Bob Woodward compares Benghazi with Watergate. Is he right? (+video)
The similarities: line-by-line edits of what to tell the public, says Bob Woodward, the media's authority on all things Watergate. Regarding the White House Benghazi edits, they show pressure 'in the system not to tell the truth' about what happened, he said Friday.
Peter Grier is The Christian Science Monitor's Washington editor. In this capacity, he helps direct coverage for the paper on most news events in the nation's capital.
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The famous Washington Post reporter and former antagonist of President Richard Nixon said the US government’s editing of talking points used by public officials in the aftermath of the Sept. 11, 2012, attacks in Benghazi, Libya, is “a very serious issue.”
“I would not dismiss Benghazi,” Mr. Woodward said.
Woodward’s own main talking point was that he believed there are similarities between the process used to produce the Benghazi talking points and Nixon’s release of edited transcripts of the White House tapes.
Citing the lengthy e-mail chain detailing the production of the talking points, released by the Obama administration earlier this week, the Watergate press hero said that in the wake of the Libyan tragedy “everyone in the government is saying, ‘Oh, let’s not tell the public that terrorists were involved, people connected to Al Qaeda. Let’s not tell the public that there were warnings.’ ”
Forty years ago, Nixon went line by line through his tape transcripts and made his own edits.
“He personally went through them and said, ‘Let’s not tell this, let’s not show this,’ ” said Woodward on “Morning Joe."
Nixon, of course, was trying to deflate the increasing public and congressional pressure for him to release the tapes themselves. He wasn’t successful. The tapes revealed the extent of his involvement with the Watergate break-in and subsequent cover up.
As to Benghazi, Woodward concluded that the edits “show the hydraulic pressure that was in the system not to tell the truth.”