Behind the Book
In the reporting of this book, Philip Zelikow, the commission’s executive director, declined a face-to-face interview when I first approached him in January 2007. He recommended instead that the interview be conducted by email, which he thought might allow for a more thoughtful exchange. I was pleased with the results, and I am grateful to Dr. Zelikow for taking so much time to answer so many questions. This is virtually the entire exchange between us. I have X’d out one name in our exchanges from late January 2007. That person, whose name was raised by Dr. Zelikow, is incidental to my reporting, and I saw no reason to violate that person’s privacy. There are a few other names offered with reference to their roles – Benjamin Rhodes was a deputy to Lee Hamilton, the commission’s vice chairman, at the Wilson Center; Christopher Kojm was the deputy executive of the commission and another former Hamilton aide; Ernest May is a professor of history at Harvard University and was a consultant to the 9/11 commission. Dr. Zelikow was still at the State Department, as counselor to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, when I began this exchange, which explains the early references to the department. He was just about to return to the University of Virginia. “Pillar” refers to Paul Pillar, a retired senior CIA analyst who wrote a blistering attack on the 9/11 commission for the magazine Intelligence and National Security, published in its December 2006 issue. The article was entitled, “Good literature and bad history: The 9/11 commission’s tale of strategic intelligence.”
To read the email exchanges between the author and Philip Zelikow, executive director of the 9/11 commission, download the pdf.