Editor's Note: This article was originally published on October 26. Given Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld's resignation, it is being republished.
When people are gossiping in the real world out there, they usually tend to exchange some juicy buzz about the rich and the famous, like the latest love affair of this Hollywood star or that famous athlete. Mix a little bit of sex with money, drugs and a few revealing pics and the new issue of People magazine is on its way to the newsstand.
But in the capital of the world's only remaining superpower, tongue wagging can be quite a bit more consequential, and the gossip contained in Bob Woodward's new book, State of Denial, delivers an implicit prophecy of post-electoral Washington. In the run-up to the elections, there is much speculation about the future power balance on the Hill. Amid this speculation is a clear augury of relative importance, if one interprets the message of Woodward's sources.
In Washington we get titillated by a different kind of gossip. After all, can you imagine The Globe or Hello! Magazine revealing to their readers that "Rumsfeld and Powell disagreed violently on whether the NIE about the WMD, and in particular the ROCKSTAR intelligence, which included the GPS coordinates of the new air defense sites, provided by the NSA's tactical SINGNIT packages and SSO communications (and which were authenticated during the CENTCOM briefing) should be discussed in the Principals Meeting at the White House." But, hey, isn't that a little bit more exciting than the latest dirt on Tom Cruise, Katie Holmes and Baby Suri?