Bush Administration Besieged by Critical Books

NPR Senior News Analyst Daniel Schorr comments on the "tell all" books written by former government officials venting their anger at the Bush administration.

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DAN SCHORR: Some call it kiss and tell; some call it whistleblowing, but over the years there's been an increasing tendency for aggrieved officials to strike back with books venting their anger at the Bush administration.

AUDIE CORNISH, host:

NPR senior news analyst Daniel Schorr.

SCHORR: I remember the spate of books unleashed by Watergate - John Dean, Charles Colson, Haldeman, Ehrlichman, to name a few. They pointed fingers at each other and at Nixon for conspiracy to undermine the rule of law. But it could be said that the wages of sin are royalties.

And now the Bush White House, which has been besieged by at least five critical books. First came former Secretary of Treasury Paul O'Neill, who unloaded to author Ron Suskind in a book titled "The Price of Loyalty." He described President Bush as bent on an invasion of Iraq, and likened his behavior in cabinet meetings to a blind man in a room full of deaf people.

Then there was Richard Clarke. He was chief counterterrorism advisor until 2003. His book, "Against All Enemies," says that by invading Iraq Bush handed the enemy precisely what it wanted.

George Tenet, CIA director in 2004, attacked Bush's inner circle of men who he said were obsessed with Iraq in his book, "At the Center of the Storm." Douglas Fife, undersecretary of defense until 2005, in his book "War and Decision," portrayed Bush as too tolerant of indiscipline, even disloyalty among his aides.

So now Scott McClellan, press secretary until 2006, in his book "What Happened," describing a dishonest propaganda campaign intended to maintain support for the invasion of Iraq.

It must be pretty tense around the White House water cooler these days, as presidential aides ask each other whether they have tell-all or tell-some books in the works.

This is Daniel Schorr.

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