Richard Holbrooke created a stir, on 28 July 2010, during a House subcommittee hearing on civilian aid to Afghanistan.

Recalling the recent leak of military documents on the Wikileaks website, President Obama’s Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan professed to be one of the authors of the Pentagon Papers.

The voluminous document, originally entitled United States–Vietnam Relations, 1945–1967 : A Study Prepared by the Department of Defense, had been envisaged for internal use. In 1971, it was sent to Daniel Ellsberg of the New York Times who published it, thereby disclosing the subterfuges of the Johnson Administration to submerge the United States in the war.

In 1967-68, when the Pentagon Papers were drafted, Richard Holbrooke belonged to a unit supervised by Robert Komer within the National Security Council. It was responsible for the covert operations conducted in Vietnam, mainly those involving political assassinations.