TRANSCRIPT: Bob Woodward Talks to ABC's Diane Sawyer About 'Obama's Wars'


WOODWARD: She says no, but come on, who -- you know, the list would run longer than our arms of people who said no and then did.

SAWYER: General Jones, National Security Adviser General Jones, he is there in the White House to be the president's first call on national security issues. It's a stunning story you tell of the way he feels about the political team -- Rahm Emanuel, David Axelrod and also some of the members of his own staff -- that they are water bugs cutting off his access. He treats them -- he feels they're a kind of a mafia ganging up against him.

WOODWARD: I'm not -- excluding him. And what -- what happens is, Rahm Emanuel, the chief of staff, will come down to the suite, the national security adviser and deputy, and go see the deputy, Tom Donilon. And finally, at one point, General Jones said to Rahm, I'm the national security adviser, come see me, not Donilon.

And it got better for awhile, but it's back to -- Donilon is the workhorse. He is the person who spends day and night, immerses himself in the detail to the point that the president himself turns to Donilon on many of these things.

SAWYER: But "water bugs"? "Water bugs"?

WOODWARD: Water bugs flitting around. General Jones is the odd man out in this West Wing. He's not part of the campaign --

SAWYER: Leaving soon?


SAWYER: Were you shocked he said these things to you?

WOODWARD: You know, I don't say where I get information and I authoritatively say that he has told people. And he felt isolated and if you look at this, I'm not sure it puts anyone in a good light the way they treated him, excluding him, how he defined his job in a different way, but it's -- it's not one of those things where it comes together for instance.

On the troop level recommendation for the Afghan strategy review, General Jones thought 20,000 should be it. He typed out an memo, put it in his computer, it never got -- he never gave it or showed it to the president. Here's the national security -- can you imagine Henry Kissinger holding back his opinion?

SAWYER: Not marching right into the office.

Former Secretary of State General Colin Powell came in as an unofficial -- what? -- wise man? What did he say about all this?

WOODWARD: Right at the moment in the Afghan strategy review, Obama called him in and said, you know, what do you think. And here is Powell -- former secretary of state, former chairman of the joint chiefs, had been in the Army 35 years and he -- and he told Obama, he said, look, they -- just because the military is unanimous doesn't mean they're right. You are commander in chief, and he said interestingly and maybe ominously, there are other generals, don't get rolled. Don't do it just because they say. It doesn't mean -- you're the boss, you're the decider here.

SAWYER: They have a particular relationship that you can name?

WOODWARD: They talk frequently. And you know this -- if you were president and ad to make a big decision, Colin Powell would be one of those people that I think anyone, republican or democrat, would call on.

SAWYER: You do have a heart-pounding description of a brand new president arriving in office and he gets the briefing. He already knew somewhat, because his inauguration was threatened, would be threatened, but he gets the briefing about the constellation of terror in the world trying to make its way to the United States.

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