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


WOODWARD: That's what he said. And it shows a different culture and a different attitude. People in the U.S. government were quite surprised by that. At the same time, these drone attacks kill a lot of the al Qaeda leaders, the Taliban leaders. But they don't change the situation on the ground.

SAWYER: Does it hurt the American forces for you to publish that?

WOODWARD: No, I don't think so. I mean people in the government know it. And that's the attitude -- you know, the -- this is the -- my take on all of this. There are certain things I have not published that should be secret, about sources and methods and so forth. But we need to know about what's really going on and this is -- this is our war, not just Obama's war. And you've been there, to Afghanistan. You've seen the troops and the Marines and the Navy and the Air Force. And they are making an incredible sacrifice for us. They're our surrogates.

And in our business, I would argue we owe them and the public the best obtainable version of the truth about what really goes on.

SAWYER: You publish -- for the first time in this kind of detail, there is a 3,000 member CIA team, primarily Afghan people, going back and forth across the border and basically creating a whole new front -- a covert front in this war?

WOODWARD: It's one of them. This is the -- called the CTPT -- Counter-Terrorist Pursuit Teams. It's a 3,000-man army run by the CIA. This is the classic secret army. They do a lot of work in Afghanistan, but they also do cross-border operations into Pakistan, which are incredibly sensitive. I don't go into where, when, how often. I've talked with people ---

SAWYER: Did anybody know you were going to publish this?


SAWYER: Did anybody in the government come to you and say don't do that?

WOODWARD: No, they didn't. I told them I was going to publish it and they said as long as you keep the details out -- there are people in the government who also think that the public needs to know about what's going on.

SAWYER: You also tell us about RTRG -- real-time regional getaway -- a brand new kind of technological ability?

WOODWARD: Yes. The NSA, that does the eavesdropping, communication intercepts, have, over the years, developed what is called this RTRG, real-time regional gateway, where they can pick up things in a way and process literally so the second day -- it's two days after Obama was elected president, the intel people went with him and said now we're going to tell you the real secrets. And this is one of them. And it is a fantastic capability. It helped us in Iraq. It helped us everywhere, because – and I do not go into the details or the wiring diagrams of how it works. But it is one of those game changers.

SAWYER: But, again, the devil's advocate here -- isn't that one of the things you don't want your enemy to know?

WOODWARD: They know because...

SAWYER: And now it's in writing?

WOODWARD: -- because look at what we're -- we do to them. And it's -- it is an amazing -- it's one of those transforming technological breakthroughs that doesn't just have to do with intelligence gathering. In the end, it's going to have to do with about -- with civilian communications and our capacity to assimilate, you know, literally libraries of data and collate it with other libraries of data.

SAWYER: I'd love to just run through and do a few portraits, if I can, of some of the people who are so instrumental in the -- the drama in the book.

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