Donald Rumsfeld’s chief of staff says Bob Woodward is promoting “a one-sided narrative of events” about the Iraq War and accuses him of putting “his storyline ahead of the facts.”
It’s the latest volley in the back-and-forth between the former secretary of defense and one of Washington’s most well-known journalists.
On Monday, Woodward called Rumsfeld’s recently released memoir “one big clean-up job, a brazen effort to shift blame to others -- including President Bush -- distort history, ignore the record or simply avoid discussing matters that cannot be airbrushed away.” He went on to highlight contradictions in Rumsfeld’s account of the Iraq War and charged him with “ducking and weaving and dodging responsibility.”
Keith Urbahn, Rumsfeld’s chief of staff, doesn’t address any of Woodward’s arguments about the Iraq War or Rumsfeld’s leadership in executing it.
He accuses Woodward of favoring “those who provide him with information and gossip and leak against their colleagues. Those who refuse to play along, such as Donald Rumsfeld, then pay the price.”
Woodward’s reporting “is little more than self-serving accounts relying on anonymous or biased sources who often had little role in decision-making,” he adds.
That statement echoes what Rumsfeld himself said last week.
“They were all on the outside listening to people two or three levels down,” Rumsfeld said about Woodward and Tom Ricks, another journalist who has written on the Iraq War. “No, I’ve not read their books.”