In his new book, “State of Denial,” he writes that on Nov. 29, 2001, a dozen policy makers, Middle East experts and members of influential policy research organizations gathered in Virginia at the request of Paul D. Wolfowitz, then the deputy secretary of defense. Their objective was to produce a report for President Bush and his cabinet outlining a strategy for dealing with Afghanistan and the Middle East in the aftermath of 9/11.As Laura Rozen states:
What was more unusual, Mr. Woodward reveals, was the presence of journalists at the meeting. Fareed Zakaria, the editor of Newsweek International and a Newsweek columnist, and Robert D. Kaplan, now a national correspondent for The Atlantic Monthly, attended the meeting and, according to Mr. Kaplan, signed confidentiality agreements not to discuss what happened.
While members of policy research groups often dispense advice to administration officials, journalists do not typically attend secret meetings or help compile government reports. Indeed, many Washington journalists complain that the current administration keeps them at an unhealthy distance.
Kaplan says he had the approval of his Atlantic Monthly editor, the deceased Michael Kelley. Zakaria says he didn't realize a report was being produced from the meeting. Still. That doesn't seem to answer the real issue, that someone identified as an independent journalist would agree to help a Pentagon official brainstorm on how to sell a war, and would agree to not disclose their involvement.