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:

CounterPunch Magazine

minimag-edit

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550

zen economics

Weekend Edition
July 21, 2017
Friday - Sunday
Jeffrey St. Clair
Red State, Blue State; Green State, Deep State
Paul Street
“Inclusive Capitalism,” Nancy Pelosi, and the Dying Planet
Kevin Zeese
Green Party Growing Pains; Our Own Crisis of Democracy
Anthony DiMaggio
Higher Education Fallacies: What’s Behind Rising Conservative Distrust of Learning?
Andrew Levine
Why Republicans Won’t Dump Trump Anytime Soon
Michael Colby
Ben & Jerry’s Has No Clothes
Bruce Dixon
White Liberal Guilt, Black Opportunism and the Green Party
Edward Hunt
Killing Civilians in Iraq and Syria
Matthew Kovac
Is the Flint Water Crisis a Crime Against Humanity?
Mark Harris
The Revolutionary Imagination: Rosa for Our Times
David Rosen
America’s Five Sex Panics
Robert Fisk
Saudi Arabia: the Kingdom Whose Name We Dare Not Speak At All
Jack Heyman
Class War on the Waterfront: Longshore Workers Under Attack
Kim C. Domenico
Marginalize This:  Turning the Tables on Neoliberal Triumphalism
Brian Cloughley
Trying to Negotiate With the United States
John Laforge
Activists Challenge US Nukes in Germany; Occupy Bunker Deep Inside Nuclear Weapons Base
Jonathan Latham
The Biotech Industry is Taking Over the Regulation of GMOs From the Inside
Russell Mokhiber
DC Disciplinary Counsel Hamilton Fox Won’t Let Whistleblower Lawyer Lynne Bernabei Go
Ramzy Baroud
The Story Behind the Jerusalem Attack: How Trump and Netanyahu Pushed Palestinians to A Corner
Farzana Versey
The Murder of Muslims
Kathy Kelly
At Every Door
David W. Pear
Venezuela Under Siege by U.S. Empire
Maria Paez Victor
Venezuelan Opposition Now Opposes the People
Uri Avnery
Soros’ Sorrows
Joseph Natoli
The Mythos Meme of Choice
Clark T. Scott
High Confidence and Low Methods
Missy Comley Beattie
Glioblastoma As Metaphor
Ann Garrison
Organizing Pennsylvania’s 197: Cheri Honkala on Frontline Communities
Ted Rall
What Happened When I Represented Myself as My Own Lawyer
Colin Todhunter
Codex Alimentarius and Monsanto’s Toxic Relations
Graham Peebles
Europe’s Shameful Refugee Policy
Louis Proyect
Reversals of Imperial Fortune: From the Comanche to Vietnam
Stephen Cooper
Gov. Kasich: “Amazing Grace” Starts With You! 
Jeffrey Wilson
Demolish! The Story of One Detroit Resident’s Home
REZA FIYOUZAT
Billionaire In Panic Over Dems’ Self-Destruct
David Penner
The Barbarism of Privatized Health Care
Yves Engler
Canada in Zambia
Ludwig Watzal
What Israel is Really All About
Randy Shields
Matters of National Insecurity
Vacy Vlanza
The Ministry of Utmost Happiness: Through Eyes of an Activist for Palestine
Cesar Chelala
Dr. Schweitzer’s Lost Message
Masturah Alatas
Becoming Italian
Martin Billheimer
Lessons Paid in Full
Charles R. Larson
Review: James Q. Whitman’s “Hitler’s American Model”
David Yearsley
The Brilliance of Velasquez
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail