Texas A&M Letter

Letter From the President of Texas A & M University Central-Texas to Len Colodny

Eulogy for Leonard Colodny

January 20, 1938 ~ July 2, 2021

-Writen by Robert Gettlin

How do you say goodbye to someone who truly changed the world?

How do you lay to rest a treasured friend, partner, and guide who burned so bright and was relentlessly strong, like a candle in the wind when the skies were dark and filled with storms, and he alone lighted the way?

What do you do when that flame burns out and the physical glow is no more?

These are the questions that have come back to me time and again in the weeks since Len died on July 2 at the age of 83.  He was a loving husband, father, and grandfather to his family, and an unflinching and loyal friend to so many from diverse backgrounds and views. And, of course, he was a brilliant analyst, an unstoppable investigator, and a bestselling author. He left us a rich and remarkable legacy that helps us understand pivotal and shattering events in our recent American story. His goal was to correct mistaken and misunderstood history, to unveil that which was hidden and to explain its meaning.

Len Colodny was a warrior for truth.

His great legacy that lives on is the trove of materials and records he bequeathed to Texas A&M University, and which are archived in the very appropriately named “Colodny Collection.” Len’s enduring wish was that others follow the path he began to carve, and there are indeed more than a few journalists, writers, and historians who will tell you that he encouraged them to do that, and that they blazed their own trails.

Len co-authored two groundbreaking books, one a national bestseller – Silent Coup: The Removal of a President, published in 1991. That book was a game changer, like Len himself. And because of that book we better understand what actually happened in the Watergate saga and in the complicated tragedy of Richard Nixon’s presidency. Read more--

In Memory of Leonard Colodny, 1938-2021.

All donations support the operations of the Central Texas Historical Archive at Texas A&M University - Central Texas, which houses the Colodny Collection

Len was a New York Times bestselling author, political analyst, and investigator. His research and writing on Watergate and the Nixon Administration was groundbreaking.

Visit the link below to donate in memory of Leonard Colodny:


From the Military’s Lips to Your Ears: A Trip Through the Reporting of Bob Woodward

By Ray Locker

Key leaders of the military have serious reservations about the mental stability of President Donald Trump, leading them to leak wildly to author Bob Woodward, according to stories in his latest book, "Fear."

The initial reports about the book indicate a military in virtual rebellion against Trump, disregarding his orders about attacking Syrian President Bashar Assad.

The players most prominently mentioned in Woodward’s book — White House Chief of Staff John Kelly and Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, both former Marine generals — made the routine denials of cooperating with Woodward, but their connections are clear.

Both played dramatic roles in anecdotes involving them and few other people. Both had been reported as saying similar things in other media reports. Both followed the pattern established in other Woodward books of telling stories that reflected badly on elected officials, but well on the military.

In a Jan 19, 2018 National Security Council meeting, Woodward reported, Trump downgraded the importance of the U.S. military presence in South Korea and questioned why the United States was spending money there at all. “We’re doing this in order to prevent World War III,” Mattis told him.

Kelly often lost his temper and called Trump “unhinged,” Woodward wrote. “He’s an idiot,” Kelly said, according to Woodward. “It’s pointless to try to convince him of anything. He’s gone off the rails. We’re in Crazytown. I don’t even know why any of us are here. This is the worst job I’ve ever had.”

Woodward, a former Navy officer with one of the military’s highest security clearances, has gone to this well often, for example:

  • In The "Final Days", his book with Carl Bernstein about the end of Richard Nixon’s presidency, Defense Secretary James Schlesinger instructed the military units around Washington to stand down in case Nixon sought to deploy them to remain in power as Congress tried to impeach him.
  • Military leaders groused about President George H.W. Bush’s plans to invade Panama in 1989 in conversations in Pentagon featured in "The Commanders", his 1991 book about military leaders.
  • The brass praised and then pilloried President George W. Bush’s invasion of Iraq in 2003 and then his botched handling of the occupation in Woodward’s series of books about the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
  • Someone in the Pentagon gave Woodward the Afghanistan war recommendations from General Stanley McChrystal in 2009, a leak that altered the course of President Barack Obama’s war planning.

Each time, those suspected of talking to Woodward denied doing so, but that’s what Woodward allows his sources to do. He lets them talk and usually gets them to disparage the civilian leadership.

As the "New York Times" review of "Fear" said: “Fear is a typical Woodward book in that named sources for scenes, thoughts and quotations appear only sometimes. Woodward has never been a graceful writer, but the prose here is unusually wooden. It’s as if he wants to make a statement that, at this historical juncture, simple factual pine-board competence should suffice.”

This reflects his military career that ended with a stint delivering Top Secret messages from the Pentagon, where he worked for the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, to the White House. There, as reported by Jim Hougan in "Secret Agenda" and Len Colodny and Robert Gettlin in "Silent Coup", he briefed Alexander Haig about daily military developments.

Haig was then Nixon’s Deputy National Security Adviser. Four sources, including Moorer and Defense Secretary Melvin Laird, told Colodny and Gettlin that Woodward briefed Haig, who later turned into one of Woodward’s best sources.

Woodward says for "Fear" he recorded all of his interviews, although we will most likely never hear them or read the transcripts. We have to trust him that he is telling the truth, which can be a tricky proposition. The interview notes he took while working on his first book, "All the President’s Men", show that he quoted one source, the legendary “Deep Throat,” telling him things that the notes indicate he never said.

In "Fear", the issue is not whether Woodward’s sources told him the truth. It’s that the military is in rebellion against the president and using Woodward again to uncritically parrot their words without providing any deeper analysis. "Fear" shows an out-of-control president courtesy of military sources who know their old friend Bob Woodward will take care of them.

Bob Woodward’s Secret. Shouldn’t He Have Disclosed It?

“Woodward's lack of disclosure calls into question every story he has ever pitched, edited or written.” - By Ray Locker and Len Colodny

On January 12, 1974, the nation's hottest young reporting duo had a story on the front page of the Washington Post that had tremendous national security and political ramifications: the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff was receiving secrets stolen from the White House.

Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein had the story, based on Woodward’s sources. It came at a difficult time for the White House, as President Nixon was spiraling toward resignation.

But, despite the story's potential impact, Post readers only knew part of the story. They did not know, because Woodward did not tell them, that he was writing about his former boss and a longtime associate and patron during the time he served in the Navy. (He began working at the Post just one year after leaving the Navy.)

Woodward-Haig Connection

Bob Woodward lied* to conceal his early ties to General Alexander Haig. In 1969 and 1970, Navy Lt. Bob Woodward manned the Pentagon's secret communications room, which transmitted messages around the world, including the back channel communications for Henry Kissinger and President Richard Nixon. In that duty, Woodward often delivered messages from the worlds top leaders to Gen. Alexander Haig, Kissinger's deputy at the National Security Council.

"I never met or talked to Haig until sometime in the Spring of '73." (Woodward interview with authors 03/06/1989)

Why is this significant:

This relationship is critical to the Watergate scandal, as Haig was the key source for Woodward on his most important story, that there were "deliberate erasures" on a critical Nixon White House tape. Woodward - Haig Connection

"Deep Throat" Used to Hide Haig: "Deliberate Erasures" on White House Tape

deepthroatAlexander Haig, White House Chief of Staff, May 4, 1973. (UPI/Bettmann)What was Concealed:
Woodward, by using "Throat", is concealing the person that actually erased the tape or at the very least witnessed it being erased.

Why This Is Significant:

Colodny tells Woodward in the interview transcript below: "the word that jumps out at you is deliberate. Because if somebody is deliberately erasing tapes that are before Judge Sirica, we're talking about a crime."

It is significant because, if for "Throat" to know it was deliberate, he either erased the tape or witnessed its destruction. It is clear that both the process of elimination and Woodward's changing story about "Throat" as a source, that Alexander Haig is the source that told him that there were deliberate erasures on the White House tapes.


Listen to and read the 4-minute excerpt from the EXCLUSIVE Interview with Bob Woodward, March 6, 1989

Listen to an Excerpt of the Exclusive Interview with Bob Woodward

"Silent Coup, The Removal of a President"

"Silent Coup, The Removal of a President" BookSILENT COUP is the excavation of some vital of some vital hidden history, of a national scandal within a scandal, and of a literary-journalistic atrocity of revealing while concealing.

There are several virtues that make this book quite remarkable among political writing of our era. What follows is a finely styled, fast-paced narrative, gripping as it is disturbing. Distinguished from so much written about Watergate and Richard Nixon, it also happens to be true.

You are about to read the story of a coup d’état, of all political events the most dramatic, suspenseful, sinister. To make the subject even more ominous, this is an American coup, albeit carried out (for a change) in the United States itself.

- Roger Morris, former National Security Council Staff Member under Henry Kissinger

More (Includes the Update)

"The Forty Years War" Introduces Fritz G.A. Kraemer

forty year war bookThe Forty Years War” introduces you to the most important foreign policy thinker you never heard of: Fritz G.A. Kraemer. Kraemer is the father of the "provocative weakness theory," more popularly called by Neocons as "peace through strength."

Kraemer believed that power came from military strength and that any sign of weakening military resolve invited trouble from our rivals.

President Ronald Reagan first adopted Kraemer's theory in 1981, and it has been a force ever since.

"A rigorous and critical examination of the neoconservative movement and the bureaucratic, ideological battles over American foreign policy.

Highly recommended" - Library Journal

More (Includes the Update)