September 5, 2008

White House Answers Claims Made in Book

A newspaper article about Bob Woodward's new book on U.S. President George W. Bush that cites spying on Iraqi leaders was "incomplete," the White House said.

"While the book itself is not yet public, the picture of Iraq policy that is presented in the Washington Post article is at least incomplete," National Security Adviser Steve Hadley said in a statement issued by the White House Friday.

The book, "The War Within: A Secret White House History, 2006-2008," due out Monday, offers a new reason for the cutback in Iraqi violence. The surge of U.S. combat troops wasn't the main reason for the steep drop in violence; rather, it was new covert techniques allowing U.S. military and intelligence officials to locate and kill insurgent leaders and key members in extremist groups, said The Washington Post, where Woodward is an associate editor.

Hadley said entering into fall of 2006 the existing strategy wasn't working so Bush ordered a comprehensive review.

Concerning a statement in the report that Bush was "detached," Hadley said, "President Bush drove the process to conclusion and made a tough decision" to send more troops.

The surge allowed for three other "combined to reduce the violence," Hadley said -- covert operations, Moqtada Sadr's decision to corral his militant followers and the so-called Anbar Awakening in which Sunnis joined in fighting al-Qaida.

"It was the surge that provided more resources and a security context to support newly developed techniques and operations," Hadley said.