updated 7/11/2005 10:17:14 AM ET 2005-07-11T14:17:14

Guest: Vivienne Walt, Bob Woodward, Jean AbiNader, Reza Aslan

CHRIS MATTHEWS, HOST:  Reaction from the Arab world on the terrorist attacks in London. 

And the super sleuth reporter who broke Watergate, Bob Woodward, author of “The Secret Man.” 

Let's play HARDBALL.

Good evening.  I'm Chris Matthews. 

Tonight, “The Washington Post”'s Bob Woodward talks about his new book, “The Secret Man,” about Watergate and Deep Throat, and also the future of the Supreme Court, another Woodward specialty. 

But, first, officials in London say the death toll in Thursday's bus and subway bombings has climbed to at least 49 people.  So far, police don't know who orchestrated the attacks, but British Foreign Minister Jack Straw says the bombing bore the hallmark of al Qaeda.  And Prime Minister Tony Blair blamed Islamic extremists.

NBC's Keith Miller is in London with the latest on the blast and the investigation into who is behind it—Keith.


KEITH MILLER, NBC CORRESPONDENT:  Chris, so far, there have been no arrests in the terrorist attacks.  But London tonight remains a city defiant. 

(voice-over):  Ignoring government advice to stay out of central London, people returned to the capital. 

NICK FERRARI, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST:  Let me say this to the bombers, to the people who carry out these events.  You've picked the wrong town.  Londoners don't quit.  

MILLER:  And today, dramatic cell phone video giving police a surprise.  This video taken on a train adjacent to the one attacked at Edgware station, it is 8:53 a.m., roughly the same time as the other two train attacks and 25 minutes earlier than police first believed.  Then, on the video, you can hear the cries for help.  All day, forensic experts search for clues. 

ANDY HAYMAN, SPECIALIST OPERATIONS:  Each device that was used had less than 10 pounds of high explosive.  But each device that was put on to the tube trains was likely to be on the floor of the carriage. 

MILLER:  As Londoners went back to work, recovery teams launched a dangerous mission at King's Cross station.  In a deep, dark and narrow tunnel, an unknown number of bodies are still in the passenger car where the bomb went off; 21 people are known dead.  The greatest loss of life occurred here because the subway is so far underground, one of London's deepest subway lines, 120 feet below the street.  The train had entered a tunnel just 12 feet wide when the bomb detonated. 

To the terrorists, the mayor of London had this message. 

KEN LIVINGSTONE, LORD MAYOR OF LONDON:  Watch next week as we bury our dead and mourn them.  But see also in those same days new people coming to this city to make it their home, to call themselves Londoners. 

MILLER:  Queen Elizabeth visited survivors and urged her subjects to keep a stiff upper lip. 

QUEEN ELIZABETH II, ENGLAND:  But those who perpetrate these brutal acts against innocent people should know that they will not change our way of life. 

MILLER (on camera):  You can still hear sirens across the city, as the security forces here conduct the biggest criminal investigation in the history of the country—Chris.


MATTHEWS:  Thank you, NBC's Keith Miller. 

What has been the reaction from the Muslim world to the terror attacks in London? 

I'm joined by Reza Aslan, the author of “No God But God: The Origins, Evolution and Future of Islam,” and Jean AbiNader, of the Arab-American Institute, a nonprofit organization that pushes empowerment for Arab Americans. 

Here, John, let me ask you this.  Do you have a sense of this being a particular social problem coming up now, because this hitting so close to home again? 

JEAN ABINADER, ARAB-AMERICAN INSTITUTE:  I think not so much in the United States.  But I think for sure in England, where there are much—many more extremist groups, that you're going to find some real reaction against, for example, the Pakistani community, the Bangladeshi community, and, in fact, even more broadly, I think against mosques and Muslim institutions in the U.K.

MATTHEWS:  Tell me about these right-wing groups you describe. 

What—who are they?

Well, whether you're talking about the skinheads or you're talking about the neo-Nazis, they have those versions in the U.K. and they've created problem in everything from Patriot Day ceremonies to soccer games and everything.  So we think, then, we have heard that there's a real concern by the Muslim community, particularly in the Arab community, that there could be some real backlash by these small elements in the British population. 

MATTHEWS:  And what can you do about it? 

ABINADER:  Well, there's not much you can do.

MATTHEWS:  What can anybody do? 


MATTHEWS:  The police or the groups?

ABINADER:  These people are haters. 

MATTHEWS:  Right. 

ABINADER:  And so this is another excuse for them.  If it is not Vietnamese or Chinese, it's going to be Muslims...


MATTHEWS:  Yes.  They'll find somebody alone at night and beat them up. 

ABINADER:  Exactly.  But I think, in general, the leadership has come out.

As you know Tony Blair has come out.  Jack Straw has come out, other British officials, and said, stay—this is not representative of the Muslim community and we have got to find these extremists. 

MATTHEWS:  Reza, thank you for coming back.  You were out there with us in that exciting night out there in Nashville, Tennessee. 


MATTHEWS:  You come—we were talking before we got on the air, you come from—a generation ago from Iran.  What is your sense about this?  Is there going to be a problem with people bashing people, literally, because of what was done on the subways the other day in London? 

ASLAN:  Well, first of all, let me just say something very, very clearly.  And that is that, if this is an act of al Qaeda, then it is yet another example of this depraved and inexcusable actions of these immoral, godless individuals who are manipulating the faith of a billion Muslims to justify their murderous ideology. 

And they're going to pay for this.  They're going to pay for this in this life.  They're going to pay for this in the next life.  That said...

MATTHEWS:  Why don't more people talk—why don't more people talk like you, Reza? 

ASLAN:  You know what?  People do talk like me, Chris.  They talk like me all over the world and they talk like me especially in the U.K.  right now.  We need more people to listen.  I mean, we are shouting.  We vast moderate majority of Muslims are shouting in order to be heard over these loud and savage voices of extremism.  We need help.  This is a war of ideology and we need help to make our ideology just as loud as theirs. 


MATTHEWS:  OK, I don't want to be unfair about this, because we're

all individuals.  But since you speak for the Arab-American Institute,

my friend Jim Zogby, has there ever been a strong public demonstration

by Arab Americans against this kind of violence? 

ABINADER:  I don't think any of these incidents have gone without statements being issued by the leadership against this. 

MATTHEWS:  But what about people coming in the streets and saying, stop this, you're not us?

ABINADER:  I think it has happened a lot in the local community level, particularly after 9/11.  You saw demonstrations all around the country, mostly on an interfaith basis, because Arabs are Christians, as well as Muslims.

MATTHEWS:  Well, that's right.  You are yourself a Christian.

ABINADER:  And—right.  And there were, I think all throughout the country, all kinds of demonstrations in an interfaith context. 

Is it ever enough?  Well, I think the point here is, is that this is a multicultural country.  And we kind of pretend that it isn't in the sense of some of the people in Congress.  But the reality is, that is what it is.  And people need to feel that they're invested and they're protected as being part of being Americans.  And you can't continually change what the bar means of being Americans. 

And now Muslims feel under a lot of pressure.  So, I agree with Reza.  The vast majority of Muslims are saying, hey, we're here.  We're Americans.  We have got as much at stake as anyone else.  I mean, is someone going to tell me that Muslims did not die in these attacks?  Well, of course they did.

MATTHEWS:  Of course they did, at World Trade Center as well. 

ABINADER:  Exactly. 

MATTHEWS:  Let me ask you about particularly your reaction to “New York Times”' columnist Tom Friedman. 

He wrote today: “It is essential that the Muslim world wake up to the fact that it has a jihadist death cult in its midst.  If it does not fight that death cult, that cancer within its own body politic, it is going to infect Muslim-Western relations everywhere.  Only the Muslim world can root out that death cult.” 

Is that too strong an admonition? 

ABINADER:  I think the problem with Friedman is, he's trying to build on what's happened yesterday. 

The reality is, Muslim governments know better than anyone else what a threat these extremists are.  I mean, look at Saudi Arabia; look at Pakistan; look at the way those countries...


MATTHEWS:  Jordan, right.

ABINADER:  Egypt and Jordan.


MATTHEWS:  And Egypt.

ABINADER:  They've been after these guys for a long time. 

MATTHEWS:  The Emirates.

ABINADER:  So, this is not news to them, because it's a threat to them first, not just to the Western Muslim world, but to the Muslim leadership themselves.  So, they're working as hard as they can. 

The reality is, those regimes have not over the years built up a really strong respect among their own people.  And so their own people are not helping them combat this. 

MATTHEWS:  Again, it may be unfair, Jean, but I guess my business is to be unfair at times or seem unfair. 

If there are people who are violent, who have a real hatred of America in the community, whether it's up in Newark or any community where there's a lot of—Detroit, where there's a large Arab American community—and within that community, there are people who are haters.  They just don't like it here.  They came here for the wrong reasons.  They don't want—they don't want to become American in any kind of cultural or value sense.  Do people know about them or do they keep to themselves? 

ABINADER:  Yes, I think the reality...

MATTHEWS:  The haters?

ABINADER:  The reality is, since 9/11, we have worked really hard, and Reza is sure of this as well, working to build bridges between the Arab and Muslim community and the Sikh community, for example, with FBI, law enforcement officials all throughout the country.  And I would say, in every concentration of Arab and Muslims in this country, we have worked with the FBI field offices to develop means of cooperation. 

And so, I think there's a much stronger cooperation than there is now.  But you think about the 9/11 guys.  You think about any of the others.  Very few have been indicted for terrorism charges.


ABINADER:  They were mostly outsiders in the country, so people know who they are.  The real question is, do they have enough comfort and credibility to go to the FBI and say, we've got this problem and can you help us, without feeling that the whole community is going to therefore suffer by a new wave of intimidation by law enforcement officials?  This has been a problem. 

MATTHEWS:  You know, it's a problem of—I mean, I don't want to get into other ethnic groups, but everybody in history in America knows that we have different ethnic groups...

ABINADER:  Right. 

MATTHEWS:  ... with different problems, and the whole group gets blamed.  And, you know, what else is new?


MATTHEWS:  But let me go to Reza on this.

Your reaction to that question of—it's not self-policing, because that suggests it's a general social disorder.  But when you have people using your community, your language to hide, they hide within the community because they don't go noticed that way, do you have a special responsibility to, to use a colloquialism, rat them out? 

ASLAN:  Absolutely.

Not just that, though.  We have a responsibility as Muslims to really understand that this is our problem.  Look, Friedman is right about one thing, that this is a problem within Islam.


MATTHEWS:  He'll be glad to hear that.  He is right about one thing. 



ASLAN:  He is right about one thing. 

But I think that the thing that he seems to not understand is that we know this.  Muslims recognize that we have been fighting an internal conflict for a century-and-a-half against these extremists.  Only recently has the West become even remotely involved in this conflict. 

I think the problem is, is that, we in the United States, and I mean the American government, needs to recognize that this is an internal conflict, that they have been dragged into a civil war.  And they need to start treating this not just as a war against terror, but a war of ideology.  And we need to treat this like a marketing war.  We need marketing tactics. 


ASLAN:  We need to have our ideology have the same kind of effect as the ideology of violence and savagery. 

MATTHEWS:  Why—on a positive note, and flipping the pillow over to the cold side, to the unusual side of the pillow, how come Arab Americans are so silent in many ways when it comes to Middle East politics? 

The United States has to nuance its politics.  Of course, we're pro-Israeli, but there's degrees of how we do it and how we push both sides to the peace table.  How come Arab Americans tend to be a bit squeamish? 

ABINADER:  Well, first of all...

MATTHEWS:  Well, are they?  Is that fair? 

ABINADER:  Arab Americans came here from countries that do not have the most enlightened governments, number one.

MATTHEWS:  So they're not used to speaking out. 

ABINADER:  And so they're not used to speaking out.  They're not used to being, in fact, in public service. 

But the second thing is the point that you raised before.  And that is that all ethnic groups kind of go through an integration curve.  Well, the Arab Americans really feel that their ability to integrate has been greatly affected by U.S. policy toward the Middle East. 


ABINADER:  And that really does diminish our feeling that we're part of...


MATTHEWS:  I mean, if the United States has a strong relationship with Israel, which we've had since '48, since the beginning, and it's—and there's been peaceful time, like the '90s, where everybody seems to be coming together, and then there are times like after intifada one or two, when we're not. 

What stops the Arab American community from just getting active in politics? 

ABINADER:  Well, they are active in politics.  But it's a sense of proportion.

The Arab-American Institute was founded in '95 to get Arab Americans involved in the electoral process.


ABINADER:  And we have compiled databases of hundred of Arab Americans who are in local, state, and national politics. 


ABINADER:  We have members of Congress. 


ABINADER:  We have leadership like Jim Zogby in the country.

MATTHEWS:  Yes.    

ABINADER:  So, we are.  But the issue is,look at the pro-Israeli side.  I mean, there's no comparison in terms of the weight that they carry. 


ABINADER:  And they've been at it for a long time. 


MATTHEWS:  I know.  Well, get in the game. 

ABINADER:  Yes.  We're there.


MATTHEWS:  Thank you very much, Jean AbiNader and Reza Aslan.

Thank you, Reza, for coming back.

ASLAN:  My pleasure.

MATTHEWS:  An eyewitness account of Thursday's bombings in London from “TIME” magazine's Vivienne Walt.

And later, Washington sleuth and Deep Throat reporter Bob Woodward is going to be here to talk about his new book, “The Secret Man” and the future of the Supreme Court.  That's a Woodward speciality, the Supreme Court.

You're watching HARDBALL on MSNBC. 


MATTHEWS:  Coming up, an eyewitness of Thursday's terror bombings from a reporter who was there.  And, later, “The Washington Post”'s Bob Woodward attacks the prosecution in the current White House leak story.

HARDBALL returns after this.



MATTHEWS:  Welcome back to HARDBALL.

Vivienne Walt is a “TIME” magazine reporter who happened to be in London yesterday and arrived at the King's Cross subway station moments after the blast ripped through an underground train there. 

Vivienne, thank you for joining us.

Give me your firsthand experience.  What happened yesterday when you were there? 

VIVIENNE WALT, “TIME”:  Well, Chris, it was really a surreal experience. 

The train pulls into King's Cross station.  There's complete pandemonium.  But that's not actually very unusual for London tube stations, hundreds of people were jamming the station, trying to get on to the underground.  And we were being told by one lone official in a little blue uniform that the trains had shut down because of some electrical problem. 

In fact, he very kindly and politely directed everybody to local buses.  It was only once we were outside on the street that the true enormity of what had happened really began to hit home to people.  There were ambulances and police cars, screaming up and down the streets, sirens wailing.  The cell phone networks went down.  And, clearly, people were pouring out of the tube stations, up and down Houston (ph) Road, which is a major artery that cuts through that part of London. 

MATTHEWS:  So, you weren't getting the true story.  Do you believe there was foul play in that regard?  People—were the authorities at the train station, the tube station, putting out bad information yesterday? 

WALT:  Well, you know, Chris, yes, of course, we were getting bad information.  In fact, we were being lied to outright by the London railway authorities. 

However, I can somewhat understand it.  And, in fact, I think the tactic might possibly be defended.  There was the most incredible calm and order among people.  You saw nothing of the sort of panic or the frantic sort of fleeing from the scene, as you saw in those terrible, terrible scenes which we all remember so well from 9/11.  People were simply orderly and going about their business, wondering how to get to the office and trying to kind of reorganize their day. 

MATTHEWS:  What happened to the people, the reaction of the crowd you were with at King's Cross, when they realized that it was a terrorist attack? 

WALT:  Well, as I say, there was a bid of a shudder that went through the streets.  There we are walking down the streets.  It is clear that London is suddenly just turned upside down. 

And I think people really kind of stopped and had to kind of figure out what was going on.  And Londoners for a long time have regarded an attack on the subway system as being almost an inevitability.  This was a day that they had really long expected.  So, although people were fairly grim about it, they weren't panicked, because, in a sense, I think, for a lot of people who live in the city, it was a scenario that they had run through their minds once or twice. 

MATTHEWS:  Were the people angry at the Islamic people who were in the area, if you saw them?  Was there any kind of bad language used directed at the people from India or South Asia?  I know there are so many people like that in London today. 

WALT:  Well, you know, I personally did not see any of that.  And, of course, this is the most amazingly multinational, multicultural city.  You walk down the street, you really see every shade of the rainbow here. 

And you hear every language on the street.  This morning, I was out in a couple of very heavily Islamic neighborhoods and people there were really worried.  They were saying, you know, it is OK for Tony Blair to come out and say, this is not an Islamic act, but in fact we feel the backlash here on the ground, and we're expecting British people to kind of blame Muslims as a whole. 

So, they're sort of bracing for the backlash.  Frankly, personally, I have not seen signs of it yet. 

MATTHEWS:  OK, thank you for joining us.  I'm glad you're OK, Vivienne Walt, who was there right after the bombing attack at King's Cross.  Thank you very much. 

When we come back, we'll talk politics and take a look at how the war on terrorism affects the political standing of President Bush right now and also of Prime Minister Blair. 

And, later, Watergate star sleuth Bob Woodward joins us.  His new book about Deep Throat is called “The Secret Man.”  We'll talk to him about the Supreme Court and what is happening there as well.

You're watching HARDBALL on MSNBC. 


MATTHEWS:  Events like Thursday's terror attacks in London can often have a dramatic political impact.  And the perceptions now being formed of President Bush and British Prime Minister Tony Blair's handling of this attack come at a crucial time in their political careers. 

HARDBALL correspondent David Shuster has this report. 


DAVID SHUSTER, NBC CORRESPONDENT (voice-over):  As soon as the news reached the G8 Summit, it was a resolute British Prime Minister Tony Blair who stepped forward to condemn the terrorist attacks. 

TONY BLAIR, BRITISH PRIME MINISTER:  We are united in our resolve to confront and defeat this terrorism that is not an attack on one nation, but on all nations and on civilized people everywhere. 

SHUSTER:  Blair spoke again hours later in London. 

T. BLAIR:  When they try to intimidate us, we will not be intimidated.  When they seek to change our country or our way of life by these methods, we will not be changed. 

SHUSTER:  Two months ago, Blair won reelection.

T. BLAIR:  How does it feel to be part of a third term Labor government? 

SHUSTER:  But with a sharp drop in public support and a big cut in Labor Party seats in parliament.  Over the last two years, the British prime minister has been hammered for the war in Iraq. 

T. BLAIR:  I know that Iraq has been a deeply divisive issue in this country. 

SHUSTER:  And condemned over allegations that his government, like the Bush administration, fixed prewar intelligence. 

Blair also hasn't gotten much from the White House on British concerns like aid to Africa or global warming. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  The games of the 30th Olympiad in 2012 are awarded to the city of London. 


SHUSTER:  Still, when the Olympic announcement came on Wednesday, it was Blair's lobbying that got most of the credit. 

And now, thanks to his government's well-organized reaction to the terror attacks and thanks to London's resolve...

SIR IAN BLAIR, METROPOLITAN POLICE COMMISSIONER:  This is business as usual.  On Monday, we go on.  The trains are running.  The tubes will be running as greatly as they possibly can. 

SHUSTER:  Blair may be looking at a political revival, if only a spurt of one. 

T. BLAIR:  Politics is about getting things done step by step, progress by progress. 

SHUSTER:  For President Bush, the impact of the terror attacks may be mixed.  Americans tend to rally behind a president during times of crisis. 

GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES:  And the people who knocked these buildings down will hear all of us soon. 


SHUSTER:  And, this week in Europe, President Bush has again appeared steadfast and strong. 

BUSH:  We will not yield to these people.  We will not yield to the terrorists. 

SHUSTER:  But the explosions in London could have some negative blowback on the president's morphing case for the war in Iraq.  In his prime-time speech to the nation two weeks ago, the president said nothing about weapons of mass destruction and little about building a democracy. 

But he mentioned 9/11 five times.  And, on July 4, he said about


BUSH:  We're taking fight to the terrorists abroad, so we do not have to face them here at home. 

SHUSTER:  Call this the flypaper argument.  However, if the London bombings raise fears about another round of attacks in the United States, the president's focus on Saddam and Iraq, instead of Osama and al Qaeda, could deepen the president's political problems. 

(on camera):  Neither President Bush, nor Prime Minister Blair, will face the voters again.  However, their parties soon enough will be looking at off-year elections.  And it is why so many analysts on both sides of the Atlantic are nervously tracking the political impact the London bombings leave behind. 

I'm David Shuster for HARDBALL in Washington. 


MATTHEWS:  Thank you, David.

Up next, “The Washington Post”'s Bob Woodward, the reporter who broke the Watergate story, will be here with me to talk about his new book about Deep Throat, “The Secret Man.”

You're watching HARDBALL on MSNBC. 



MATTHEWS:  Welcome back to HARDBALL.

Washington's most enduring mystery was cracked this May, when Deep Throat, Bob Woodward's famous anonymous source, unmasked himself as Mark Felt, the number two man at the FBI during Watergate.  Woodward honored his commitment to protect Felt's identity for more than 30 years.  And now he has written a book about the man who helped him break the Watergate story that brought down Richard Nixon.  His book is called “The Secret Man: The Story of Watergate's Deep Throat.”

Bob Woodward, welcome. 


MATTHEWS:  I want to play a tape for you, because you've always been hesitant to say—the one part of the Watergate story.  I want to talk about the book.  But one part of the Watergate story you've never really ventured out a clear-cut indictment.  Did Nixon get involved in the actual Watergate break-in?

On May 28, 1971, Richard Nixon, the president of the United States, instructed his chief of staff, Bob Haldeman, on the imperative to—quote—“go after” his political enemies.  Here it is. 


RICHARD NIXON, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES:  That's why I want more use of wiretapping.  Are we dealing adequately with their candidates, tailing them and so forth?”

BOB HALDEMAN, CHIEF OF STAFF:  We're on and off.

NIXON:  Well, it should not be on and off.  I mean, that's something we can afford.  That's better than hiring 18 more researchers, you know, little boys to go over there and try to figure out what the P.R. line should be.  We can figure that one out.  We can't get any information.  Why don't you do that?  Why don't you put your money on that?


MATTHEWS:  Well, there's president of the United States telling his chief of staff to go out and—to go out and go dig out the information on the opponents, bird-dog them. 

What do you think? 

WOODWARD:  Very incriminating and, given the timing and what they actually did, that they spent money on the Watergate operation, and the other person—then Bob Haldeman, who was closest to Nixon—John Mitchell actually sat in on those planning meetings for the Watergate and intelligence gathering operation.  But it's not proof that Nixon knew specifically about the break-in.  But, in a way, that's...


MATTHEWS:  Let's listen to more.  Let's listen to more on this. 

WOODWARD:  OK.  I love these tapes.


MATTHEWS:  Because I think it really shows—it shows the role of the president of the United States in telling his chief of staff:  I want to you go out there.  I want you to dig up stuff on the opponents.  Spend some money snooping on them.  In May of '71, that same day, Nixon was worried that his snooping campaign could be traced back to him. 

So, he agreed to Bob Haldeman's proposal that the operation be handled through a pair of former New York detectives, one of whom, Jack Caulfield, had been on Nixon payroll for years. 

Let's listen now to how he talks about he's going to dig up the goods, the bad stuff on the Democrats. 


NIXON:  Who have you got you could put in charge?  Not Colson, I understand.  Can't do that out of the White House.

HALDEMAN:  We've got a guy we've got outside.  I think that's the way to do it.

NIXON:  You have a guy?

HALDEMAN:  Through Colson, I mean, through...

NIXON:  The cop.

HALDEMAN:  Caulfield.

NIXON:  I don't know.  Maybe it's the wrong thing to do.  But I have a feeling if you're going to start, you got to start now.

HALDEMAN:  Probably so, before they—I think mainly just to...

NIXON:  Keep them.  They're going to beat up, you know?

HALDEMAN:  You figure just the three of them?

NIXON:  Oh, yes.

HALDEMAN:  Teddy, Muskie.

NIXON:  I don't mean to.  Maybe we can get a scandal on any, any one of the leading Democrats.

HALDEMAN:  In the general range of Democrats.

NIXON:  Now you're talking...

HALDEMAN:  Just looking for a scandal or impropriety or anything.


MATTHEWS:  I remember, Bob, digging up that tape years ago in the archives over in Maryland.

I got to tell you, the words that jump out at me about that Nixon knew about the break-in and was involved with making it happen: “Maybe we can get a scandal on any one of the leading Democrats.  I know it is the wrong thing to do, but I have a feeling we better get started.”

He's telling his guy.  He's goosing them.  Get out there.  Dig up dirt on all these Democrats.  Get it.  I'm going to spend the money on it. 

WOODWARD:  And it's what happened. 

And, of course, if you had that tape and there were an indictment and a trial of Nixon, it would be incredibly incriminating.  But it's not proof.  But, in a way, all that is a red herring.  Did Nixon know about a specific activity?  What that tape shows and what the rest of the tapes show in the mountains of Watergate evidence, that Nixon wanted dirt, wanted to know about the files, the private lives, the telephone conversations of his political opponents.

So, he just went wild and set not just the tone, but there he is saying, do it. 


MATTHEWS:  Let's talk about the methodology.  Let's talk about break-ins. 


MATTHEWS:  A month after that tape, we don't have the tape, but I'm going to read it to you.


MATTHEWS:  Because I dug this one up, too.  June 30, '71, the year before Watergate, listen to this one.  It's right after the Pentagon Papers had been published and he was ripped. 


MATTHEWS:  He wanted to get the people.  So, he was—he said: 

Let's go get the other stuff that is still at the Brookings Institution, a liberal think tank in Washington, that could become more Pentagon Papers. 

He said: “The way I want that handled, Bob”—this is to Bob Haldeman—“is to just break in.  Break in and take it out.  You understand?”

And Haldeman says, “Who do we have to do it?”

Nixon says: “Well, don't discuss it here,” because he knows he's being taped.  “You talk to—you're to break into the place, rifle the files, and bring me...”

Haldeman interrupts him: “I don't have any problem breaking in. 

This isn't a domestic.  This isn't a foreign, approved security...”

Nixon: “Just go in and take it.”  And then he says what time to go in.  He says, break in.  “Go in around 8:00 or 9:00 and clean it out.”

I mean, there's—there's Nixon telling the guy, here's how you get information on the enemy.  You do burglaries.  You dig up stuff and you rip it out after dark. 


WOODWARD:  In that specific case, Carl Bernstein and I wrote about that 30 years ago in “The Washington Post,” before the tape was out.

MATTHEWS:  Before you knew about the tapes, yes.

WOODWARD:  And it was to get a copy of the Pentagon Papers, because the Nixon White House had information that Brookings, the think tank here in Washington that is kind of left of center or liberal. 

MATTHEWS:  Yes.  Well, certainly anti-Nixon. 

WOODWARD:  Had a copy. 


Let me ask you about in your book.  It's a great...


MATTHEWS:  There's some real news in here.  We'll get at some of the personal stuff about you in a minute.



MATTHEWS:  Because I always thought you were a straight arrow, until I read this book. 

But Deep Throat, the Nixon people, Haldeman especially, had a mole in “The Post” watching your relationship with Mark Felt, Deep Throat. 


MATTHEWS:  Another Deep Throat.

WOODWARD:  That's what they said.  But it was never clear.  And we were so careful.  Carl knew.  Bradlee had not even asked for the identity of the high person in the Justice Department.  Of course, the FBI is part of the Justice Department.  So, I don't think that's true.  I think that was more B.S. on the Nixon tapes. 

MATTHEWS:  Haldeman's guy—Haldeman is the president's chief of staff, saying, we can't disclose that it's Mark Felt, although they thought it was Mark Felt. 

WOODWARD:  That's right. 

MATTHEWS:  They were pretty sharp, knowing who you were working with. 

WOODWARD:  Well, maybe, maybe not. 

MATTHEWS:  But they were afraid that they would give away their source if they gave away yours. 

WOODWARD:  And they were afraid that, if they fingered felt, he would go public and Haldeman actually says, he will go on network television and he knows everything.  And, of course, that's the—that's why he was such a good source.  He knew everything. 

I mean, I'm dying—I wish I had the number two person in the FBI now as a source who was willing to meet at night. 


WOODWARD:  Whether at home or in an underground parking garage and explain what's going on now, I mean, an invaluable source, critical to the coverage. 

But Carl and I had dozens of other sources.  And Mark Felt, and part of his genius as a source was, I'm not going to give you information.  I will only confirm what you've got.  So, I could only signal let's meet when we had something to check out with him. 

MATTHEWS:  When—when this story broke a month ago, and Mark Felt

·         and he's an older man—came forward, what was your feeling? 

Because you seemed hesitant to give away something you been saving all these decades.  There was a sense of...

WOODWARD:  No, it wasn't saving it.  It was—it was just that I had an agreement with him, total, absolute confidentiality at all costs. 


WOODWARD:  These extraordinary precautions we took.  And I had gone out to see Felt five years earlier and interviewed him, actually taped part of it.  And his memory is gone. 


WOODWARD:  He's not—his daughter says that Mark Felt remembers two people from the Washington period.  And that—and the is J. Edgar Hoover and me.  Now, when I saw this that day...

MATTHEWS:  Yes, that was a powerful picture that day.

WOODWARD:  It was.  You know why?  Because he was happy.  And we had a very anguished and difficult relationship.  And his daughter, who is on the left, Joan, told me that her father has said, this is the happiest time of his life. 

MATTHEWS:  Do you believe that he believes now, even in his limited consciousness, his limited awareness—and we know about Alzheimer's, whatever it is. 

WOODWARD:  Dementia. 

MATTHEWS:  It's definitely debilitating.  Dementia.

WOODWARD:  Dementia.

MATTHEWS:  Do you think he knows in his soul he did the right thing? 


MATTHEWS:  Or believes it?

WOODWARD:  Yes.  Yes. 


WOODWARD:  I mean, one of the things he...

MATTHEWS:  In other words, in reporting on Nixon to you? 

WOODWARD:  Yes.  And, in fact, I asked him that. 

I said, do you think that Carl Bernstein and I did the right thing? 

And he said, you did the right thing. 

MATTHEWS:  Because he believed that there was something really foul about the Nixon administration?

WOODWARD:  Well, there was.  He was absolutely right. 

MATTHEWS:  I meant from his perspective...


WOODWARD:  Yes.  And not only were they trying to politicize and control the FBI, but there were all these illegal activities going on. 

And when you—you piece together this very complicated record, you seen that Felt only glimpsed, like all of us... 


WOODWARD:  ... part of it.


WOODWARD:  But it was appalling.

MATTHEWS:  When we come back, I want to ask you what you think of people like our friend Pat, my friend Pat Buchanan, when he comes out and blames the messenger for the message.


MATTHEWS:  We'll come back.  We'll be back with “Washington Post” -

·         “The Washington Post”'s Bob Woodward, author of a book that is going to be number one on the best-seller list, simply because they always are, “The Secret Man” by Robert Woodward.

We'll be right back.  You're watching HARDBALL, only on MSNBC.  


MATTHEWS:  Coming up, Bob Woodward says Richard Nixon ran a criminal conspiracy out of the White House and he used his office to get back at his enemies, real and perceived.

HARDBALL returns after this.



MATTHEWS:  We're back with Bob Woodward, author of the new book “The Secret Man,” which chronicles his relationship with Deep Throat, who we now know is Mark Felt.

You know, when this thing first splashed a month ago—And, by the way, fast work here. 


MATTHEWS:  You're out with the book already. 

You did try to get—you got started on this a lot before last month, right?

WOODWARD:  Oh, yes.

MATTHEWS:  This was draft...


WOODWARD:  Three years ago.


WOODWARD:  Right. 

MATTHEWS:  The—the way that a lot of the cable networks and all the—all the TV networks handled it was, well, let's hear from Bob Woodward's side or the other—that side, which was the reporter's side, the facts, and let's hear from the Nixon people on the other side, as if moral equivalence.  One side said they got the truth and put it out.  The other side said the truth shouldn't have come out.  Therefore, it's an equal argument. 

WOODWARD:  Right. 

MATTHEWS:  Your reaction—your reaction to that.

WOODWARD:  You don't want to get me started. 

But you just pushed one of the buttons on my console.  And I'm going to—it is outrageous for Buchanan and Liddy and Colson to come out and say this.  The real conservatives in America, like Barry Goldwater, who didn't like law-breaking, Barry Goldwater and all the people in Congress who investigated the impeachment of Nixon and looked at these tapes and this information—and, you know, there's much more out now—voted unanimously to recommend his impeachment.

And Goldwater said, too many lies, too many crimes.  He's got to go. 

This kind of stupid, blind, mindless loyalty to Nixon, I mean, look at—look at the record, the level of corruption, the level of hate.  What drove Richard Nixon?  Hate.  Listen to those tapes.  They're always plotting.  They're always, let's screw somebody.  How do we use our power at the FBI, the CIA, to screw somebody? 

You know what Nixon had the Secret Service do?  Tap the telephone of his brother. 


WOODWARD:  I mean, anybody who was not controllable, anybody who might know something, anybody who seemed to be on the other side, let's hammer him, and with the IRS, you name it. 

MATTHEWS:  Suppose you had been...

WOODWARD:  Investigate, snoop, break in, wiretap.


WOODWARD:  What?  Now, look, when I met Mark Felt in the White House, when I was in the Navy, he was bringing in documents to Kissinger or Haig.  I believe that these were the secret wiretap logs.  Who were they wiretapping?  Senior people on the National Security Council staff.  White House aides, Bill Safire, who was a White House aide.

MATTHEWS:  Nixon speechwriter.

WOODWARD:  They had John Sears wiretapped, another Nixon aide.  They had him under 24-hour surveillance.  This was—this was a police operation.  This was so un-American, so ugly that anyone who...

MATTHEWS:  OK, let me ask you this. 

WOODWARD:  ... genuinely believes in the Constitution...


WOODWARD:  ... a sense of democracy, has to be outraged, not defending this. 

MATTHEWS:  Suppose you had been Bob Woodward on the—suppose you had been on the Woodward beat, the sleuth beat back when Bobby Kennedy was going after Hoffa or Martin Luther King, when the Kennedy brothers were out after Roger Blau, had of U.S. Steel, when they would wake these guys up—use the FBI and other—wake them up in the middle of the night, scare them with their girlfriends.  They were tough.


WOODWARD:  I was in college or in the Navy.  I wasn't...


MATTHEWS:  They played hardball, the Kennedy crowd. 

WOODWARD:  Sure they did.  And—but that doesn't—hey, I—I did these break-ins and I did this wiretapping and, therefore, it is OK, because somebody might have done something.

MATTHEWS:  No, I'm not saying that.  I'm saying that it's too bad everybody doesn't get caught.


WOODWARD:  No, I'm sorry.  But there was no equivalency. 

MATTHEWS:  Some people get caught and some don't.

WOODWARD:  Richard Nixon ran one of the largest criminal conspiracies of all time out of the Oval Office, not just for a week or a few months, for years.  It was a mind-set.


MATTHEWS:  But you know when someone—on one of the tapes, particular—I read it recently, last night.  Nixon is complaining about how the Kennedys wiretapped him back in the early '60s during the governor's race in—he was convinced he was getting even. 

WOODWARD:  I don't know that that is true. 


MATTHEWS:  But he was convinced he was getting even.

WOODWARD:  Fair point.  Fair point.  But you don't break the law to get even.  And...


MATTHEWS:  Two wrongs don't make a right.  I know all that, but...

WOODWARD:  And where—and, look, here...


WOODWARD:  ... not only is this sad and pathetic. 


WOODWARD:  But what didn't happen in the Nixon administration that

·         the presidency is supposed to be connected to high purpose. 


WOODWARD:  There should be—and what—what is most chilling about the tapes is what is not on them, not Richard Nixon, Bob Haldeman, all these people never saying, what would be good?  What would be right?  What is going to help the people of the country?  It is always, let's screw somebody.  Let's break in.  Let's do this.

MATTHEWS:  Well, we do have this one quote.  We just played it.  And when he's talking about whether to put snoops on these Democrats—and, obviously, it led to Watergate. 


MATTHEWS:  Maybe it is the wrong thing to do, but I have a feeling we'd better get started. 


MATTHEWS:  We'll be right back with Bob Woodward. 

WOODWARD:  Yes, well, that's classic Nixon.

MATTHEWS:  You're watching HARDBALL, only on MSNBC.  


MATTHEWS:  We're back with Bob Woodward talking about “The Secret Man.”  His book is just out yesterday about Deep Throat, a story that this city has been fascinated with for about three decades.

Let me ask you about—there's a funny part in the book where you, as a cub, not even a cub reporter, an applicant for a job. 

WOODWARD:  At “The Washington Post.”

MATTHEWS:  Talking to Harry Rosenfeld.  And he says, tell me what attribution means.  And you say, I don't know what it means.  And attribution, of course, is according to sources, according to the FBI, according to the White House.

WOODWARD:  Or, the president said, or...

MATTHEWS:  Right.  That's attribution. 

WOODWARD:  Yes.  Right. 

MATTHEWS:  That's a, he said.  And you didn't know what it meant. 

WOODWARD:  Where did it come from?  What's the basis?  Right. 

MATTHEWS:  And now—now—now, Deep Throat, of course, is a derivation of deep background, which means, I'm not telling you where I got the information in any way. 

So, let's talk about what's going on right now.  Judy Miller sits in D.C. jail tonight, apparently sleeping on the floor, according to a report I read in one of the papers today. 


MATTHEWS:  Because she won't tell her who her source is in the leak case. 


MATTHEWS:  In the leak case involving Joe Wilson and that trip to Niger.

WOODWARD:  And that case, when I think it is all told, there is going to be nothing to it.  And it is a shame.  And the special prosecutor in that case, his behavior, in my view, has been disgraceful. 

MATTHEWS:  Well, how does he prove...

WOODWARD:  That he has not...

MATTHEWS:  How does he catch the bad guy? 

WOODWARD:  Well, he can keep trying.  But I think—look, she didn't even write a story.  Come on.  What are you going to do? 

I mean, did you ever talk to anybody about this case?  Why don't we just take the whole damn press corps and line them up and everyone can go to the grand jury or jail, because somebody might have talked to somebody about this? 


MATTHEWS:  Well, was this, then, a crime?  We're talking about a crime. 

WOODWARD:  I don't think there's any crime.

MATTHEWS:  There is a crime on the books now.  Just so we know what

·         there is a statute that punishes someone who gives away the undercover identity of an FBI agent. 

WOODWARD:  Intentionally, and a law written because Philip Agee back in the '80s was listing all the people who were undercover agents. 

Novak has explained this, Bob Novak, who wrote the original story, and said, he was told this woman, Joe Wilson's wife, was a weapons of mass destruction analyst in the CIA.  He called her an operative because that's one of the terms he uses in his column.  He didn't know.  And...


MATTHEWS:  He uses that word all the time.  It is not exactly a fond word, is it?

WOODWARD:  You're an operative.

MATTHEWS:  I was an operative.

WOODWARD:  Yes, right.

MATTHEWS:  Everybody who has ever worked in politics is an operative. 

WOODWARD:  Exactly. 


WOODWARD:  And so, it turned out she was an operative.  This is an accident.  I think the judge in the case also should have found some way to balance...



WOODWARD:  ... the interests here.

MATTHEWS:  Congress is looking—Congress—excuse me, Bob.


MATTHEWS:  Congress is looking at passing a shield law, meaning something like the priesthood or a rabbi. 


MATTHEWS:  If you to tell somebody—to somebody something that's important, and they don't want to say where they got it from, and you don't want them to say where they got it from, that that's privileged information.  It's like going to a confession.  You go to a reporter.

Do you think Congress will pass that?  Do you think they should? 

WOODWARD:  I think it would help.  But you know what we need here? 

Common sense. 

MATTHEWS:  Would you testify?

WOODWARD:  Common sense.

MATTHEWS:  Would you go to the Hill?  If somebody asked you in a press freedoms organization, and said, Bob Woodward, will you come to Capitol Hill and testify for a shield law? 

WOODWARD:  I don't know that a reporter should testify.  Maybe I—

I definitely would be in favor...

MATTHEWS:  Why not? 

WOODWARD:  I don't—I don't know.

MATTHEWS:  Well, isn't it tradecraft?  Isn't this something that reporters need? 

WOODWARD:  I don't know.  I think we need—yes, I think so.  But I think common sense would solve the problem. 

Look, we are in—what's going on in America and the world now? 

Terror.  We are engaged in a war on terror. 

MATTHEWS:  Fifteen seconds, hard.  Bob Woodward...

WOODWARD:  OK.  And it—it—it is a big deal.  And we need, in my business, confidential sources.  And you're going to freeze everyone from telling us the truth if you send reporters to jail. 

MATTHEWS:  OK.  Did you have this book freeze-dried three weeks ago waiting to go? 


MATTHEWS:  It's all done so fast.  I know you said you drafted it. 

Thank you, Bob Woodward.

WOODWARD:  Thanks.

MATTHEWS:  The new—the book is called “The Secret Man.”  It will take you about two nights to knock this baby off.  You can do it.

I'll be right back Monday night at 7:00 Eastern for more HARDBALL.

Right now, it's time for the “COUNTDOWN” with Keith.



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