QOTD: Bob Woodward
To Larry King:
"I wish [Snowden] had come to me instead of others, particularly The Guardian,” Woodward told King in an interview that airs Thursday on Hulu. "I would have said to him ‘let’s not reveal who you are. Let’s make you a protected source and give me time with this data and let’s sort it out and present it in a coherent way.'"
I'm going to guess it had something to do with this, from Howard Kurtz' essay about the coverage of the lead up to the Iraq War at the Washington Post:
Bob Woodward told me that "we did our job, but we didn't do enough, and I blame myself mightily for not pushing harder." There was a "groupthink" among intelligence officials, he said, and "I think I was part of the groupthink."
He might have also been aware that while Woodward is perfectly willing to publish classified information, he limits it to a very special kind --- the kind the government wants you to see:
Did the Bush administration “authorize” the leak of classified information to Bob Woodward? And did those leaks damage national security?
He does have a reputation for protecting his sources --- but then his sources are all very high level government officials who are leaking to him to advance an agenda. It's unsurprising that someone in Snowden's position might not think Bob Woodward (or one of the dozens of other journalists who specialize in publishing "authorized leaks") would be the best person to approach.
The vice-chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va.) made exactly that charge tonight in a letter to John Negroponte, the Director of National Intelligence. What prompted Rockefeller to write Negroponte was a recent op-ed in the New York Times by CIA director Porter Goss complaining that leaks of classified information were the fault of “misguided whistleblowers.”
Rockefeller charged in his letter that the most “damaging revelations of intelligence sources and methods are generated primarily by Executive Branch officials pushing a particular policy, and not by the rank-and-file employees of intelligence agencies.”
Later in the same letter, Rockefeller said: “Given the Administration’s continuing abuse of intelligence information for political purposes, its criticism of leaks is extraordinarily hypocritical. Preventing damage to intelligence sources and methods from media leaks will not be possible until the highest level of the Administration cease to disclose classified information on a selective basis for political purposes.”
Exhibit A for Rockefeller: Woodward’s book “Bush at War".
Here is what Rockefeller had to say:
In his 2002 book Bush at War, Bob Woodward described almost unfettered access to classified material of the most sensitive nature. According to his account, he was provided information related to sources and methods, extremely sensitive covert actions, and foreign intelligence liaison relationships. If it no wonder, as Director Goss wrote, “because of the number of recent news reports discussing our relationships with other intelligence services, some of these partners have even informed the C.I.A. that they are reconsidering their participation of some of our most important antiterrorism ventures.”
I wrote both former Director of Central Intelligence (DCI) George Tenet and Acting DCI John McLaughlin seeking to determine what steps were being taken to address the appalling disclosures contained in Bush at War. The only response I received was to indicate that the leaks had been authorized by the Administration. The CIA has still not responded to a follow-up letter I sent a year and half ago on September 1, 2004, trying to pin down which officials were authorized to meet with Mr. Woodward and by whom, and what intelligence information was conveyed during these authorized exchanges.
Were leaks of classified information “authorized” to Woodward? Rockefeller's letter says exactly that. And among other things, it is well known and has been reported long ago that one of Woodward’s sources for both of his books about the Bush presidency was then-VicePresidential chief of staff, I. Lewis (Scooter) Libby, who is portrayed in quite a flattering manner in both.