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Unfortunately I believe that we are limited in what we can focus on. I think that if we proceed with the partisan sideshow of prosecuting Bush admin. officials, healthcare will get lost in the brouhaha.
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New Woodward Book: 'The War Within'

POSTED: 10:03 AM ET, 09/ 5/2008 by The Editors

Bob Woodward's newest book examining the Bush White House will be excerpted in The Post in a four-part series beginning Sunday. Like his earlier books on the Bush Administration, the release of "The War Within: A Secret White House History, 2006-2008," has prompted news organizations to scramble for early copies to be the first to publish any revelations.

In his fourth book on Bush, Woodward reports that Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki and others in his government have been the subject of extensive U.S. spying operations, and that new techniques allowing the United States to find and kill insurgent leaders, not primarily the surge in troops, led to the drop in violence in Iraq.

The book is scheduled for release Monday; The Post reported on it today after Fox News obtained a copy and published a story on its website last night.

In his earlier books and reporting, Woodward has delved into the internal workings of the Bush White House, often portraying a deeply divided administration.

The most recent book is based on more than 150 interviews and two on-the-record meetings with Bush in May. Woodward does not disclose the details of the intelligence operations that allowed the targeting of insurgent leaders, reporting that administration officials asked him to withhold specifics because of national security concerns.

Woodward reports that the president was oddly detached from the review of war policy, turning over much of the process to his national security adviser, Stephen J. Hadley.

"Let's cut to the chase," Bush told Woodward. "Hadley drove a lot of this."

The early takes on Woodward's fourth installment on Bush suggest that it presents a mixed assessment of Bush's performance. Volumes one and two were considered to be positive, and volume three to be harshly critical.

By The Editors |  September 5, 2008; 10:03 AM ET Post Investigations
Previous: The Daily Read | Next: Palin Investigation To Be Released Next Month


Please email us to report offensive comments.

More Bush bashing = more money. That says it all about liberal media.

Posted by: Another Bush bashing from liberal media | September 5, 2008 12:15 PM

Because everything is that simple... give me a break, please actually use your head not knee jerk reactions. Stop watching TV and start reading usually helps.

Posted by: More Bush bashing = more money... PFFFF | September 5, 2008 12:20 PM

And we can't forget the fact they the u.s. is paying off insurgent groups not to attack the u.s. soldiers. So when the well drys up, the attack will start back up.
but as always nothing will happen.

just a waste of time.

Posted by: Jacques Traynham | September 5, 2008 12:21 PM

Bob Woodward made his career on no-holds-barred vicious, biased attacks on Republican administrations. He and his sidekick single handedly took every bit of civility out of the job of reporting. The talented wordsmith with facts is trumped by a fellow with a bad attitude and a desire to do maximum harm while reaping maximum benefit.

The same type of partnership that reporters had when they refused to photograph FDR from the waist down or spill the beans on JFK should be used in matters that will get us all killed. Forget common courtesy to an honored leader that we elect, if the bad guys find out about our plans or methods we will have more no-warning events like 9/11. Worse than the bad guys, our friends who can tell us if the nuke is set to go off in Manhattan won't because they know political and commercial expediency will win and they will get burned too.

The only thing that stops me from yelling is the fact that he is doing pretty much what the founders wanted -- They, smartly enough, didn't trust anyone in government and the higher the least trust. But Mr. Woodward's writing will still get me killed -- but probably will get his chosen party elected. Hey, fair trade off.

Posted by: Tom Mariner | September 5, 2008 1:28 PM

Bob Woodward made his career on no quarter asked or given exposes of crooked Presidents who screamed "I am not a crook" while crooking every crooked crook in their crooked bodies and their crooked vice president crooks as well. If they aren't telling us anything from the "top," it has nothing to do with the professional skills of Mr. Woodward and his brethren; it has everything to do with crooks hiding their crookedness until Mr. Woodward's crew turns on the lights and the crooks scurry like the exposed cockroaches they are. But if some can cast enough doubt on Mr. Woodward, the preferred method being guilt by association, then we'll end up disbelieving everything Mr. Woodward says and the crooks will regain the powerful advantages of darkness. Keep shining that light, Mr. Woodward. There are a lot of cockroaches still out there.

Posted by: Karma | September 5, 2008 1:58 PM

All I'm asking is for a trial bringing cheney bush rumsfeld and karl rove to justice for treason and the needless murder of thousands, US iraqi and afghani

Vets of GWOT against Bush

Posted by: g | September 5, 2008 4:09 PM

Bob Woodward Is the Best! Bob sets the standard for good reporting. I am always impressed with his ability in his books, articles and interviews, to report on what he actually finds, and not get caught up in opinion or personal political views. I still can't figure out who he would vote for, and that's the way a reporter should be. Bob, You Rock! I wish all reporters would follow your example.

Posted by: A Fan of Bob | September 5, 2008 5:58 PM

If anyone ever needed "bashing", it would have to be Mr. Bush. After all, look at the damage he has wrought on us all.

Posted by: j. ogburn | September 5, 2008 6:31 PM

I am very concerned about the state of the Union, and as a result of reading fairly extensively on the topic, have become very partisan. I do believe that the Bush Administration have looted the country's treasury and squandered international goodwill to the benefit of a very select few. Most Americans have been made unknowing victims of these policies. I am angry about it.

I am ovrewhelmed with respect when a reporter like Woodward can see these things and remain as objective as he does. I could never do it! So hats-off to you Bob Woodward for your higher commitment to your craft.

Posted by: Larry Smith | September 5, 2008 6:44 PM

Blind faith and a fear of facing the challenge of actually attempting to see that the world exists in multiple shades of gray are what drives the simpleminded with sweeping decrees that the media is 'liberal', out to get Bush, etc.

For god's sake, try thinking, researching, and coming up with an opinion based on fact, and not what Fox news, Hannity, and Rush Limburger tell you to use for 'talking points'.

Sensible people know that not everything Bush has done is bad; some good stuff here and there. But on the whole, this country is in tough shape because of his administration's policies -both home and abroad. When writers like Woodward smell a rat, they go after it -republican or democrat. Time to face reality, grow-up and think for yourself for a change.

Posted by: Open Your MInd | September 5, 2008 6:50 PM

Repubs is jist a bunch kansas city fajjits

Posted by: klem | September 5, 2008 7:06 PM

Terror, Terror, Gay Marriage, Terror, Country First, cut taxes. 8 more years, comin' right up.

Posted by: Saavdra | September 5, 2008 7:18 PM

Why attack the messenger? Why can't people just face the facts. The Bush administration is the worst in US history. Currently there are 2 million foreclosures, 41 thousand small businesses filed for bankruptcy, gas prices highest ever, Scoter off the hook for outing a Cia agent, Gonzales gate, Abramhoff, Delay and co., Cheny's no bid contracts for haliburton, secret enegry meetings...this list goes on. I used to vote Republican, really, no more.

Posted by: frank | September 5, 2008 7:28 PM

It is obvious that there is a portion of this country that is simply unwilling to see the truth.

"It was a new process for targeting insurgents and NOT the surge that led to the stability in Iraq"

Couldn't accept the truth if it reached out and grabbed them by the nose.

Posted by: Average joe | September 5, 2008 7:39 PM

The level of political discourse has truly reached a low point and the Republicans bear the primary responsibility. Hopefully, the Democrats will rise about all of this and prevail.

Posted by: filc | September 5, 2008 7:49 PM

How many people have to blow the whistle on this administration for 51% of the country to wake up? How bad do things have to get before politicians will truly put their country before their party? Attacking the messenger will not change the content of the message and it will not change the facts on the economy, the war, our energy policy, climate change, Americans w/o healthcare, national debt, trade debt, America's standing in the world, war on science, etc., etc., etc.

Maybe we need 4-8 more years of the same for things to get so bad that Americans will start voting w/ their head and not their emotions based on cultural war issues. There is plenty of blame to go around for our sorry state of affairs, but gay marriage, sex education, abortion and the War on Christmas are not to blame.

Posted by: Paul | September 5, 2008 7:53 PM

Did Woodward know Rice was being intensely suspicious of secretary of defense then? Whatever the motivation was, it might have altered to course of events if that conflict had been made public then. I see little value in releasing that information now...

Posted by: RegisUrgel | September 5, 2008 9:36 PM

More worthwhile than "who killed Chandra"

Posted by: GHDEL | September 5, 2008 9:53 PM

Do these radical right whack jobs have nothing better to do? You spent 2 years and 250 million dollars to run an entrapment scheme to get the president under oath and ask him about a little head in the oval office. All the while chiding him for trying to kill Bin Ladin. What do you think all that bombing was about? Now that's a perspective you really can't handle! Are you just so sore because it wasn't a paige, a hooker or another man? God knows that was the end of the civilized world and the United States. Oh wait that last part was the bushies and neo-cons wasn't it, don't want to hear about that do you.

By the way bush had plenty of notice that there was going to be an attack. He ignored it and told the intelligence community to leave Bin Ladin alone

Posted by: Average joe | September 5, 2008 10:46 PM

I used to kinda sorta like Woodward, and every once in a while he does some good reporting. But his 'hidden sources' and invented dialogue are too often conjecture rather than hard fact. I've followed his writing since the days of Watergate, so I know what I'm talking about. As history, without citing sources its worthless. As journalism...well I'll leave that to others, but this reliance on un-named sources has gone way to far it seems to me.

Posted by: ex wapo paperboy | September 6, 2008 2:23 AM

Because I once spent many years working as an employee of the National Archives (the executive branch agency which receives the permanently valuable records of the White House and federal agencies), and am trained in historical research methodologies, I approach books such as Bob Woodward’s with caution. The same concerns apply whether he writes about Republican or Democratic administrations.

INABILITY TO CHECK SOURCES: The problem with this type of book is that unlike with books written by professional historians, who footnote and reference their sources, there is no way to go back and check the information. The reader is left wondering, is most or all of this narrative factually correct or are there parts that get it wrong? Readers just cannot tell.

OVER RELIANCE ON WHAT INDIVIDUALS TOLD HIM ORALLY: Think about it. What if you were worthy of having a book written about you? Which would be more accurate: (1) someone writing a book about how you had handled your professional life by relying on oral accounts, that is, interviewing you and the people that know you? Or (2) someone relying on oral accounts AND supporting material in the form of contemporaenous documents? That is, by doing some interviews, including with you and your associates but also filing Freedom of Information Act or open records requests to study e-mail, internal memorandums, and other records written in real time, as events unfolded, that showed how you made on the job decisions, how you interacted with colleagues or subordinates, how you handled the technical and managerial aspects of your job?

Think about my hypothetical honestly and you’ll see the problem that books such as Bob Woodward’s present for those trained in history. Every time I read the Post highlighting one of Woodward’s book, I also think about why the newspaper has such poor insights into the National Archives, the federal records repository which, over time, takes charge of historical Presidential and federal records. And painstakingly works over the years to provide access to the disclosable portions of records -- not just to VIP researchers such as Woodward, but generally to the public at large.

ACCESS TO RECORDS: In the case of the Woodward book, the type of records which would prove support for a conclusory narrative for publication in a book largely *are not yet available to the public*. Under existing laws, they can be obtained by outsiders (into which category, whether he sees himself that way or not, Woodward falls) by filing Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests. For records generated within the White House and administered under the Presidential Records Act of 1978, researchers can request copies of hard copy or electronic documents *starting 5 years after an administration leaves office*. So Woodward does not yet have any legal means to obtain documents from George W. Bush’s administration that fall under the Presidential Records Act.

The records of federal departments and agencies fall under a different statute, the Federal Records Act. For these, researchers may file FOIA requests for records from federal agencies at any time, but certain exemptions apply (such as those covering deliberative, predecisional information). Once federal records are transferred into the National Archives under the normal process of records management and accessioning -- the agency hold-times prior to transfer vary, depending on the retention schedules -- some of the exemptions ease over time.

Honorable government employees typically don't leak or show nonpublic documents to anyone, even favored journalists or columnists. Why? Because rules say that they are not supposed to. Period. No exceptions.

If Woodward obtained or saw documents in any way other than through the filing of Freedom of Information Act requests, that suggests someone decided to deviate from the way the process is supposed to work for ordinary civil servants and researchers alike. Whatever the intent, slipping something over the transom to a favored reporter undermines and dilutes the legal structure through which the government administers its records. Needless to say, the Post is unlikely ever to address the methods used. Perhaps that explains also why the Post's approach to covering archival and historical research issues generally appears so weak, both in reporting and in stances taken on the editorial page.

The newspaper could spend its professional capital on educating the public on how the process of obtaining records through the legal processes plays out for those who create documents (yes, they are legitimate stakeholders, too) and for those who seek them, but seemingly chooses not to do so.

Posted by: How the books are written | September 6, 2008 9:03 AM

Cheney should already have been impeached, then Bush, in that order so that Dick would not have the opportunity to rise to the highest government position in the land. We must all be fools in that we can not nail these traitors (GW, Dick, Rove, et al) of the American people for high crimes! If Woodward's book moves us any closer to that end ... good for him.

Posted by: Sick & Tired | September 6, 2008 11:14 PM

It's pretty surprising that even when the country was run by Republicans for years that when the economy is a mess and the Iraq war is a mess (that should have ended with "Mission Accomplished") that Republicans still can't say, "Wow, Bush really screwed things up." and actually begin to take what the "liberal media" says at face value instead of treating it as more lies. Forget the fact that Reagan, who I voted for twice and served for a voted for Daddy Bush, would absolutely disagree with any of you who are defending Baby Bush's record.

If it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck, it's a duck, OK? Bush has deeply screwed the economy and blew an amazing chance to end dependence on foreign oil with 9/11 as proof and incentive.

Keep driving your Hummers and more money goes to trrrists. Oh, wait, they get their from somewhere else????

Why can't you people add 2 + 2 and get 4 like those of us who used to vote Republican?

It's time to get our business end out of the countries that sponsor terrorists and let them send suicide bombers to some other suckers who want their oil.

If America can't find a replacement for oil (try hydrogen or even natural gas for a change??), then we are just as dumb as we can be. It's a national crisis that we depend on Iran or Syria or anyone who would harm us or our allies and we are putting money in their pockets to harm us.

Congrats you Bushie Republicans! If you can't vote for getting off of oil, then you deserve the blame for high oil prices and whatever comes down the road that could be worse than that. Pat yourself on the back for every dollar of yours that they use to fund another terrorist, you deaf, dumb and blind Bushie voters! Bush and McCain together aren't half the man that Reagan was! Reagan would have said to our scientists, "Get us off of Middle East oil NOW! They don't deserve our business and it is militarily self-defeating to give them our money." on September 12, 2001.

Posted by: Tired of you Bushie whiners | September 6, 2008 11:30 PM

I read a comment posted by an ex-employee of the National Archives. This person feels we should be weary of an author who cannot provide "hard core" facts to corroborate claims they make. I just read Ron Suskind's The One Percent Doctrine and The Way Of The World. He also had sources who were named and some who were not. His unnamed sources, undoubtedly similiar to Bob Woodward's, would risk the security of their career provides them to be named. There is no honor in allowing Americans to be uninformed on domestic and/or international affairs. I live in Jacksonville, N.C. (Home to the largest amphibious base in the world- Camp Lejeune). I continue to see young Marines and Sailors with missing extremities and/or severe burns present in public. I understand the oath they take commands them to follow the orders of officers who in turn ultimately follow those of the Commander-In-Chief. If the Commander-In-Chief could have prevented placing our troops in harm's way, don't you think we should know? I guarantee some of you who think our President has performed well, since being in office, were in a foxhole in Iraq and Afghanistan would at least quietly question his judgement.

Posted by: Robert Hudson | September 8, 2008 2:08 AM

I don't believe in publicly "bashing" our President. I believe Americans should be informed in order for them (and myself included) to make informed choices at the polls. I applaud Americans like Bob Woodward who have the courage to report to the American people. He is an outlet to those in Washington (D.C.) and the Pentagon who want the American people to know why we are facing perilous times.

Posted by: Robert Hudson | September 8, 2008 2:16 AM

Never mind 'impeachment'. President Bush and his cohorts should be standing alongside the other war criminals at the International Criminal Tribunal in the Hague. The Iraq war was obviously illegal - Iraq had nothing to do with the 911 terrorists - and the Saudi's who financed the terrorists, were ignored and allowed to fly home from the US.

It's all about the Oil.

Posted by: Conservative with capital 'C' | September 8, 2008 9:54 PM

paying off insurgent groups are you mad Mr. traynham. The U.S is spending trillions of tax's paayer's money and you think its going to insurgents you my friend are an idiot

Posted by: sean wittle | September 9, 2008 4:29 PM

Tom Mariner
"Bob Woodward made his career on no-holds-barred vicious, biased attacks on Republican administrations.

"He and his sidekick single handedly took every bit of civility out of the job of reporting." YOU MEAN LIKE FINDING OUT WHAT WAS REALY HAPPENING AND TELLING THE TRUTH ABOUT IT. IF ANYTHING, HE'S WAY TO EASY ON THEM.

The talented wordsmith with facts is trumped by a fellow with a bad attitude and a desire to do maximum harm while reaping maximum benefit.


Posted by: George Kuhn | September 11, 2008 8:37 AM

I am amazed by the comments, in that no one discusses or seems to take seriously Woodwards revelation of secret technology used by America to turn tide in Iraq. Do we not believe America as thrown dollars at every conceivable scientific notion that would achieve their near term goals. Do we not give the highly vetted Woodward credit for what he is saying. Sure he is politicized, but he is the less politicized than generals and politicians sanitizing history for us.

What is this technology and what does it bode for humanity when the conflicts of today have passed? Those are the questions that matter, just as history has born out for past super weapons.

Posted by: Jim Sather | September 29, 2008 6:19 PM

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