Jeff Himmelman reports in his new book about Ben Bradlee — an excerpt runs in this week’s New York Magazine — that the legendary Washington Post executive editor once said that he had “fear in my soul” that Bob Woodward had embellished some details of his Watergate reporting. In 1990, Bradlee told Barbara Feinman, who was helping the editor with his memoir:
Did that potted [plant] incident ever happen? … and meeting in some garage. One meeting in the garage? Fifty meetings in the garage? I don’t know how many meetings in the garage … There’s a residual fear in my soul that that isn’t quite straight.
On Sunday night, Woodward told Politico’s Dylan Byers:
There’s a transcript of an interview that Himmelman did with Bradlee 18 months ago in which Ben undercuts the [New York magazine] piece. It’s amazing that it’s not in Jeff’s piece. It’s almost like the way Nixon’s tapings did him in, Jeff’s own interview with Bradlee does him in.
Woodward told Byers that he has an Oct. 7, 2010, interview transcript in which Bradlee mentioned to the author that he’s confident about Woodward’s Watergate reporting.
The Washington Post says in its story about the Himmelman book:
Although Woodward’s harshest critics spent years questioning whether he concocted the character of Deep Throat, Woodward’s reporting has been repeatedly confirmed over the past four decades, notably with the 2005 disclosure that his secret source was W. Mark Felt.
* The Red Flag in the Flowerpot (New York)
* Woodward rejects new Watergate claims (Politico)
* Book says Bradlee doubted some Woodward details (Washington Post)
* “Yours in Truth: A Personal Portrait of Ben Bradlee” (Amazon.com)