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ProSense Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-09-06 10:19 AM
Original message
Secret Iraq Meeting Included Journalists

Secret Iraq Meeting Included Journalists


Fareed Zakaria of Newsweek said he attended a meeting convened by Paul D. Wolfowitz, but did not know that a report would be produced.

By JULIE BOSMAN
Published: October 9, 2006

It was the kind of shadowy, secret Washington meeting that Bob Woodward is fond of describing in detail. 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.

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.

Mr. Zakaria takes issue with Mr. Woodwards account, saying that while he attended the meeting for several hours, he does not recall being told that a report would be produced.

I thought it was a brainstorming session, he said. I was never told that there was going to be a document summarizing our views and I have never seen such a document. (Mr. Woodward wrote that the report, which supported the invasion of Iraq, caused Mr. Bush to focus on the malignancy of the Middle East situation.)

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MADem Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-09-06 10:26 AM
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1. Why was Fareed Z. attending a 'brainstorming session?'
You're either a journalist....or an employee.

Which is it, Fareed? Why were they picking your brains?

You either report the news, or you serve a government master. Don't ever even try to do both.

Shame, shame, shame on him.

Mr. Kaplan said much of the meeting was spent drafting and reworking the document, which in the end carried the names of all 12 participants and was a forceful summary of some of the best pro-war arguments at the time. Could any of the participants have been unaware there was a document in the making? No, thats not possible, he said.

Mr. Kaplan, who was then a freelancer at The Atlantic Monthly, said he spoke to his editor before attending, and was given approval to attend because everybody was in a patriotic fervor.

Mr. Zakaria said he felt participating was appropriate because his views, as a columnist for Newsweek, were public, although he has never divulged his involvement to his readers.

My column is an analytical column, he said, adding that he gives advice to policy makers and elected officials: If a senator calls me up and asks me what should we do in Iraq, Im happy to talk to him.

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Olney Blue Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-09-06 10:31 AM
Response to Reply #1
2. Is this the same concept as "embedding" journalists?
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karynnj Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-09-06 11:28 AM
Response to Reply #1
4. This was a way to co-opt the "pundits" as thoroughly as they
co-opted the journalists embedded with the army. They seduced what should have been a free media.
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chill_wind Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-09-06 11:59 AM
Response to Reply #1
5. Kaplan was called up plenty by Bush &Rice. Into the *Oval Office.*
Edited on Mon Oct-09-06 12:19 PM by chill_wind
According to this long narrative by Stanley Kutler (Washington Note) well down on the page near bottom....

http://www.thewashingtonnote.com/archives/week_2004_08_...

Handpicked and brought in to Bush in the Oval Office- by Rice.

If a senator calls me up and asks me what should we do in Iraq, Im happy to talk to him.

For him to imply that he confined his influence to Senators might seem a bit disingenuous.


"Kaplan, more than any other thinker or writer, is a modern day Machiavelli -- and I mean in the good sense -- trying to advise the prince on how best to conduct affairs of state in the broad self interest of the nation. I don't know about the number or frequency of other meetings between Bush and Kaplan, but I do know that there were other such sessions."


As for Stanley Kutler... that's an interesting commentary on both the role of journalist and the notion of something benign to be found in Machiavellanism... for a described "progressive" as Kutler ...

Kutler:
http://www.thenation.com/directory/bios/stanley_i_kutle...
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ProSense Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-09-06 06:25 PM
Response to Reply #1
7. Simply put, this is completely bizarre! n/t
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4morewars Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-09-06 10:51 AM
Response to Original message
3. Calling these people 'journalists' ...
is a bit of a stretch.

'Propagandist' might be a more accurate term.
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chill_wind Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-09-06 12:15 PM
Response to Original message
6. k&R nt
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ProSense Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-09-06 07:58 PM
Response to Original message
8. Did Secret Wolfowitz Meeting Violate Federal Advisory Committee Act?
Edited on Mon Oct-09-06 08:01 PM by ProSense
October 09, 2006

Did Secret Wolfowitz Meeting Violate Federal Advisory Committee Act?

The Federal Advisory Committee Act was enacted to formalize disclosure requirements and make transparent those who advise on federal government policy.

Vice President Cheney was in a substantial tug-of-war with the Legislative Branch and the Supreme Court for a while about not submitting to FACA and disclosing participants in an important advisory session he convened on national energy policy. But his refusal to submit did not make FACA disappear.

It seems to me that the secret advisory meeting called by Paul Wolfowitz on November 29, 2001 that brought various public intellectuals together to help marshall the best arguments for an Iraq invasion was possibly a violation of FACA.

This secret meeting was disclosed in Bob Woodward's new book State of Denial. No one has yet raised the question of whether this meeting was a violation of FACA rules.

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