Carol D. Leonnig

Carol Duhurst Leonnig is an American investigative journalist. Leonnig has been a staff writer at The Washington Post since 2000, and was part of a team of national security reporters that won the 2014 Pulitzer Prize for Public Service. The Post team's prize was for reporting that revealed the NSA's expanded spying on Americans.

Carol Duhurst Leonnig
Leonnig at the 2018 Pulitzer Prizes
Carol Duhurst Leonnig

c. 1966
Alma materBryn Mawr College[1]
Notable credit(s)
Washington Post,
Charlotte Observer,
Philadelphia Inquirer
Spouse(s)John Reeder[1]
Awards2015 Pulitzer Prize for National Reporting[2]
2014 Pulitzer Prize for Public Service[3]
2014 George Polk Award for investigative reporting[4]

Early life

Leonnig is a native of Upper Marlboro in Prince George's County, Maryland. "As the daughter of two attorneys, she knows how to make a good argument but is not the argumentative type. Credit goes to her mother, Dolly, for instilling the good manners that continue to serve her well even with the most hardened of Washington insiders."[1] She graduated from Bryn Mawr in 1987.[1]


Her first reporting job was in 1989 at The Philadelphia Inquirer.[5] She later became a staff writer for The Charlotte Observer, where she first reported on city government, later moved to cover the state legislature and eventually became the paper's Washington correspondent. During her time at the Observer, she was a lead reporter on several investigative projects, including one involving Bank of America's use of federal funds to raze low-income housing near its corporate headquarters and another uncovering that Gov. Jim Hunt personally directed state funds to be used to build a major bridge in his rural hometown. Hunt apologized and cancelled the project after the story about his involvement was published.[6]

The Washington Post

At The Washington Post, Leonnig first covered the District of Columbia city government and its continuing problems with corruption, and then spent five years covering the federal courts in Washington. Having reported on the Bush administration and issues surrounding detainees imprisoned indefinitely at the Guantanamo Bay detention camp, she now writes for the Post's National Desk as part of a team investigating public officials, federal agencies and government accountability.

She has done numerous radio and television interviews, including National Public Radio, The NewsHour With Jim Lehrer,[5][7] Fox News, and MSNBC.[8] Her coverage of the Bush administration has been cited in many books on the subject.[9][10][11]

In 2011, Leonnig and her Post colleague Joe Stephens revealed in a series of stories how the Obama administration pressed to approve a $535 million federal loan to Solyndra, a solar panel manufacturer whose leading investors were tied to a major Obama fundraiser. Their stories were the first to document how White House aides for the senior-most White House advisers pressured Office of Management and Budget officials to make a decision on approving the Solyndra loan in time for a press conference they had tentatively scheduled for the Vice President to announce the funding. The company was one President Obama himself touted in a high-profile visit in 2010, shortly after independent auditors raised concern about whether Solyndra was financially strong enough to remain a going concern. [12]


In 2018 Leonnig was part of the team that won the Pulitzer Prize for national reporting as a contributor to 10 stories on the investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 election with the Washington Post.[13]

In 2015, Leonnig won the Pulitzer Prize for national reporting "for her smart, persistent coverage of the Secret Service, its security lapses and the ways in which the agency neglected its vital task: the protection of the President of the United States."[2]

The Washington Post received the 2014 Pulitzer Prize for Public Service for its coverage of the National Security Agency's expanded surveillance of everyday Americans based on former NSA contractor Edward Snowden's disclosures. Leonnig was part of the reporting team whose six months of revelatory work exposed the government's secret collection of records for all Americans' phone calls and electronic communications. The team also uncovered how a secret court had authorized much of the communication collection under secret law. Despite President Obama's claims that the court provided a key check on the NSA's spying power, The Post team revealed how the court's top judges had belatedly learned that the NSA had been violating the court's rules to protect innocent individuals' privacy for years—in fact, from the day the surveillance programs began. The court's chief judge later acknowledged to the Post it had no way to check the NSA's claims that it was properly safeguarding privacy.[3]

Also in 2014, Leonnig was a winner of the George Polk Award for investigative reporting,[4] given by Long Island University, for her 2013 work uncovering a bribery scandal involving Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell. Along with fellow winners and Post colleagues Rosalind Helderman and Laura Vozzella, Leonnig helped reveal roughly $165,000 in luxury gifts and loans that McDonnell and First Lady Maureen McDonnell received from a prominent Richmond businessman and the couple's effort to use state levers to help their patron's business. Revelations about the series of gifts in exchange for official acts led to the McDonnells' criminal indictment in January 2014.

In 2005, Leonnig was part of a seven-person team that won the Selden Ring Award for Investigative Reporting given by the Annenberg School for Communication at the University of Southern California for a series of articles that uncovered unhealthy levels of lead in the drinking water in Washington, D.C. and problems with reporting water quality across the U.S.[14][15]

She is also a former Paul Miller Washington Reporting Fellow.[16]


  1. ^ a b c d DiGiacomo, Robert. "How to Win a Pulitzer". Bryn Mawr Alumni. Retrieved 2 August 2017.
  2. ^ a b "The 2015 Pulitzer Prize Winners: National Reporting". The Pulitzer Prizes. Retrieved 2 September 2015.
  3. ^ a b Farhi, Paul (April 14, 2014). "Washington Post wins Pulitzer Prize for NSA spying revelations". The Washington Post.
  4. ^ a b Blake, Aaron (16 February 2014). Washington Post journalists win Polk awards. Washington Post. |access-date= requires |url= (help)
  5. ^ a b Scanlan, Chip (May 4, 2007). "Triple Threat at the Libby Trial". Chip on Your Shoulder. The Poynter Institute. Retrieved November 7, 2007.
  6. ^ Sack, Kevin (Jan 14, 1998). "A Road Building Scandal Forces a Governor's Hand". The New York Times.
  7. ^ Smith, Terence (2005-09-30). "Jailed Journalist Testifies". The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer. The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer. Retrieved 2007-11-07.
  8. ^ Meier, Randy. "Woodward says he knew CIA agent's name: Washington Post's Carol Leonnig talks to MSNBC-TV's Randy Meier about Bob Woodward's testimony that an unnamed official told him about Valeria Plame in mid-June, 2003". MSNBC. Retrieved 2007-11-07.
  9. ^ Wheeler, Marcy (2007-01-25). Anatomy of Deceit: How the Bush Administration Used the Media to Sell the Iraq War and Out a Spy. Vaster Books. p. 167. ISBN 0-9791761-0-7.
  10. ^ Rich, Frank (2006-09-19). The Greatest Story Ever Sold: The Decline and Fall of Truth from 9/11 to Katrina. The Penguin Press HC. p. 326. ISBN 1-59420-098-X.
  11. ^ Harbury, Jennifer K. (2005-09-15). Truth, Torture, and the American Way: The History and Consequences of U.S. Involvement in Torture. Beacon Press. p. 197. ISBN 0-8070-0307-7.
  12. ^ Stephens, Joe; Leonnig, Carol D. (13 September 2011). "Solyndra loan: White House pressed on review of solar company now under investigation". Washington Post. Retrieved 24 April 2012.
  13. ^ Farhi, Paul (16 April 2018). "The Washington Post wins 2 Pulitzer Prizes for reporting on Russian interference and the Senate race in Alabama". Washington Post. Retrieved 16 April 2018.
  14. ^ "Alum Wins Investigative Reporting Award with Post Team". University of Maryland, College Park. 2005-02-25. Archived from the original on September 12, 2006. Retrieved 2007-11-07.
  15. ^ "HONORS". The Washington Post. February 23, 2005.
  16. ^ "The Regional Reporter". Regional Reporters Association. April 1998. Retrieved 2007-11-07.

External links

2011 White House shooting

The 2011 White House shooting occurred on November 11, 2011, when Oscar Ramiro Ortega-Hernandez, an unemployed 21-year-old man, fired a semi-automatic rifle at the White House, the official residence of the U.S. President in Washington, D.C. At least seven bullets hit the second floor. Neither the president nor First Lady Michelle Obama were home at the time, although their youngest daughter, Sasha, and the first lady's mother, Marian Shields Robinson, were. No one was injured. It took four days for the Secret Service to realize that bullets had struck the White House. Michelle Obama learned of the shooting from an usher, then summoned Mark J. Sullivan, director of the Secret Service, to find out why the first family had not been informed.

In September 2013, Ortega-Hernandez pleaded guilty to one count of property destruction and one count of discharging a firearm during a crime of violence, thereby avoiding the charge of attempting to assassinate the President. In March 2014, he was sentenced to 25 years' imprisonment. In September 2014, The Washington Post published an investigative report detailing errors that the Secret Service made on the night of the shooting that led to the crime going undiscovered. A House of Representatives hearing followed and Julia Pierson, director of the Secret Service, resigned the following week. It was the first shooting at the White House since Francisco Martin Duran's attempted assassination of President Bill Clinton in 1994.

6th Summit of the Americas

The sixth Summit of the Americas (Spanish: VI Cumbre de las Américas) was held at Cartagena, Colombia, on April 14–15, 2012. The central theme of the summit was "Connecting the Americas: Partners for Prosperity." The main issues at the summit's agenda was the exclusion of Cuba, the legalisation of drugs to fight the War on Drugs and Argentina's sovereignty claims over the Falkland Islands. Additionally, criticism of an expansionist monetary policy was also leveled on the developed economies. A final statement was not forthcoming over the issue of Cuba's inclusion in the next summit which was supported by all states except the United States and Canada, who refuse the southern support. However, the 7th Summit of the Americas was chosen to be held in Panama.

David H. Remes

David H. Remes (born 1954) is an American lawyer.Remes was a partner at the law firm Covington & Burling. Most recently, Remes was "Counsel" at the Washington, DC law firm Gilbert LLP. Remes has been recognized for his human rights work.

Douglas Jemal

Douglas Jemal (born 1942) is a real estate developer, landlord, and the founder of Douglas Development.

Global surveillance whistleblowers

Global surveillance whistleblowers are whistleblowers who provided public knowledge of global surveillance.

Huma Abedin

Huma Mahmood Abedin (born July 28, 1976) is an American political staffer who was vice chair of Hillary Clinton's 2016 campaign for President of the United States. Prior to that, Abedin was deputy chief of staff to Clinton, who was U.S. Secretary of State from 2009 to 2013. She was also the traveling chief of staff and former assistant for Clinton during Clinton's campaign for the Democratic nomination in the 2008 presidential election.During Hillary Clinton's tenure at the State Department and her presidential campaign, Abedin became one of her closest aides. Her high-profile political career has led her personal life to come under public scrutiny over the years, particularly her marriage to former disgraced congressman Anthony Weiner, whom she divorced in 2017.

Joe Stephens (journalist)

Joe Stephens is an American journalist for the Washington Post, and holds the Ferris professorship in journalism at Princeton University. He is a native of Ohio and attended Miami University. He was an investigative projects reporter at the Kansas City Star before joining the Post in 1999.

List of trips funded by Jack Abramoff

The following is a list of trips for politicians, lobbyists, and staffers funded by Jack Abramoff.

The picture at right (taken at Carnoustie) for the trip to St. Andrews, the famed Scottish golf course. This trip was paid for by Abramoff at a cost of $160,000. Congressman Bob Ney's then chief of staff, William Heaton, admitted "falsifying his and Ney's financial disclosure forms in 2002 and 2003 to keep gifts secret. For example, Ney's forms said the Scotland trip was paid for by the National Center for Public Policy Research so he could meet with Scottish parliamentarians, though the Scottish Parliament was not in session...."

Madigan Army Medical Center

Madigan Army Medical Center, located on Joint Base Lewis-McChord just outside Lakewood, Washington, is a key component of the Madigan Healthcare System and one of the largest military hospitals on the West Coast of the United States.

The hospital was named in honor of Colonel Patrick S. Madigan, an assistant to the U.S. Army Surgeon General from 1940 to 1943 who was also known as "The Father of Army Neuropsychiatry." On September 22, 1944, Madigan General Hospital was named in his honor.

The hospital today is a 205-bed Joint Commission-accredited facility, expandable to 318 beds in the event of a disaster. Major services include general medical and surgical care, adult and pediatric primary care clinics, 24-hour Emergency department, specialty clinics, clinical services, wellness and prevention services, veterinary care, and environmental health services.

Madigan Army Medical Center received designation as a level 2 trauma center by the Washington State Department of Health in 1995, and has maintained level 2 status to the present day. Madigan Army Medical Center is one of three designated trauma centers in United States Army Medical Department (AMEDD). In 1999, Madigan became the second military hospital to ever receive a perfect score of "100" from Joint Commission.

Construction of the current facility was completed in the early 1990s. Prior to the opening of the building, the hospital consisted of a network of connected single-story buildings that are still utilized by Madigan Army Medical Center.

National Archives and Records Administration

The National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) is an independent agency of the United States government charged with preserving and documenting government and historical records and with increasing public access to those documents, which comprise the National Archives. NARA is officially responsible for maintaining and publishing the legally authentic and authoritative copies of acts of Congress, presidential directives, and federal regulations. The NARA also transmits votes of the Electoral College to Congress.

Office for the Administrative Review of the Detention of Enemy Combatants

The Office for the Administrative Review of the Detention of Enemy Combatants, established in 2004 by the Bush administration's Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz, is a United States military body responsible for organising Combatant Status Review Tribunals (CSRT) for captives held in extrajudicial detention at the Guantanamo Bay detention camps in Cuba and annual Administrative Review Boards to review the threat level posed by deemed enemy combatants in order to make recommendations as to whether the U.S. needs to continue to hold them captive.Most of the Guantanamo captives have had two Administrative Review Board hearings convened to review their continued detention. On June 22, 2007, an appeal on behalf of Guantanamo captive Fawzi al-Odah contained an affidavit from Stephen Abraham, a lawyer and United States Army reserve officer, which was highly critical of OARDEC's procedures.According to the Washington Post Abraham felt compelled to come forward after hearing his former boss, Rear Admiral James M. McGarrah call the Tribunal process "fair".

Patrick M. McCarthy

Patrick M. McCarthy is a retired American lawyer and officer in the United States Navy.

He was appointed Commander on July 12, 2001.

He was appointed Captain on May 23, 2006.Captain McCarthy was Staff Judge Advocate in Okinawa, Japan from November 1992 until July 1995, legal advisor to the Commandant of Midshipmen at the United States Naval Academy from July 1995 to August 1997, Staff Judge Advocate to the Iceland Defense Force from June 1998 to July 2001, Staff Judge Advocate of Joint Task Force Guantanamo from May 2006 to July 2008, and in 2010 was Staff Judge advocate to Joint Task Force 435 (TF 435), which is responsible for U.S. detention policy in Afghanistan.

Plame affair

The Plame affair (also known as the CIA leak scandal and Plamegate) was a political scandal that revolved around journalist Robert Novak's public identification of Valerie Plame as a covert Central Intelligence Agency officer in 2003.In 2002, Plame wrote a memo to her superiors in which she expressed hesitation in recommending her husband, former diplomat Joseph C. Wilson, to the CIA for a mission to Niger to investigate claims that Iraq had arranged to purchase and import uranium from the country, but stated that he "may be in a position to assist". After President George W. Bush stated that "Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa" during the run-up to the 2003 invasion of Iraq, Wilson published a July 2003 op-ed in The New York Times stating his doubts during the mission that any such transaction with Iraq had taken place.A week after Wilson's op-ed was published, Novak published a column which mentioned claims from "two senior administration officials" that Plame had been the one to suggest sending her husband. Novak had learned of Plame's employment, which was classified information, from State Department official Richard Armitage. David Corn and others suggested that Armitage and other officials had leaked the information as political retribution for Wilson's article.

The scandal led to a criminal investigation; no one was charged for the leak itself. Scooter Libby was convicted of lying to investigators. His prison sentence was ultimately commuted by President Bush, and he was pardoned by President Donald Trump in 2018.

Pulitzer Prize for National Reporting

This Pulitzer Prize has been awarded since 1942 for a distinguished example of reporting on national affairs in the United States. In its first six years (1942–1947), it was called the Pulitzer Prize for Telegraphic Reporting – National.

Ruse (book)

Ruse is an autobiographical account written by investigative journalist and FBI counterintelligence operative, Robert Eringer. Ruse covers the author's covert interactions with CIA defector, Edward Lee Howard in the late years of his life. The primary objective is to convince Howard to travel outside of Russia, to a jurisdiction where he could be arrested and extradited. Eringer's cover as a literary agent also allows him to gain the confidence of the 23 year fugitive, Unicorn Killer (Ira Einhorn). Frustrated with extradition negotiations, the FBI approved Eringer's plan to keep tabs on Einhorn in case that he would attempt to flee from France during extradition negotiations. Activities described in Ruse also expose Cuban intelligence (DGI) operatives in Washington D.C., and preemptively exposed a Cuban plot to disenfranchise Senator Bob Menendez. When allegations were made against the Senator in 2012, a short passage from Ruse, reported in The Record in 2008, caused Alex Seitz-Wald (Salon) to Tweet his theory, and the Daily Caller ultimately published information disproving the allegations in 2013.

The Washington Post

The Washington Post (sometimes abbreviated as WaPo) is a major American daily newspaper published in Washington, D.C., with a particular emphasis on national politics and the federal government. It has the largest circulation in the Washington metropolitan area. Its slogan "Democracy Dies in Darkness" began appearing on its masthead in 2017. Daily broadsheet editions are printed for the District of Columbia, Maryland, and Virginia.

The newspaper has won 47 Pulitzer Prizes. This includes six separate Pulitzers awarded in 2008, second only to The New York Times' seven awards in 2002 for the highest number ever awarded to a single newspaper in one year. Post journalists have also received 18 Nieman Fellowships and 368 White House News Photographers Association awards. In the early 1970s, in the best-known episode in the newspaper's history, reporters Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein led the American press' investigation into what became known as the Watergate scandal. Their reporting in The Washington Post greatly contributed to the resignation of President Richard Nixon. In years since, the Post's investigations have led to increased review of the Walter Reed Army Medical Center.In October 2013, the paper's longtime controlling family, the Graham family, sold the newspaper to Nash Holdings, a holding company established by Jeff Bezos, for $250 million in cash.

Trailblazer Project

Trailblazer was a United States National Security Agency (NSA) program intended to develop a capability to analyze data carried on communications networks like the Internet. It was intended to track entities using communication methods such as cell phones and e-mail.NSA employees J. Kirk Wiebe, William Binney, Ed Loomis, and House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence staffer Diane Roark complained to the Department of Defense's Inspector General (IG) about waste, fraud, and abuse in the program, and the fact that a successful operating prototype existed. The complaint was accepted by the IG and an investigation began that lasted until mid-2005 when the final results were issued. The results were largely hidden, as the report given to the public was heavily (90%) redacted, while the original report was heavily classified, thus restricting the ability of most people to see it.

The people who filed the IG complaint were later raided by armed Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) agents. While the Government threatened to prosecute all who signed the IG report, it ultimately chose to pursue an NSA Senior Executive Thomas Andrews Drake who helped with the report internally to NSA and who had spoken with a reporter about the project. Drake was later charged under the Espionage Act of 1917. His defenders claimed this was retaliation. The charges against him were later dropped, and he agreed to plead guilty to having committed a misdemeanor under the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, something that Jesselyn Radack of the Government Accountability Project (which helped represent him) called an "act of civil disobedience".

Victoria Toensing

Victoria Ann Toensing (née Long; born October 16, 1941) is a lawyer, and partner with her husband, Joseph DiGenova, in the Washington law firm DiGenova & Toensing. Her practice specializes in white-collar criminal defense, regulatory inquiries, and lobbying. She has appeared as a legal commentator on several networks including CNN, Fox News, and MSNBC.

Wilson v. Libby

Wilson v. Libby, 498 F. Supp. 2d 74 (D.D.C. 2007), affirmed, 535 F.3d 697 (D.C. Cir. 2008), was a civil lawsuit filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia on 13 July, 2006, by Valerie Plame and her husband, former Ambassador Joseph C. Wilson, IV, against Richard Armitage (individually) for allegedly revealing her identity and thus irresponsibly infringing upon her Constitutional rights and against Vice President of the United States Dick Cheney, Lewis Libby, Karl Rove, and the unnamed others (together) because the latter, in addition, allegedly "illegally conspired to reveal her identity." The lawsuit was ultimately dismissed.

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