Sophia Casey Blasts Bob Woodward’s Account Of Her Husband
ROSLYN HARBOR, N.Y. (AP) _ The widow of CIA Director William Casey doubts claims that her husband knew of a diversion of money to the Contras and called ″absolute blasphemy″ a report that he had criticized President Reagan as ″lazy and distracted.″
″He’s lying about that,″ Sophia Casey said Sunday of journalist Bob Woodward’s account of an interview with the hospitalized Casey, in which the CIA director reportedly acknowledged knowing about the diversion.
Woodward said he stood by his story.
Mrs. Casey called her husband ″a team player″ and ″a great patriot who would never do anything to harm his president.″
Woodward said in his forthcoming book, ″Veil: The Secret Wars of the CIA,″ that Casey told him on his sickbed he knew about the diversion of funds obtained from arms sales to the Iranians. The money went to the Contra rebels seeking to overthrow the leftist Nicaraguan government.
Mrs. Casey, who lives in this Long Island town, said she doubted her husband knew about the diversion, but she never discussed it with him and ″can’t be sure either.″
Mrs. Casey also challenged Woodward’s depiction of her husband as a man who ″found (President) Reagan strange″ and felt that Reagan seemed to be ″lazy and distracted.″
″It’s absolute blasphemy. My husband loved the president,″ she said, adding that she was outraged when she read Woodward had written that her husband was ″struck by the overall passivity of the president.″
″Bill would never say that about the president. Bill loved Reagan and they were very close,″ she said. ″It’s been very hurtful. It is terrible for the family. You can imagine how Reagan feels.″
Casey died May 6 of pneumonia after suffering from brain cancer.
U.S. News & World Report, which obtained an advance copy of the book published by Simon & Schuster, said Woodward visited Casey in the hospital ″and asked, almost rhetorically, whether he knew all along about the Contra diversion.″
″Casey nodded a frail yes,″ according to the magazine’s account of Woodward’s book.
But Mrs. Casey said she is confident that Woodward never got to Casey on his sickbed.
″He was never in the hospital,″ she said. ″I am refuting that Bob Woodward got into the hospital to see Mr. Casey.″
Woodward, an assistant managing editor at The Washington Post, issued a one-sentence statement through the newspaper Sunday, saying of the hospital visit, ″I stand behind that and everything in the book.″
She said family members were with Casey constantly when he was hospitalized in Washington and on Long Island and that Secret Service security officers were posted around the clock at his bedroom door and by the elevator.
After hearing news reports about the book, Mrs. Casey said, she checked with CIA security officials and was told that records show that ″on January 22, Bob Woodward got in and was caught by security and was thrown out″ before he got to Casey’s room.
Mrs. Casey said her husband’s voice at the time of the alleged interview was barely audible.
Mrs. Casey said she was disappointed that Woodward depicted himself in the book as a friend of her husband.
″Woodward was not a friend of Bill’s. He was a Washington acquaintance. It’s so completely false,″ she said, adding that she had not yet seen the book.
″They had nothing in common,″ she said of Casey and Woodward.
Still, Mrs. Casey said she could not shed any light on what her husband knew when he directed the CIA.
″I knew nothing about his government life,″ she said. ″It was very secretive and he would never tell me.″
Mrs. Casey said that next week she will send $130,000 from the Casey Fund for the Nicaraguan Freedom Fighters to the Contras. She started the fund days after Casey’s death because she said the subject was important to her husband.