Reid: Gates is attacking people to make money

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) is accusing former defense secretary Robert Gates of criticizing White House and Democratic leaders in his new book for financial gain.

"He denigrates everybody, everyone -- (former) secretary (of state Hillary) Clinton, the president, Joe Biden, me," Reid said in an interview with AP's David Espo.

He added that he has spoken to Vice President Biden about the book, a memoir titled "Duty."

"We just lamented how disappointed we were," Reid said. "It's obvious it's to sell a book."

In his book, Gates criticizes Reid for saying the troop surge in Iraq wasn't working and that the war was lost, calling it "disgraceful." He also reportedly accuses Reid of asking the military to investigate irritable bowel syndrome.

"With two ongoing wars and all our budget and other issues, I didn't know whether to laugh or cry," Gates says in the book, according to reports.

Observations in the book about other officials have also caused some controversy, particularly Gates's harsh remarks about Biden and his allegation that Clinton admitted her opposition to the troop surge in Iraq was due to her presidential candidacy in 2008. Gates also criticizes top officials for their posture toward working with military leaders.

And on his book tour, Gates has criticized the White House for its "red line" strategy on Syria.

At the same time, the book isn't exactly a take-no-prisoners account of the current White House, and Gates has plenty of praise for both Clinton and President Obama. After some (including this blog) read his account as saying that Obama had also admitted to opposing the Iraq surge for political reasons, Gates clarified that he was not alleging that.

Obama himself has praised Gates since the contents of his book were first reported, calling him a "good friend."

Some lawmakers have criticized Gates for releasing the book while many of the top officials he mentioned are still in office, but no big-name lawmakers have gone as far as Reid in attacking Gates's motivations.

Aaron Blake covers national politics and writes regularly for The Fix, the Post’s top political blog.
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Aaron Blake | January 16