Click amount to donate direct to CounterPunch
  • $25
  • $50
  • $100
  • $500
  • $other
  • use PayPal
Support Our Annual Fund Drive! CounterPunch is entirely supported by our readers. Your donations pay for our small staff, tiny office, writers, designers, techies, bandwidth and servers. We don’t owe anything to advertisers, foundations, one-percenters or political parties. You are our only safety net. Please make a tax-deductible donation today.
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Woodwardgate: Still Protecting the Right Wing

by LEN COLODNY

Recent headlines charge that Bob Woodward has withheld information on a major national story. Nothing new there. Thirty-three years ago, Woodward was in the same business.

That story was a tale of espionage and treason carried out at the highest level of the United States Military, against President Nixon and his National Security Advisor, Henry Kissinger. When the story finally did break in newspapers other than the Washington Post, it forced the Senate Armed Services Committee to hold hearings to determine exactly what had taken place.

In January 1974 reporters James Squires and Dan Thomasson published, in their respective Chicago newspapers the Tribune and the Sun, the story of what would become well known as the “Moorer/Radford affair.”

Woodward knew this story well, for it involved several individuals he had worked for and with during his five year tour of duty in the US Navy.

In 1970, Admiral Thomas Moorer, newly-appointed Chairman of the Chiefs of Staff, was frustrated by the JCS being cut out of the loop on important international negotiations by Nixon and Kissinger. To obtain information critical to the security of the country, Moorer decided to set up an espionage ring whose immediate target was the National Security Council–the vehicle being used by Nixon and Kissinger to circumvent the usual ways of communicating with foreign powers. Prior to this time, Woodward–then a lieutenant–was a briefer for Moorer–someone who monitored an important secret communication channel, briefed top brass, and was sent to the White House to repeat such briefings. During 1969-1970, Moorer sent Woodward to the White House to brief Colonel Alexander Haig, Kissinger’s assistant on the NSC. Moorer confirms Woodward’s role as a White House briefer!

Woodward had resigned from the Navy by the time Moorer had fully set up the espionage ring. But it involved another admiral for whom Woodward had previously worked, Admiral Robert O. Welander, the commander of Woodward’s second ship in the Navy, the USS Fox. Welander was the head of a small liaison office in the White House, and an ex officio member of the NSC. His yeoman, named Radford, stole thousands of documents–a “library” of them, Radford would later claim–and Welander passed these secret documents to Moorer for over a year until the spy ring was discovered and shut down. The triggering incident for its discovery was a leak to columnist Jack Anderson in December of 1971

Read the entire spy ring story at: http://www.watergate.com/stories/spyring.asp

In May of 1973, just as the Senate Watergate Committee hearings were getting under way, Woodward asked for and obtained a meeting with Welander at the Marriott Hotel–the same hotel in which Woodward has written where he met Mark Felt, whom Woodward has identified as Deep Throat. At this meeting with Welander, Woodward revealed to his former skipper that he knew a great deal about the still-secret spy ring story.
In an interview for Silent Coup excerpted below, Welander speaks to me concerning Woodward’s early knowledge of Moorer-Radford.

Interview with Admiral Robert O,. Welander [excerpt]
by LEN COLODNY–March 28, 1987

COLODNY: Bob also told me that you saw Woodward after he left the, the Navy for the first time, you saw him in, in May of ’73.

WELANDER: That was about it, right, yes.

COLODNY: Was that the meeting you had at that Marriott, and that’s where Woodward tells you he knows about Moorer-Radford?

WELANDER: Yes.

COLODNY: Did, he give you any hint as to where he got it from?

WELANDER: A that time, no.

COLODNY: Did he at any point tell you where he got it from?

WELANDER: Well, I told Bob, many years later and everything else, he referred to the fact that Ehrlichman, was the one who had, tried to make a major issue out of the whole thing.

Woodward clearly knew of this important story eight months before it broke in the news, but did not write anything about it. He did, however, hint at it in a story published in the Washington Post on October 10, 1973 on page A-27,which said: “A low level assistant to the NSC had his phone tapped in an investigation of news leaks in late 1971,” and went on to state that an unnamed source had said this was “in connection with a 1971 probe of the leak of secret documents to Jack Anderson about US Policy in the India-Pakistan War.”

Woodward did not write another word on the subject until the day after the Squires and Thomasson story broke. Then Woodward wrote a front page story, complete with a photo of Admiral Welander–a story that downplayed the espionage as no big deal. There is no mention in this story of the fact that Woodward had worked for Welander. Keeping such information from the public is a violation of the public’s right to know.

The story continued in the headlines, but not in pieces by Woodward; he yielded that beat on his paper to Michael Getler. The Chicago papers and Seymour Hersh of The New York Times continued to press the issue.
Woodward suggested to Welander that Ehrlichman had been his source. Ehrlichman told me he that he wasn’t the source. Moreover, only someone with inside knowledge of the affair could have detected a hint of it in Ehrlichman’s testimony to the Senate in mid-1973, when he invoked executive privilege in regards to a partially-blacked-out document that was presented to him for review. Ehrlichman would not publicly mention the issue again until he was preparing for his trial in 1974. This all took place after Woodward’s meeting with Welander.
It seems that Woodward was protecting his past, and I believe his future military associates by first withholding the news of Moorer-Radford, then down playing it when it did surface, and finally by distancing himself from further investigation of it–all of this while not disclosing to his readers his conflict of interest occasioned by a close relationship with Admirals Moorer and Welander.

Withhold the news, then downplay it when it appears elsewhere, and not disclose his inherent conflict of interest–even, supposedly, to his editors at the Washington Post. In the recent Valerie Plame identity leak story, the circumstances are somewhat different than they were with Moorer-Radford, but Woodward’s methods and those he is trying to protect by these methods, his right-wing and militaristic sources in the government, remain the same.

For more information see: http://www.watergate.com

 

More articles by:

2016 Fund Drive
Smart. Fierce. Uncompromised. Support CounterPunch Now!

  • cp-store
  • donate paypal

CounterPunch Magazine

minimag-edit

September 29, 2016
Robert Fisk
The Butcher of Qana: Shimon Peres Was No Peacemaker
James Rose
Politics in the Echo Chamber: How Trump Becomes President
Russell Mokhiber
The Corporate Vice Grip on the Presidential Debates
Daniel Kato
Rethinking the Race over Race: What Clinton Should do Now About ‘Super-Predators’
Peter Certo
Clinton’s Awkward Stumbles on Trade
Fran Shor
Demonizing the Green Party Vote
Rev. William Alberts
Trump’s Road Rage to the White House
Luke O'Brien
Because We Couldn’t Have Sanders, You’ll Get Trump
Michael J. Sainato
How the Payday Loan Industry is Obstructing Reform
Robert Fantina
You Can’t Have War Without Racism
Gregory Barrett
Bad Theater at the United Nations (Starring Kerry, Power, and Obama
James A Haught
The Long, Long Journey to Female Equality
Thomas Knapp
US Military Aid: Thai-ed to Torture
Jack Smith
Must They be Enemies? Russia, Putin and the US
Gilbert Mercier
Clinton vs Trump: Lesser of Two Evils or the Devil You Know
Tom H. Hastings
Manifesting the Worst Old Norms
George Ella Lyons
This Just in From Rancho Politico
September 28, 2016
Eric Draitser
Stop Trump! Stop Clinton!! Stop the Madness (and Let Me Get Off)!
Ted Rall
The Thrilla at Hofstra: How Trump Won the Debate
Robert Fisk
Cliché and Banality at the Debates: Trump and Clinton on the Middle East
Patrick Cockburn
Cracks in the Kingdom: Saudi Arabia Rocked by Financial Strains
Lowell Flanders
Donald Trump, Islamophobia and Immigrants
Shane Burley
Defining the Alt Right and the New American Fascism
Jan Oberg
Ukraine as the Border of NATO Expansion
Ramzy Baroud
Ban Ki-Moon’s Legacy in Palestine: Failure in Words and Deeds
Gareth Porter
How We Could End the Permanent War State
Sam Husseini
Debate Night’s Biggest Lie Was Told by Lester Holt
Laura Carlsen
Ayotzinapa’s Message to the World: Organize!
Binoy Kampmark
The Triumph of Momentum: Re-Electing Jeremy Corbyn
David Macaray
When the Saints Go Marching In
Seth Oelbaum
All Black Lives Will Never Matter for Clinton and Trump
Adam Parsons
Standing in Solidarity for a Humanity Without Borders
Cesar Chelala
The Trump Bubble
September 27, 2016
Louisa Willcox
The Tribal Fight for Nature: From the Grizzly to the Black Snake of the Dakota Pipeline
Paul Street
The Roots are in the System: Charlotte and Beyond
Jeffrey St. Clair
Idiot Winds at Hofstra: Notes on the Not-So-Great Debate
Mark Harris
Clinton, Trump, and the Death of Idealism
Mike Whitney
Putin Ups the Ante: Ceasefire Sabotage Triggers Major Offensive in Aleppo
Anthony DiMaggio
The Debates as Democratic Façade: Voter “Rationality” in American Elections
Binoy Kampmark
Punishing the Punished: the Torments of Chelsea Manning
Paul Buhle
Why “Snowden” is Important (or How Kafka Foresaw the Juggernaut State)
Jack Rasmus
Hillary’s Ghosts
Brian Cloughley
Billions Down the Afghan Drain
Lawrence Davidson
True Believers and the U.S. Election
Matt Peppe
Taking a Knee: Resisting Enforced Patriotism
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail
[i]
[i]
[i]
[i]