If Julian Assange Should Be Tried For Espionage, What About Bob Woodward?

There's been a lot of talk about how WikiLeaks is terrible, how the information released is damaging to national interests and/or security, how Julian Assange should be treated as a terrorist/enemy combatant/spy (pick your hyperbole), US Ambassador to the UN Zalmay Khalilzad points out that far more damaging information was given by someone with a much higher clearance to Bob Woodward, and no one started screaming that Bob Woodward should be prosecuted--or worse, executed.

In his latest book, "Obama's Wars", Woodward quoted various high level administration sources:

Obama rejected the military's request for 40,000 troops as part of an mission with no foreseeable end. "I'm not doing 10 years," he is quoted as telling Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates and Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton at a meeting in October 2009. "I'm not doing long-term nation-building. I am not spending a trillion dollars."[..]

Woodward says Obama is constantly barraged with warnings about the possibility of terrorist attacks on US soil. [..]

General David Petraeus

Relations between Obama and Gen. Petraeus, then chief of the central command region that included Iraq and Afghanistan, deteriorated after the President rejected his repeated requests for more troops, Woodward claims.[..]

Woodward quotes Gen. Petraeus as saying: "You have to recognize also that I don't think you win this war. I think you keep fighting. It's a little bit like Iraq, actually. . . . Yes, there has been enormous progress in Iraq. But there are still horrific attacks in Iraq, and you have to stay vigilant. You have to stay after it. This is the kind of fight we're in for the rest of our lives and probably our kids' lives."

The General felt increasingly isolated by the administration and reportedly told his aids that the White House was f------ the wrong guy” after a glass of wine on a flight in May. He was effectively banned from appearing on the Sunday talk shows by the administration but made use of private channels to Congress and the news media, the book claims.

Richard Holbrooke

Woodward reports that Vice President Joe Biden called Richard Holbrooke, the special envoy to Afghanistan, "the most egotistical b------ I've ever met."[..]

James Jones

A variety of administration officials reportedly expressed scorn for Obama's national security adviser, James Jones, who allegedly became so distrustful of the President’s political aides that he began calling them the "Politburo" and the "Mafia”.[..]

Hamid Karzai

The Afghan president is a manic depressive, according to Woodward. "He's on his meds, he's off his meds," the veteran reporter quoted Karl Eikenberry, the US Ambassador to Afghanistan, as saying.

Admiral Mike Mullen

The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff was criticised by his deputy, James Cartwright, because he “wasn’t a war fighter,” according to Woodward. Mullen suspected that Cartwright was briefing against him behind his back, the book claims.

Robert Gates

The Defense Secretary was tempted to walk out of an Oval Office meeting after taking offence at comments made by deputy national security adviser Thomas E. Donilon about an unnamed general, the book claims.

Rahm Emmanuel

The White House chief of staff was reportedly firmly in support of CIA drone attacks on al-Qaeda militants in Pakistani territory and reportedly asked a security adviser, "who did we get today?"

David Axelrod

The senior White House strategist was regarded as "a complete spin doctor" by Gen David Petraeus, then chief of the central command region that included Iraq and Afghanistan, Woodward claims.

Axelrod had trouble trusting some of Obama’s senior appointments. When the newly-elected president floated the idea of making Hillary Clinton Secretary of State, Axelrod reportedly asked: "How could you trust Hillary?"

Not exactly espionage, but certainly as damaging, if not more, than the recent WikiLeaks cables dump. Eikenberry, in particular, was fairly vocal about his discontent and the issues he foresaw about our occupation of Afghanistan, and the NY Times remained unscathed from releasing his diplomatic cables.

Oops...maybe I shouldn't have written anything. I'm sure George Will calling for Bob Woodward and the Editors of the NY Times to be tried alongside Julian Assange.


We welcome relevant, respectful comments. Any comments that are sexist or in any other way deemed hateful by our staff will be deleted and constitute grounds for a ban from posting on the site. Please refer to our Terms of Service (revised 3/17/2016) for information on our posting policy.