Washington Post reporter Bob Woodward explained Sunday why the White House’s policy in dealing with the media is not only problematic, but it could potentially harm America’s national security.
During the “Panel Plus” online-only segment of “Fox News Sunday,” host Chris Wallace asked Woodward for his thoughts on the controversies surrounding the White House and the press. Woodward explained that since the 1971 Pentagon Papers case with Daniel Ellsberg, there has been an agreement between the executive branch and the press on security-sensitive stories, which this White House has ignored in some instances.
“I think it’s a really bad policy and they are hurting themselves,” Woodward said. “I mean since the Pentagon Papers, there’s been the rule that if you have some sensitive national security story, you can go to the government because they can’t stop you from publishing. And listen, if you develop a new hostile relationship between press and the government, the government is not going to get a say on these things and reporters are gonna say, ‘OK, let’s just publish,’ and it will wind up harming the national security.”
“One of the things — and you tied this in with the Snowden case — there are thousand, if not tens of thousands of people in the intelligence community and the White House, in the Pentagon, who have truly sensitive information,” Woodward continued. “You’ve got to have some sort of policy that will try to control it in a rational way. And they are taking the road which will ensure more leaks.”
Woodward also took issue with the Department of Justice labeling Fox News reporter James Rosen a “co-conspirator” in a leak investigation.
“’Co-conspirator’ was the — I never heard them talk about reporters that way,” Woodward said. “They will say things you can’t repeat. But ‘co-conspirator’ is a legal term for ‘you may have committed a crime.’ It’s just an inconsistency. I don’t know whether he misspoke or what. But the problem with this and lots of issues that we are dealing with — the IRS, Benghazi, the reporters, Snowden and so forth — is it doesn’t seem like there is someone at the top who is attentive to the detail and the repercussions of all of these policies. And I don’t mean just the president. I mean cabinet officers, people in the White House — there’s this sense of ‘gee, we don’t know what’s going to spring up,’ or ‘what’s going to happen here.’ And they need to get control and state at least to themselves what their policies are because it’s not clear.”