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Reply #32: Bob Woodward is a curious character at best. [View All]

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hang a left Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Apr-16-04 10:38 AM
Response to Reply #21
32. Bob Woodward is a curious character at best.
Edited on Fri Apr-16-04 10:41 AM by liberalnproud
A Yalie and a Secret Society Member
The staunchly conservative Bob Woodward grew up in Wheaton, Illinois. A good student at Yale, he was ultimately one of fifteen seniors "tapped" for one of that university's secret societies, Book and Snake, a cut below the more infamous Skull and Bones, but the top of the second-tier fraternities. Woodward had his first journalistic experience working for the Banner, a Yale publication. In his 1965 yearbook he was referred to as a "Banner mogul." Havill writes,

Certainly, with the CIA encouraged to recruit on the Yale campus, particularly among history majors and secret societies, it is more than reasonable to assume Bob may have been one of those approached by the agency, or by a military intelligence unit, especially after four years of naval ROTC training. Although it would answer a lot of questions that have been raised about Bob Woodward, at this point one can only speculate as to whether he was offered the chance to become a "double-wallet guy," as CIA agents who have two identities are dubbed. It would certainly be understandable if he decided not to adhere to the straight and accepted the submerged patriotic glamour and extra funds that such a relationship would provide. It would also explain the comments of Pulitzer Prize-winning author J. Anthony Lukas, when he wrote in 1989 that Bob Woodward was "temperamentally secretive, loathe to volunteer information about himself," or the Washingtonian's remarks in 1987: "He is secretive about everything." As Esquire magazine put it, summing up in its 1992 article on Bob, "What is he hiding?"

The "Floating Pentagon" Assignment
Three days after graduating from Yale, Woodward was sent by the U.S. Navy to Norfolk, Virginia, where he was commissioned as an ensign by none other than U.S. Senator George Smathers from Florida. Bob's assignment was to a very special ship, called a "floating Pentagon," the U.S.S. Wright. The ship was a National Emergency Command Ship-a place where a President and cabinet could preside from in the event of a nuclear war. It had elaborate and sophisticated communications and data processing capabilities. It had a smaller replica of the war room at the Pentagon. It ran under what was called SIOP-Single Integrated Operation Plan. For example, in the event of nuclear war, the Wright was third in line to take full command if the two ahead of it, the Strategic Air Command in Omaha (SAC) and NORAD, were rendered incommunicado. Woodward-straightfacedly-told authors Colodny and Gettlin (Silent Coup) that he guessed he was picked for the ship because he had been a radio ham as a kid.

Aboard the Wright, Woodward had top secret "crypto" clearance-the same clearance researcher Harold Weisberg found had been assigned to Lee Harvey Oswald when he was himself in the Marines. Such clearance in Woodward's case gave him full access to nearly all classified materials and codes on the ship. Woodward also ran the ship's newspaper. Woodward has insisted that possessing a high security clearance is not necessarily indicative of intelligence work.

The Wright carried men from each of the military services, as well as CIA personnel. One of Havill's government sources reported that the CIA would likely have had additional informants on a ship of such sensitivity, adding that "the rivalry between the services was intense."

After a two and a half year stint on the Wright, Woodward was assigned to go to Vietnam. Woodward wrote the Pentagon asking to serve on a destroyer. The wish was granted. One naval captain told Havill that it seemed reasonable Woodward would have a little pull from his previous duty to avoid getting assigned to Vietnam. Another former naval officer disputed that, saying "Nobody got out of going to Vietnam in 1968."

But Woodward did. He was stationed aboard the U.S.S. Fox, based in Southern California. The personnel on board the Fox included an intelligence team, many of whom had studied Russian and Asian languages at the famous armed services language school in Monterey, California.

By 1968, Woodward ran the ship's radio team. In 1969, Woodward was awarded the Navy Commendation Medal for his communications work. From there, Woodward moved on to a Pentagon assignment, a job that included briefing top officers in the government. Admiral Thomas Moorer and former secretary of defense Melvin Laird are both on record noting that Woodward briefed Al Haig at the White House during this period. What is suspicious is Woodward's semi-admittance to Hougan that he had done some briefing, and his complete denial to Colodny and Gettlin that he had ever briefed anyone at the White House. Havill notes:

Considering the evidence, Bob Woodward's denial more strongly suggests intelligence than it does his uninvolvement in White House briefings.
Woodward's secrecy about his past, his choice of associates, and what is known of his activities caused Havill to write:

The question, then, begs itself once more. Was Bob Woodward ever a free-lance or retained Central Intelligence Agency liaison officer, informant or operative . . . ? This author got various forms of affirmative opinions from intelligence experts. It would explain his assignment to the Wright and his misleading statements to interviewers. It would make understandable his being able to get out of going to Vietnam in 1968, his extension for an additional year at the Pentagon, his being chosen to brief at the White House and his denials as well. It would also help explain his subsequent high-level friendships with leaders of the U.S. military and the CIA.
It would also explain the role Woodward and Bernstein wittingly or unwittingly played in keeping the CIA's nose clean while making sure the world saw the President's nose was dirty.

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