Longtime Washington Post reporter Bob Woodward said Friday he does not think the Internal Revenue Service scandal rises to the height of the Watergate scandal that he helped uncover 40 years ago.
Instead, Woodward argued the more important issue for the public to watch was the circumstances surrounding the September 2012 terrorist attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi and the federal government’s response.
“You’re talking about government not working, but who’s in charge of the executive branch. You go to the Constitution, and the president has sole responsibility for the executive branch,” he said in an appearance on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.” “This rests on him. You were talking earlier about kind of dismissing the Benghazi issue as one that’s just political and the president recently said it’s a sideshow, but if you read through all these emails, you see that everyone in the government is saying, ‘Oh, let’s not tell the public that terrorists were involved, people connected to al-Qaida. Let’s not tell the public that there were warnings.’”
Woodward said that the editing of the Benghazi talking points was similar to what President Richard Nixon did during the Watergate scandal in choosing what information to release to the public.
“I hate to show, this is one of the documents with the editing that one of the people in the State Department said, ‘Oh, let’s not let these things out,’” he continued. “And I have to go back 40 years to Watergate when Nixon put out his edited transcripts of the conversations, and he personally went through them and said ‘let’s not tell this,’ ‘let’s not show this.’ I would not dismiss Benghazi. It’s a very serious issue. As people keep saying, four people were killed. You look at the hydraulic pressure that was in the system to not tell the truth, and, you know, we use this term and the government uses this term ‘talking points.’ Talking points, as we know, are like legal briefs. They’re an argument on one side. What we need to do is get rid of talking point, and they need to put out statements or papers that are truth documents. ‘OK, this is all we know.’”