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tv   [untitled]    July 3, 2012 8:00am-8:30am EDT

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>> plant, flower and all that? >> he said open the drapes. i said now wait a minute. i'm maybe going to let the sun in. so i said this flower pot, which was sitting out there, said i'll move it back. and again it's come out, fbi people have said they were working with him somehow, it's not clear to me, to see that this signal could be observed. i was living in an area where there are all kinds of foreign embassies and the fbi was very active. and having informants in the embassies and so forth. so, it worked. now, i was 29 and i thought this was the way you always met people. >> when he told me this is what was going on, i looked at him like he was out of his mind. what the hell? you know, every once in a while you go to a fire, put on a fireman's running coat but i never heard of this. >> neither did i.
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but, you know, you do these things -- doing a second book on obama now. and working on the white house and so forth. and out of the blue, one of the key people in the white house that i wanted to talk to e-mailed me and said let's meet. and i didn't come back and say why do you want to meet? i just said, fine. tell me when and where. let's do it. so you don't set those terms of engagement with the source. and this was a source early on who told us when gene -- bless him, the night police reporter who found the entries in the notebook, h hunt w house. when carl heard that w house he said it could only be one of tw things. >> true story. >> yeah, true story. so it calls it the whore house and i call it the white house.
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>> that's right. >> it was -- you know, mark felt -- i have your name in my address book and go commit a crime, that doesn't mean -- >> that i knew anything about it. >> exactly, in the least. so you have what's called a link that may mean something, may not. i call up mark felt. he said don't worry. howard hunt is up to his ears in this. so the word stage is when he helped us but the real, quite frankly, turning point in watergate is when carl found the bookkeeper. the bookkeeper had the details on the money and who controlled it and who got the money. if you look at "all the president's men" i think the bookkeeper is the key source on money and then that led to all of the other -- >> i don't want to --
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>> this one question. could you have discovered the story? could you have uncovered the story without mark felt? >> without his -- >> i think that we had uncovered the story. more than anything, he did contribute key details at various points. but, really what he did that was so terrific is he gave us his assurance that we knew we were right, that he confirmed these things and it eliminated a lot of doubt that i think we might have had. >> and i think in the end it was very -- even though ben never asked for the name of the source while we were doing the coverage, i think it was very comforting to bradley to know that there was something high up in the justice department who was saying, you know, this --
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yeah, this is exactly right. this all fits together. >> bradley never asked? >> he never asked. and he wrote in his memoirs, didn't quite understand why he didn't ask, but he never did. he later did, believe me. >> meaning? >> meaning, i think it was -- i told him. when we wrote "the secret man," which was the whole story of the relationship with him, ben came over to my house in 2002 and read it and said really i wanted to make sure that it conformed with all of his memory and what he said and, interestingly enough, ben said -- because we were thinking of writing this story before mark felt died. and he had dementia. i had been in touch with him.
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and ben said look, the guy you made the deal with about not naming him is now different. and you can't unilaterally decide you're going to break that agreement. so, we didn't break the agreement until felt came out all to our surprise. >> after 33 years. >> and you were an associate editor. >> they didn't tell me they were working on this story. >> bob hasn't changed, has he, carl, in terms of the willingness to go out? he was on with me about a year ago, i think it was. you had gone out to see somebody and knocked on their door at 8:30 at night, because they had refused to see you. and getting their story was important. you still do that shoe leather thing occasionally? >> this was a general. this was a general. i guess i can -- and he just wouldn't talk. and i needed detail. there's a perfect time to visit a general at home, that's about 8:15.
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if they're home, they've eaten. that's kind of their down time. i knocked on the door. he opened the door and looked at me and i'll quote him. he said, are you still doing this shit? and i just kind of learned how to look innocent from carl. i looked innocent and he said, come on in. >> and told you everything you wanted to? >> not everything. no one ever tells everything. he told enough. >> the technique is to go find other people that can build on the story so that you have the whole thing? and you can go back to him and ask questions because somebody else has told you something that he didn't tell you and then you have reason for him to add more? >> you get notes and memos and you get -- and you try to get an authentic -- >> suppose you had the internet and e-mail and twitter and all that we have today. would it have made covering
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watergate different? >> yeah. two things. one, i think that the tally of information would be received by readers and viewers would be very different, because there's so much inclination to look at information from a partisan or ideological source and use that information to reinforce preconceived prejudices and beliefs. different in the way it's received. but in terms of going out and getting the information, there's no substitute whatsoever for the basic methodology. i mean, i went to work when i was 16 at "the washington star." and that's what you learned to do. that's what we still do. you need to talk to people. you got to -- you know, you know this, charlie. one thing that's happened in journalism and a lot of us, there's a lot of manufactured controversy when people throw a microphone in front of you or
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come in with a notebook. tell me what this is all about and they leave the room. you learn things by sitting and listening and really learning and being open minded. preconceived notion of a story that you have when you go out is never the same as what the story turns out to be. it's because you're there in person. >> human sources are the key. >> human sources. >> to answer your question, i think the internet could have helped with connections and so forth. but we've talked to some journalism students at schools and they somehow think that the internet is a magic lantern and that you could just google secret fund and out would come all the data you need. >> yeah. >> and, you know they're just not true. the good stuff is not on the internet. >> the night that we found the check that established that the
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burglars, that the nixon money had gone into the burglars -- nixon campaign fund had gone into the burglars account, i called woodward back in the office. he went back to the library and found about a dozen city directories and we had a name. kenneth h. dahlberg. we thought he was from minnesota. we found the minnesota guide. and found the guy. the difference is that you would find him quicker through google but the basic methodology remains. >> was there anything about covering this story that you could not confirm, even though you found it fascinating and interesting and -- but you could never nail it down so you couldn't report it? >> i mean, there are lots that come to mind. i'll tell one real quick one. and this is not confirmed and it's not a crime or anything but there are people in the nixon white house in the last days that said nixon left the white house and just kind of walked out for an hour or two, walking
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around washington and ordered the secret service not to come with him. people have told us that, but lots of other people have denied it. and i don't think it's true, but it's -- you know, one of those stories. what did nixon do on the eve he resigned? one of the things that he did was prayed with henry kissinger. but there were more hours. maybe he went wandering. who knows? it's very important that it not become a witch hunt to get at reporter's sources and particularly to haul reporters into court that more often than not that the claim of national security has been violated by a newspaper or
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the press, as ben bradley said many, many years ago, that it's almost always bogus. at the same time, people in government take an oath that they are not going to disclose national security information. and you can have a legitimate jury, it seems to me. but you have to be very, very careful that this does not turn into something that's totally unjustified. president obama the other day made a statement that his white house is not responsible for leaking national security information. and it seems to me that he's going to have to find out if what he said is really true. >> "the new york times" is concerned that people will assume that somehow this information was all laid out to them rather than the benefit of a lot of hard -- >> the other thing is, you know, every white house, every day discloses national security information. i mean it's the way the place works.
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and so the question now is there anything really detrimental to the interest of the united states that has been disclosed in "the new york times," "the washington post," "time" magazine, on the air, whatever, that really justifies finding out who leaked something? >> i just hate the word leaks. >> yeah. >> because, i mean, it makes it sound like reporters are passive and just waiting to get the gusher. and the rule at the "washington post" is when we have a good story, it's because of aggressive thorough reporting and "the new york times" or somebody else has a story it's -- >> it's a walk. >> but, you know, you have to be in a position where you're open and you are unfeddered in a way as a reporter so people will come to you if that's what they decide. because there are lots of things, there were lots of things in watergate where people
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would come to us not with big stories but with supporting information and the newspaper has to be an environment where we say to people come and tell us the truth. and if you need to be protected, we will protect you. >> what do you say to people that say wootoodward is a better reporter and bernstein is a better writer? >> brilliant sentences, brilliant paragraphs. then there is time i come up with the information. i think it really -- that's -- >> is that your favorite question, bradley? >> yeah. >> the collaboration, yeah, but there is real collaboration. you have to -- i mean in the end when you work with somebody like carl who is so resourceful and so aggressive and so tough minded, you are humbled because
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you see -- i mean i quite honestly come into the office at 8:00 or 9:00 and carl would be there. didn't eat dinner. was just churning on the story. there is, you know, we love reporting. i mean there's definitely no question he's the better writer than i am. >> again, there's a lot of reversal. >> okay. finally, so this was when you were 29, 30 years old. you'll never see a story this good again. >> who knows? who knows? >> you know, i go out and i move that flower pot in the backyard every now and then just hoping that there is somebody in the back. >> bob is lonely. contact me. there is also this.
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i found this in a letter that a series of things about ben. i read this bring introduce jim. this is a letter dated may 30th, 1973 from badly saying as long as a journalist tells the truth in conscious and fairness it is not his job to worry about consequences. the truth is never as dangerous as a lie in the long run. i truly believe that the truth sets men free. thank you both. [ applause ]
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>> and so finally tonight, a few words and thoughts about the man for whom nothing good said about him could ever be too much or over the top. he is, of course, my hero and the hero of so many others in this room and elsewhere, the one -- bradley, i'm about to call your name. i'm talking about you. the one, the only, benjamin crownenshield, bradley! >> yeah, but it doesn't matter.
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otherwise known as bradley of "the post." to call ben a hero is almost an understatement. there has to be another word that goes before and after hero maybe super, super hero, super ben bradley. that worked for me and i suspect it does for everyone else who knows him. and watergate context, as we all heard tonight, my god, super hero ben from beginning to end. with respect for all others who were involved and i know they would agree with me, i would ask only rhetorically i'd only ask one question rhetorically, what might have happened or not
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happened in "the washington post" newsroom if ben had not been there? super hero, super ben, i dare say that every person who entered journalism the last 40 years prayed, dreamed about going to work for ben bradley. on a simple goodness of a human being scale, super hero, super ben. and without any doubt in that special world of friendship, ben is super hero, super to the highest possible power. he is without a caught the ultimate fox hole buddy. i speak from my own experience and others that are lucky enough to say with truth and pride, ben bradley is a friend of mine.
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and i would wear that and might wear that on my t-shirt and on my forehead now and forever more. [ applause ] >> if ben didn't exist, we would have to invent him. he was the perfect man of his times, given his background in boston.
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