The Washington Post's Bob Woodward said on Wednesday that a "very senior" White House official threatened him over his continued public disagreements with the Obama administration. BuzzFeed later reported that the official was Gene Sperling, who heads President Obama's White House Economic Council.
Woodward has repeatedly accused the White House of "moving the goal posts" in the fight over the looming budget sequester. He has been challenged on the facts of his assertions many times, but has not strayed from his claims.
Speaking to Wolf Blitzer on Wednesday, Woodward described a tense series of exchanges he had with the White House.
"Well, they're not happy at all, and some people kind of, you know, said, look, we don't see eye to eye on this," Woodward said. "They've said that this is factually wrong, and it was said to me in an e-mail by a top --"
"What was said?" Blitzer prodded. "It was said very clearly, you will regret doing this," Woodward said.
"Who sent that e-mail to you?" Blitzer asked. "Well, I'm not going to say," Woodward said.
"Was it a senior person at the White House?" Blitzer asked.
"A very senior person," Woodward said. "It makes me very uncomfortable to have the White House telling reporters, you're going to regret doing something that you believe in."
Woodward also spoke to Politico, and read out part of the email. He said he had been "yelled at" for about 30 minutes, and that the official wrote, “I apologize for raising my voice in our conversation today. You’re focusing on a few specific trees that give a very wrong impression of the forest. But perhaps we will just not see eye to eye here. … I think you will regret staking out that claim.”
BuzzFeed's Ben Smith wrote Wednesday night that the official was Sperling.
"Officials often threaten reporters that they will 'regret' printing something that is untrue, but Woodward took the remark as a threat," Smith wrote.
Note: this post has been updated to include the information from BuzzFeed.