing
of Powell’s Misgivings Tests Cabinet Ties” and the book jolted the White
House and aggravating long festering tensions in the Bush cabinet.
So I’m not comprising anything. And anyone who looks at the books
or the coverage will see that it has some pretty tough stuff in it. At
the same time, the president or others get to express their point of view.
KING: Let me get a break.
WOODWARD: But that’s journalism.
KING: We’ll come right back, with a man who some think, when they
see journalism in the dictionary, you get his picture. Bob Woodward,
don’t go away.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If, during the course of the public trial,
information comes out with regard to other people who have leaked, the
source of the leak, or other people who have exposed Ms. Plame’s
identity, would this then reverberate back to you, since you had been
studying this, if new information is forthcoming during the course of
FITZGERALD: If I could take it with — answer your question with a
bucket of cold water and say, “Let’s not read too much into it,” any new
information that would ever come to light while the investigation is
open, would be handled by our investigative team concerning these facts.
So if there’s anything that we haven’t learned yet that we learn
that should be addressed, we will address it, but I don’t want to create
any great expectations out there by giving sort of a general answer.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
WOODWARD: There’s a lot of innocent actions in all of this. But
what has happened, this prosecutor — I mean, I used to call Mike
Isikoff when he worked at the “Washington Post” the junkyard dog. Well,
this is a junkyard dog prosecutor. And he goes everywhere, and asks
every question, and turns over rocks, and rocks under rocks…
KING: And doesn’t leak.
WOODWARD: … and so forth.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: And, Bob, adding to that, on NPR this summer, you said, “I
think, when all the facts come out in this case, it’s going to be
laughable, because the consequences are not that great.”
Have you changed your mind?
WOODWARD: You know, it’s an ongoing story. But just let me take
what I said to you on the eve of these indictments of Scooter Libby. I
called him the junkyard prosecutor. I think that’s a term I shouldn’t
use, because it’s easily ripped out of context.
Mike Isikoff was there. Mike Isikoff I hired at the “Washington
Post” many years ago. I used to laugh and call him a junkyard dog
reporter, is a compliment, because he never gives up. And here, on the
eve of this indictment, I’m saying, “This prosecutor looks everywhere,
looks under every rock.”
Well, the irony is, the next day I learned that he was missing a
significant piece — or it might be a significant piece — and it
involved me. So I’m one of the rocks he never turned over, in an
And as people have rightly written, so, you know, what do we know
about this? It went on for two years.
KING: You still wouldn’t say you think the consequences are not great?
WOODWARD: It could be that the consequences are not great.
Certainly, the charge against Scooter Libby is about as serious as you
can get. But the issue, was there some sort of conspiracy, or organized
effort, or effort by one person to out, to disclose publicly that Joe
Wilson’s wife was an undercover operative, I haven’t yet seen evidence
Now, in this case we all get surprised.
KING: Doesn’t it appear…
KING: Doesn’t it appear a little that way, though, when your other
source won’t let it be public who he or she is? That sounds conspiratorial.
WOODWARD: It may be. But I pressed that source as much as you
can. And I’m not going to — if you remember back into Watergate and
Mark Felt, the number two in the FBI, who was the source, Deep Throat,
we kept that secret for 33 years because the source insisted upon it.
And what does that mean, just in the practical world, that I can go
around and get information from people, and they know they’re going to
be protected? I’m not going to go out and risk that and do something —
you know, I am protecting not a person but a relationship in the
information I get for my newspaper and books. And that’s the vital
Now, if we want to come up with a system that prevents people from
providing that information, you know, what are we going to do? I mean,
take the yard after junkyard. We’ll be junk, because our portrait of
government will be false.
KING: Didn’t you once call Fitzgerald, though, disgraceful?
WOODWARD: No. I said it is disgraceful that we have an
investigation where reporters are being subpoenaed…
WOODWARD: … and jailed. And, again, I should find words that
say, “I hate it. I don’t like it. I think it is not good public
policy. I think people really do need to know what’s going on in
And if this is going to become a habit, watch out.
KING: We’ll be right back with Bob Woodward on this edition of
LARRY KING LIVE.
Jerry Seinfeld will be with us tomorrow night. And Wednesday night,
Judge Stephen Breyer of the United States Supreme Court. We’ll be right
KING: We’re back with Bob Woodward of the “Washington Post” who’s
currently writing another book on this administration.
You got a working title yet, by the way?
WOODWARD: I do not. Have to see, you know, what’s the — a lot of
it’s about Iraq, obviously. But it’s not even a year into this second term.
KING: OK. Your source, did the source indicate whether Mrs. Plame
was an undercover agent or a desk analyst?
WOODWARD: Good question. And specifically said that — the source
did — that she was a WMD, weapons of mass destruction, analyst. Now,
I’ve been covering the CIA for over three decades, and analysts, except
— in fact, I don’t even know of a case. Maybe there are cases. But
they’re not undercover. They are people who take other information and
And so — and if you were there at this moment in mid-June when this
was said, there was no suggestion that it was sensitive, that it was secret.
KING: How did it even come up?
WOODWARD: Came up because I asked about Joe Wilson, because a few
days before, my colleague at the “Washington Post,” Walter Pincus, had a
front page, saying there was an unnamed envoy — there was no name given
— who had gone to Niger the year before to investigate for the CIA if
there was some Niger-Iraq uranium deal or yellow cake deal.
I learned that that ambassador’s name was Joe Wilson, which was, you
know, Wilson eventually surfaced…
KING: I see.
WOODWARD: … I guess a few weeks later. So I said to this source,
long substantive interview about the road to war. You know, at the end
of an interview like this, after you do an interview on television, you
might just shoot the breeze for a little while. And so, I asked about
Wilson, and he said this.
KING: I see.
WOODWARD: Most kind of off-hand.
KING: All right.
WOODWARD: One of those things. And so I — I didn’t think much of it.
KING: What did Libby say when you were with him? Was that a more
WOODWARD: No. Now this is what’s interesting. And I had two —
one phone conversation and one long interview with Libby during this
period. I had questioned lists that had hundreds of questions, one of
them Joe Wilson’s wife. I had no recollection that I asked about Joe
Wilson’s wife. I’m taking extensive notes. Libby said nothing about
Joe Wilson’s wife or about this in any way at that time.
So if he was involved in something like this, at least he decided —
when I say this, somehow outing her — he decided not to converse with
me about it. But because it’s on a question list, and this is why
Fitzgerald was turning over rock.
He said, “Well, is it possible you asked — in other words, that you
conveyed to Libby that you know Joe Wilson’s wife worked in the CIA?
Because it’s on a question list.”
And my sworn testimony is that it’s possible. I simply don’t recall
it, and he certainly said nothing. But after long interviews and you
have long lists of questions, you can’t really say, “Gee, did I ask that
or that.” At least, two years later, I can’t. Maybe the next day I
might have been able to.
KING: There’s been some criticism as to why you agreed to submit
written questions to Vice President Cheney, which is normally not your
WOODWARD: Yes, I don’t — somebody has questioned that. In my
book, “Plan of Attack,” I outline how I sent a 21-page memo to President
Bush with the chronology and some of the questions I wanted to ask, in
no sense limiting the questions. And I’ve done that with Cheney, and
I’ve done that with other people.
It is an aid and a way to say, “This is the period of time I want to
cover, some of the issues, some of the, quite frankly, things I’ve
learned that you might not be comfortable with or some of the secrets in
all of this,” and then let the person respond. But no one has ever
said, Okay, that’s not on the list, you can’t ask that question. So —
KING: Did you meet with Cheney?
WOODWARD: Not in this period.
KING: Did you meet with him for the other book, though? It wasn’t
just rigid questions, or was it?
WOODWARD: The people who are on record for the second book, for
“Plan of Attack,” are the president and Rumsfeld, the secretary of
Defense. All the other interviews are on background. So again, I’m not
going to go parading a list of people I talked to.
KING: We’ll be right back with more of Bob Woodward. Don’t go away.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TED WELLS, ATTORNEY FOR SCOOTER LIBBY: Mr. Libby is very grateful
to Bob Woodward for coming forth and telling the truth. We are also
very grateful for Mr. Woodward’s source, who permitted Mr. Woodward to
come forward. All we want in this case is for the truth to come out,
and we urge all reporters who have relevant information to do like Mr.
Woodward did today and come forward with the truth.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: That was Scooter Libby’s attorney, Ted Wells.
Two questions: what do you feel like, being involved in a story,
rather than covering it, because that’s what this is? And number two,
does Libby know who your source is?
WOODWARD: I don’t know the answer to the second question, what
Libby knows about this. You know, you get gratitude from people and
from strange places. And then there is the saying, “Beware of what you
wish for.” And sometimes I’m not — that’s a lawyer defending Libby,
and that’s our system, and don’t be surprised if I get denounced by them
at some point in this. That happens in journalism. But I am strictly
in the middle; I don’t wear a uniform. I’m not a Red State or Blue
State in this.
I did provide information in this case about Libby.
KING: What was that like, by the way?
KING: What is it like to be deposed?
WOODWARD: That’s a good question. I guess it was just a week ago.
It was in the offices of Wilmer Cutler, a law firm here in Washington.
And my lawyer, Howard Shapiro, a former FBI general counsel, somebody I
would turn to again — a superb lawyer. And it was in a conference
room, court reporter, I’m sworn. This is like a grand jury. Patrick
Fitzgerald is there, the head FBI agent and one of Fitzgerald’s
deputies, Howard Shapiro on my right, Eric Liebermann (ph), one of the
“Post’s” attorneys, Bill Murphy, my assistant, who happens to be a
lawyer, is an old Army JAG lawyer, and a woman named Jacquelyn Moyer
(ph) from Wilmer Cutler, and so were there.
WOODWARD: Patrick Fitzgerald is a very direct questioner. He had
lots of questions. He would check it off. Very…
KING: Any you refused to answer?
WOODWARD: No. Nothing. I was able to answer every question. And
I’m grateful that Howard Shapiro and he — you know, this is a classic
awful conflict situation that has sent one reporter to jail and lots of
hand-wringing and doubts within news organizations, the “New York Times”
and “Time” magazine.
In a way, I think, because they went first, we were able to learn
some lessons here, namely get releases from everyone. I got specific
releases directed to me waiving all confidentiality and not just saying,
“You can testify,” saying, “We request you testify.”
This is from the unnamed source. This is from White House Chief of
Staff Andrew Card and from Scooter Libby.
KING: What would you have done…
WOODWARD: Every question — pardon?
KING: I’m sorry. What would you have done if the source had said,
“Don’t tell him,” and you were subpoenaed to deposition? Would you refuse?
WOODWARD: That is a situation I have not had to deal with in this
case. But of course, when I went into my aggressive reporting mode, I
didn’t know exactly what was going to happen.
Now, if I hadn’t done that, and the source had said, “Keep quiet;
it’s confidential,” then the special counsel in this case, Fitzgerald,
wouldn’t have known, I guess, and I would have stayed out of it.
You know, I don’t like this. This is a mighty uncomfortable
situation. But think how much more we now know about this story just in
the last week. And, yes, some people are unhappy and angry about my
role, but, you know, you keep running into situations, as a reporter.
Where are you going to go? And it may be a little rough for a while,
but you’re still doing your job.
KING: Back with more of Bob Woodward of the “Washington Post.”
Don’t go away.
KING: We’re back with Bob Woodward.
With all those people at the deposition, do you feel that one of
them might leak? Hey, it’s Washington.
WOODWARD: Yes. That’s quite possible. And that’s something you
have to deal with. My lawyers aren’t going to, and I’m not going to do it.
You know, we’ve — the publisher of the “Post,” Bo Jones, I talked
to recently. And as we were going through this, he’s the one who, as
publisher in representing the business side, and the news side reports
to him, he raised the flag highest in our internal discussions about
protecting confidential sources.
WOODWARD: He used to be the “Post’s” general counsel. He’s a
lawyer. And he knows that you have to protect those sources at all
KING: Does Mr. Downie know your new source, the source not yet named?
WOODWARD: Does he know who it is?
WOODWARD: Yes, he does.
KING: As Ben Bradlee knew in the Watergate?
WOODWARD: That’s exactly right. Hopefully, this isn’t going to…
KING: I’m sorry. Go ahead.
WOODWARD: Hopefully, this isn’t going to be 33 years until we find
out exactly what happened.
KING: What if someone else finds it out?
WOODWARD: Then, you know, that’s…
KING: Fair game?
WOODWARD: … that’s fair game.
KING: If you had to do it all over, what would you change?
Obviously, you would tell Downie.
WOODWARD: Yes. And…
KING: What else?
WOODWARD: … Ben, as he has said, as Len has said, we would have
worked. And, you know, it’s a matter of record, it’s a matter of my
sworn testimony. I made efforts to get the source this year earlier and
last year to give me some information about this so I could put
something in the newspaper or a book, so I could get information out,
and totally failed.
So Len has acknowledged, if he knew, there would have been nothing
different in all of this. But, look, Len is not — Ben Bradlee, his
predecessor, is a very colorful figure, well-known.
WOODWARD: Len is less so, but is — and I’m not trying — you know,
it’s not in my nature, but I’ll say this. He’s the best newspaper
person in the country. And he was one of our editors on Watergate 30
And so I’ve known him through, you know, presidencies, Iran-Contra,
all the Clinton scandals, you name it. And somebody I totally trust.
He’s a busy man. And I should have made the contact and told him about
KING: Would he…
WOODWARD: But I’m not sure anything would be different.
KING: What happens if another “Post” reporter finds out who it is?
Would Downie prevent him from printing it?
WOODWARD: You know, he — I think Len has said he would not, if it
was independently established. People spent — I hate to keep going
back to this — 33 years trying to figure out who Deep Throat was. They
wrote articles, books, TV specials about it, and so forth.
And I was never delighted that people were trying to chase down that
source; I’m not delighted in this case. But it’s part of the process.
KING: Doesn’t it, just emotionally — I’ve known you a long time —
give you any inertia? Don’t you want to say it? I mean, isn’t there…
No, no, I’m not kidding.
WOODWARD: Good try. Good try.
KING: No, no, everybody wants to say over the back fence, “Did you
hear?” Who doesn’t want to do that?
WOODWARD: Yes. But this isn’t a back fence issue. This is about
— you know, if I treated it that way, no one would trust me. And I’m
not treating it that way. I’m treating it with the utmost seriousness.
And what I was going to say about the special counsel, Fitzgerald,
is that he and Howard Shapiro found a path through all of this where I
could answer all the questions, provide what information and evidence I
had to the special counsel, and he never asked about something that had
to do with confidential conversations on other issues, on matters
unrelated to this investigation. So, quite frankly, I was astounded
that we were able to do this, because other people got in this
confrontation with him. He was quite respectful of the First
Amendment. And he has said publicly he’s not looking for a First
Amendment showdown. Well, he demonstrated that.
So his — there was a balancing that went on here, quite frankly.
And this is — this is part of the learning for me, that I did not think
was possible. But in this case, it worked.
KING: We’ll be back with our remaining moments with Bob Woodward
right after this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Bob has become very famous, and it’s difficult
to cope with that kind of fame, I think, for anybody. But also just an
extraordinary author (ph). I think if you just look at his books and
look at his work product in the newspaper, you’ll see that he plays it
straight. He reveals things about inner workings of the administration
that people need to know that no other reporter reveals, and he does it
in a straight and accurate and fair way.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: In our remaining moments, do you think your reputation’s been
WOODWARD: I mean, that’s for other people to judge.
KING: Do you think so?
WOODWARD: You know, I — I think the biggest mistake you can make
in this sort of situation as a reporter is to worry about yourself. And
the issue here is what happened, what can I aggressively push to get in
the newspaper or a book, and then in the end, you can deal with this.
Thirty-three years ago during Nixon and Watergate, I was 29 years
old. And there was a daily drumbeat denouncing Carl Bernstein and
myself and saying the stories are lies, they’re fabrications, they’re
untrue. That we’re using anonymous sources and that there’s some
political motive and so forth. And that was — that’s how I got into
this business, and — and Ben Bradlee, the editor just, you know, “Be
cool. Stick to…”
KING: And by the way, did he support you (ph)?
WOODWARD: Pardon? Yes.
KING: Was he supportive?
WOODWARD: He takes — I mean, I’m going to quote him. This is the
way Ben talks. He said, “Woodward doesn’t have to tell anyone every
goddamn thing he knows.” And the — you know, I — I disagree with
that. If Ben, I would have told him, and I should have told Glenn (ph)
in this case.
But the — you know, the issue of what’s this about looms really
large. And I remember, because it’s speared (ph) in my head, going back
to Watergate. Katharine Graham once asked about when are we going to
find out the truth? When is everything going to come out?
And I said, “Never.”
And she looked at me with this glare and this sense of pain. And
she said, “Never? Don’t tell me never.”
And that was not a threat. That was a statement of purpose.
KING: And I’ll ask it. When is this whole thing going to end?
WOODWARD: I don’t know. We’ll keep chipping at it and running at
it. And people will write things, and there will be controversy. And
welcome to American journalism.
KING: Do you still feel sorry about Judy Miller?
WOODWARD: Sure. I mean, she — I don’t know all the facts in that
case. And so I’m — you know, and there’s more that have come out, and
so forth. And I’m — you know, the reporters — and when I say, “Don’t
think about yourself,” I mean the other reporters, also. What’s the
story? What can we tell people about this?
And then I go back to Bradlee again. He says, “The truth emerges.”
KING: Thanks very much, Bob, as always. Always good having you
KING: And we appreciate your coming here tonight.
Bob Woodward of the “Washington Post.” Still lots more to learn.
And we’re going to do our best to try to find out all we can. And we’ll
be on the scene, as well. Bob Woodward.
Tomorrow night, Jerry Seinfeld is our special guest. And on
Wednesday night, Judge Stephen Breyer, justice, United States Supreme Court.
Right now, our supreme pleasure is to turn the podium over to
Anderson Cooper and “ANDERSON COOPER 360.” See you tomorrow.