Alex Constantine - November 21, 2013
Essential Background: Bob Woodward’s Intelligence Credentials & Assassination Politics of the Nixon Era
November 21, 2013
Bob Woodward took a not-so-veiled shot at Glenn Greenwald and Barton Gellman in an interview this week, suggesting that the journalists had failed to coherently report on the NSA leaks and bungled their handling of their source, Edward Snowden.
“I wish [Snowden] had come to me instead of others, particularly The Guardian, and 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," Woodward told Larry King.
Both Greenwald (then with 'The Guardian') and Gellman (Woodward's own Post colleague) worked directly with Snowden and published the first and most groundbreaking coverage of the NSA's surveillance practices. Taken together, the revelation about U.S. spying practices has been described as the scoop of the decade, and among the most significant since Woodward's own reporting on Watergate.
On Twitter, Greenwald struck back at the veteran journalist: "Dear Bob Woodward: Maybe it's worth spending a few minutes thinking about why he didn't [come to you]," he wrote. And: "Gee, with source-bashing views & behavior like this, it's a huge mystery why Snowden didn't go to Bob Woodward." (Reached via email, Greenwald referred POLITICO to his tweets.)
In an email exchange with The Huffington Post on Thursday, Gellman called Woodward's remark an "insult" to both the source and the reporters responsible for bringing the story to light.
"I can't explain why Bob would insult the source who brought us this extraordinary story or the exemplary work of his colleagues in pursuing it," Gellman wrote. "The 'others' he dismissed include Greg Miller, Julie Tate, Carol Leonnig, Ellen Nakashima, Craig Whitlock, Craig Timberg, Steven Rich and Ashkan Soltani — all of whom are building on the Snowden archive with me to land scoop after scoop."
"I won't get into why Snowden came to me or didn't come to Bob. But the idea of keeping Snowden anonymous, or of waiting for one 'coherent' story, suggests that Bob does not understand my source or the world he lived in," Gellman wrote.
Marty Baron, the Post's executive editor, told HuffPo that Woodward was not speaking on behalf of the newspaper.
"We are immensely proud of the defining work by Bart and other outstanding Post journalists," Baron said. "They were the right people for this story, they have done right by it, and they continue to work energetically to publish information that warrants public disclosure and debate."