Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein defended the press while discussing recent charges that the White House leaked classified national security information to the New York Times.
The White House is facing allegations that it deliberately leaked information to the paper to play up President Obama's record on national security. John McCain and several other legislators are demanding an investigation into the leaks, while the administration has vehemently denied the charges.
Woodward and Bernstein appeared on Sunday's "Face the Nation" to mark the 40th anniversary of Watergate, and weighed in on the controversy.
When asked what he made of the allegations, Bernstein cautioned against "creating a witch hunt" for sources and reporters. "Because now more than ever we need real reporting on this presidency, on national security, on all these areas," he said. "And the press is not the problem here." He added that there were laws in place to handle people who were leaking classified information.
Woodward agreed, asking, "was there real harm to the national security?" He continued, "And it’s very difficult, I know from doing stories like this, where you are dealing with sensitive government secrets, to modulate and be careful, at the same time hold the government accountable for what they’re doing."
"The record of the press, you know, is really quite good in protecting real genuine national security secrets which we often know about," Bernstein added.
For its part, the Times has defended its reporting. Managing editor Dean Baquet said he "would more easily understand the criticism if we did not examine Obama's role in drone strikes than the criticism that we did."
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