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Last Updated: Friday, 29 September 2006, 23:02 GMT 00:02 UK
Bush 'concealing Iraq violence'
By Justin Webb
BBC News, Washington

Bob Woodward

Veteran US journalist Bob Woodward has claimed that the true extent of insurgent attacks in Iraq has been hidden by the administration.

He makes the claim in a book, State of Denial, due to be released on Monday.

Mr Woodward has had better access to policymakers in the Bush White House than any other writer.

In a preview interview he also revealed that former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger has become a frequent adviser to President Bush.

State of Denial is a follow up to earlier volumes on the Bush White House which have contained a vivid detail of who said what to whom but have been largely uncritical of the President.

Indeed, they have been recommended as essential reading by Bush supporters.

The insurgents know what they're doing, they know the level of violence and how effective they are
Bob Woodward
This book appears to be much more challenging, with Bob Woodward making at least one eye-catching and politically damaging claim that the true extent of the violence in Iraq is being hidden.

"Now, there's public and then there's private, but what do they do with the private - they stamp it secret. No-one's supposed to know," Mr Woodward said.

He added that the insurgents knew how effective they were - but the US public did not.

Old hand

In response the White House compared the book to candyfloss that looks substantial but melts on contact.

The White House spokesman pointed out that Iraq casualty reports are public knowledge.

Still, the book is likely to sell well and certainly has a wealth of detailed information which the White House is not entirely denying.

Mr Woodward says he was stunned to be told by the Vice-President Dick Cheney that the veteran former Secretary of State, Henry Kissinger, -who served Presidents Nixon and Ford during the Vietnam war - was also serving President Bush.

"He's back. In fact Henry Kissinger is almost like a member of the family. If he is in town he can call up and if the President's free he will see him," Mr Woodward said.

He added that Mr Kissinger's message was that victory was the only meaningful exit strategy.

"So fascinating. Kissinger's fighting the Vietnam war again," Mr Woodward added.

The book which goes on sale here on Monday, is expected to be a bestseller.

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