Kalamalama: With Uncovered you’ve done something that
is potentially damaging to the Bush administration. Did you
receive any resistance?
Greenwald: Bush himself, and Cheney, and Rumsfeld refused to
Kalamalama: Oh, so you had contacted them?
Greenwald: Oh, sure. We had sent them an interview [query],
and they answered back that they weren’t going to participate,
but we certainly . . . felt that this is such an important
issue—the way information was misused and distorted that
. . . it was their obligation as citizens in a democracy to
Kalamalama: Who else refused to be interviewed?
Greenwald: Condoleezza Rice, Colin Powell, Richard Pearle,
Kalamalama: Were you surprised by the reaction you received
from your interviewees?
Greenwald: I was very surprised at how articulate, passionate,
and patriotic I found—particularly the CIA folks—to
be. I had a little bit of a cliché in my mind about
CIA guys being bad, and I met some wonderful human beings who
really defined patriotism in a very personal and very important
manner, and they flipped my prejudices on their heads.
Kalamalama: In your DVD interview you say that you had two
shifts of workers, working 24/7, and that you are telling two
stories side by side: one of the changes in rhetoric of the
Bush administration, and the other of the analyst’s stories.
Someone not knowing a lot about how a film is made could say, “Oh,
I see what’s going on: They took footage X, and spliced
it with footage Y.”
[Mr. Greenwald laughs]
Kalamalama: What was so time or labor intensive that required
this 24/7 production schedule?
Greenwald: Well, first of all, as in any documentary, selection
is part of the process. If you look back at the number of hours
that Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Condoleezza Rice, and Powell were
on television, and recorded, there’re probably hundreds
or thousands of hours. We had to cull through their public
statements and their being recorded by television, and on top
of that, all the interviews, to narrow the story down to 30
That’s a huge amount of searching, and looking, and reading,
and viewing, to figure out what are the key points, and once
we decided what are the key points, which is the best footage
that tells the story of the Bush administration’s reason
Having found that, then we needed to cull through the interviews
and juxtapose [footage of the administration] with [what our]
interviewees had said. I might have had a brilliant interview,
but I couldn’t put it up if it didn’t relate to
something that one of the Bushies said.
Kalamalama: How did you originally get the idea to contact
these people for the interviews?
Greenwald: Well, I had heard about [former CIA analyst] Ray
McGovern and his group (Veteran Intelligence Professionals
for Sanity), and the CIA guys, and I thought it was just fascinating
that these CIA guys were coming out against the misuse of information,
and I wanted to talk to these people. I was curious, and I
thought if some of them would agree to talk, they would make
a wonderful counterpoint because—as always in these things—you’re
looking for credibility, and professionalism, and expertise.
So that was the beginning, and then I had read about Ambassador
Wilson, and heard about some of those people who had resigned.
So I was only going after people who had experience with the
corridors of power, and then through some people I’d
read about in the newspaper—Ray McGovern gave me a bunch
of names. Ambassador Wilson gave me a bunch of names—one
name would lead to another.
Kalamalama: Mel Goodman (of Veteran Intelligence Professionals
for Sanity) frames the movie quite specifically by saying, “The
Bush administration made up its mind to go to war on Sept.
11, 2001.” Was there any footage that you didn’t
use (for whatever reason) that suggested that the Bush administration
wanted to go into Iraq prior to Sept. 11th? I’m thinking
of things like the NeoCon document “Project for a New
American Century,” or some of the recent revelations
by former Treasury Secretary Paul O’Neil, who claims
that Bush had his eyes set on Hussein from the beginning of
Greenwald: There was no smoking gun, but the experts were all
in agreement that [the war with Iraq] was a function of Neo-Conservative
philosophy (i.e., “Project For a New American Century”)
and that they had a policy, and that they went looking for
evidence to support that policy.