The widow of CIA Director William J. Casey acknowledged Thursday night that he met a number of times with investigative reporter Bob Woodward but insisted that Casey would not have discussed U.S. secrets during those conversations.
Woodward, however, said Casey spoke with him repeatedly because Casey wanted to have his version of events appear in news accounts.
"He was playing defense and wanted to shape the story," Woodward said.
Woodward, an assistant managing editor at The Washington Post, and Casey's widow, Sophia Casey, appeared on the ABC News program "Nightline."
In his new book, "VEIL: The Secret Wars of the CIA, 1981-1987," Woodward describes a final, brief meeting with Casey in the CIA director's hospital room in late January. The Casey family has claimed that Casey was so incapacitated by brain surgery that he could not speak at the time.
Woodward, however, said Casey managed a few words, including an acknowledgment that he knew about the diversion of proceeds from the Reagan administration's Iran arms sales to aid the Nicaraguan contras.
Sophia Casey also maintained that her husband would never have discussed CIA matters with Woodward or anyone else outside the government at any time.
However, in response to a question, she did say that CIA logs show that Woodward met with Casey at least six times at CIA headquarters and that they saw each other during social events as well.
She first denied and then acknowledged that Woodward had met her husband at their home.
Casey died May 6 of pneumonia.