The widow of former CIA director William J. Casey yesterday called untrue published statements by author Bob Woodward that Casey admitted on his sickbed that he knew about the diversion of profits from the Iran arms sales to aid U.S.-backed Nicaraguan contra rebels.

Sophia Casey said that when Woodward, The Washington Post's assistant managing editor for investigations, attempted to visit her hospitalized husband, security guards stopped him before he could enter Casey's room. She also said that Casey was unable to speak during his hospitalization because the right side of his neck and his tongue were partially paralyzed. "My husband could not converse," she said.

But in an interview with AP Radio, she said her husband was able to speak, although "he didn't speak well . . . . He'd just say what he had to do: 'yes,' 'no' and stuff like that," the Associated Press reported.

Woodward reports in his forthcoming book, "Veil: The Secret Wars of the CIA, 1981-1987," that during a visit to Casey's bedside, the former CIA director indicated he knew about the diversion of profits from arms sales to Iran.

"That is untrue, it's a lie," Sophia Casey said in a telephone interview. "He never got in to see my husband . . . . This whole thing is a fabrication."

Casey's wife said that either she or her daughter was at Casey's bedside "every day, every hour, every moment" he was in hospitals in Washington and on Long Island from December until his death May 6.

"I stand by everything in the book, including the visit I made to Casey's hospital room when I talked to him as described," Woodward said yesterday.

Woodward reports in the book that security guards barred him from seeing Casey during an attempted visit on Jan. 22. Woodward said yesterday he gained access to Casey's room during a subsequent visit. He said Casey spoke 19 words during the visit, which lasted only a few minutes.

Woodward said yesterday that Robert M. Gates, who was Casey's deputy, "has said many times to many people that he had conversations with Casey -- two of them during this period {while Casey was in the hospital}."

In an interview with CBS News' "60 Minutes" yesterday, Woodward said, "He was dying. It was not the Casey I knew physically. And so I got one question, and . . . that question was: 'You knew about the diversion, didn't you?' . . . . And he nodded . . . . And I said, 'Why?' And he said, 'I believed.' "

Asked what Casey "believed," Woodward said on the program that Casey believed "that we can change the world. That we can reshape it. That we can support the contras, and we can do what he used to call 'these things' -- covert action."

Sophia Casey also disputed assertions in the book that Casey found President Reagan "strange," "lazy" and "distracted," and that Reagan seemed to have few friends, preferring to spend many evenings in the White House residence eating dinner on television trays with his wife, Nancy.

"The things he said my husband said are ludicrous," Casey said yesterday. "My husband was a great patriot. He loved his country. He loved the president and he would never do him one bit of harm or say anything unkind," she said.

"Dinner upstairs with Nancy on trays -- that wouldn't concern Bill Casey one bit."

Woodward said on the television program: "It's more a critique of Reagan's laziness . . . . See, Casey worked all the time. And he had a president who didn't . . . . "

Sophia Casey alleged that Woodward misrepresented his relationship with Casey in the book.

"He said he saw us many, many times," she said. "He was an acquaintance we met at public parties. He {Woodward} was always very anxious to talk to my husband -- always looking for information. When my husband spoke to him, he was looking for information from him, too."

Woodward said yesterday that Casey's wife "welcomed me as a guest in her house and assisted me on a number of occasions in discussions we had about her husband."