Jeff Gerth

Jeff Gerth is a former investigative reporter for The New York Times who has written lengthy, probing stories that drew both praise and criticism. He won a Pulitzer Prize in 1999 for covering the transfer of American satellite-launch technology to China.[1] He broke stories about the Whitewater controversy and the Chinese scientist Wen Ho Lee.


Gerth attended Shaker Heights High School in Ohio in the 1960s, where he was a member of the Junior Council on World Affairs and captain of the golf team. He was a varsity golfer at Northwestern University where he got a degree in business administration. Gerth began his career not in newspapers but in the marketing department of Standard Oil of Ohio; he was assigned to write down license plates of vehicles pulling in and out of gas stations to find out why drivers were choosing Standard Oil's rivals.[2]

Professional career

Gerth worked for the 1972 George McGovern presidential campaign, investigating some aspects of the Watergate scandal. Then he did some freelance journalism, including an exposé of the La Costa resort's ties to organized crime that ran in Penthouse. Gerth, and his co-author, Lowell Bergman, were sued, along with Penthouse, by the founders of the resort for more than half a billion dollars. Before trial, Gerth and Bergman both settled and apologized. Gerth also collaborated with Seymour Hersh of The New York Times, who recommended that the newspaper should hire him. Gerth joined the newspaper in 1976 and spent most of his career in their Washington, D.C. bureau.[3]

In March 1992, Gerth revealed that beginning in 1978, while Bill Clinton was Arkansas attorney general, he and his wife Hillary were partners in an Ozark real estate deal with James B. McDougal. When Clinton was governor, McDougal controlled a bank and Madison Guaranty, a savings and loan. Gerth's stories raised the question of whether it was appropriate for a governor to be in business partnership with someone having immediate financial interests in an industry regulated by the state.[2] Gerth's reporting was criticized by liberal columnist Gene Lyons for "not particularly fair or balanced stories that combine a prosecutorial bias and the art of tactical omission."[4] Other criticisms centered on the unclear time line - it was difficult to pick out that Bill Clinton was Attorney General, not Governor, at the time the partnership was created, and that Jim McDougal did not own a business regulated by the state until passage of the Garn–St. Germain Depository Institutions Act in 1982, 4 years after creation of the partnership. (See The Hunting of the President, particularly the book.)[5]

Gerth reported a controversial Sunday meeting between Clinton and his personal secretary, Betty Currie. At the meeting, according to Currie, Clinton asked her a number of sensitive questions, including whether she remembered his ever being alone with Monica Lewinsky.[2]

From April to December 1998, Gerth and others at The New York Times covered, or uncovered, "the corporate sale of American technology to China, with U.S. government approval despite national security risks, prompting investigations and significant changes in policy." The 1999 Pulitzer Prize for National Reporting recognized The New York Times staff, and notably Jeff Gerth.[1]

On March 6, 1999, Gerth reported that an unidentified Chinese American, later identified as Wen Ho Lee, stole secrets for U.S. nuclear bombs. A government official was quoted as saying the case was "going to be just as bad as the Rosenbergs."[6] FBI investigators waved the story in front of Lee as they interrogated him.[2] Judge James Parker eventually dropped all charges against Lee, stating, "I sincerely apologize to you, Dr. Lee, for the unfair manner you were held in captivity", describing Lee's nine months in solitary confinement as having "embarrassed our nation and all of its citizens."

Although he wrote some of the paper's most visible stories, Gerth himself kept a low profile. Balding and professorial, he shunned interviews, refused to give speeches and declined TV talk show appearances.

In 2004, Gerth was a visiting professor at Princeton University, where he taught an undergraduate seminar on investigative reporting. He left The New York Times in 2005, and joined the staff of ProPublica in February 2008.[7]

With his former colleague at The New York Times, Don Van Natta, Jr., Gerth wrote an investigative biography about Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton entitled, Her Way: The Hopes and Ambitions of Hillary Rodham Clinton. It was published in June 2007 by Little, Brown and Company. Gerth and Van Natta were reportedly offered a $1 million advance.[8]


Gerth married at thirty-nine and became a father a year later. His wife, Janice O'Connell, worked on the Foreign Relations Committee for Senator Christopher Dodd, who, during the 1996 Presidential campaign, chaired the Democratic National Committee. Gerth recused himself from any campaign coverage.[2]


  1. ^ a b "The 1999 Pulitzer Prize Winners: National Reporting". The Pulitzer Prizes. Retrieved 2013-10-28. With reprints of ten 1998 works.
  2. ^ a b c d e "Eye of the Storm", Ted Gup, Columbia Journalism Review, May/June 2001. Archived 2008-03-22. Retrieved 2013-10-28.
  3. ^ Blood Sport, James Stewart, Simon & Schuster.
  4. ^ "Fool for Scandal: How the 'Times' got Whitewater wrong (1994)". Harper's Magazine. Retrieved 2010-05-09.
  5. ^ "All the facts that are fit to omit (1998)". Retrieved 2010-05-09.
  6. ^ Risen, James; Gerth, Jeff (Mar 6, 1999). "BREACH AT LOS ALAMOS: A special report.; China Stole Nuclear Secrets For Bombs, U.S. Aides Say". The New York Times.
  7. ^ "Noted Reporters and Web Technologist Join New Investigative Team", ProPublica, Feb. 19, 2008.
  8. ^ "The United States of America vs. Bill Keller", New York Magazine, Sep. 11, 2006.

External links

1999 Pulitzer Prize

The Pulitzer Prizes for 1999 were announced on April 12, 1999.

A Woman in Charge

A Woman in Charge: The Life of Hillary Rodham Clinton is a biography of United States Senator, and former First Lady of the United States, Hillary Rodham Clinton that was written by Carl Bernstein and published on June 5, 2007, by Alfred A. Knopf.

Dafna Linzer

Dafna Linzer is an American journalist. Since October 2015, she has been managing editor of politics for NBC News and MSNBC, with a role spanning broadcast and digital coverage on both networks for the 2016 election campaign. Linzer was formerly managing editor of MSNBC; senior reporter at ProPublica; foreign correspondent for the Associated Press; and national security reporter for the Washington Post.

Don Van Natta Jr.

Don Van Natta Jr. (born July 22, 1964) is an American journalist, writer and broadcaster. He is an investigative reporter for ESPN, since January 2012. He previously worked for 16 years as an investigative correspondent at The New York Times, where he was a member of two teams that won Pulitzer Prizes.

Guillermo Hernández-Cartaya

Guillermo Hernández-Cartaya was a Cuban banker born sometime in 1932 (the New York Times described him in 1977 as in his "mid-fifties"); he spent 20 years as a banker in Cuba.

Her Way

Her Way: The Hopes and Ambitions of Hillary Rodham Clinton is an investigative biography about United States Senator, and former First Lady of the United States, Hillary Rodham Clinton that was written by Jeff Gerth and Don Van Natta, Jr. and published on June 8, 2007, by Little, Brown and Company.

Hillary Clinton cattle futures controversy

In 1978 and 1979, lawyer and First Lady of Arkansas Hillary Rodham Clinton engaged in a series of trades of cattle futures contracts. Her initial $1,000 investment had generated nearly $100,000 when she stopped trading after ten months. In 1994, after Clinton had become First Lady of the United States, the trading became the subject of considerable controversy regarding the likelihood of such a spectacular rate of return, possible conflict of interest, and allegations of disguised bribery.

Hillary Rodham senior thesis

In 1969, Hillary Rodham wrote a 92-page senior thesis for Wellesley College about community organizer Saul Alinsky entitled "There Is Only the Fight . . . : An Analysis of the Alinsky Model." The thesis is now available.While the work by Rodham as a college student was the subject of much speculation in articles and biographies of Hillary Rodham Clinton in the 1990s, access to the thesis was limited by the college, at the request of the Clinton White House, during her time as first lady.


Hillaryland was the self-designated name of a group of core advisors to Hillary Clinton, when she was First Lady of the United States and again when, as United States Senator, she was one of the Democratic Party candidates for President in the 2008 U.S. election.

The group included Huma Abedin, Patti Solis Doyle (credited with coining the name "Hillaryland"), Mandy Grunwald, Neel Lattimore, Ann Lewis, Evelyn Lieberman, Tamera Luzzatto, Capricia Marshall, Cheryl Mills, Minyon Moore, Lissa Muscatine, Neera Tanden, Melanne Verveer, Lisa Caputo, Ann Stock and Maggie Williams. In her autobiography, "Living History," Clinton credits campaign aide Steve Rabinowitz with first using the term.The group was distinguished in two prominent ways: First, almost all are women; the only man in the group, former First Lady deputy press secretary Neel Lattimore, is gay. Second, most worked in the Clinton Administration, and have been personal friends and confidants of Hillary Clinton since at least then, if not earlier. The name Hillaryland dates back to the Bill Clinton's 1992 presidential campaign, when it was the portion of his Little Rock, Arkansas "war room" that housed Hillary Clinton's staff. Later it became better known as the moniker for the area of the West Wing of the White House in which the First Lady's staff had their offices; according to Clinton, Hillaryland had its own subculture, based on camaraderie, never leaking information to the press, and having plenty of toys and cookies around for the children of staffers – as Hillary put it, "While the West Wing had a tendency to leak... Hillaryland never did, and every child who ever visited knew exactly where we stashed the cookies." Clinton biographers Jeff Gerth and Don Van Natta, Jr. described Hillaryland as "an important subculture during the Clinton presidency."The advisers were also present during Clinton's tenure as U.S. Senator. But the role of Hillaryland came under considerable discussion during and after Clinton's 2008 presidential campaign that she conducted while senator. Michelle Cottle of New York magazine described its role as "less a campaign entity than an extended sisterhood defined by its devotion to its namesake. Even so, the group's protective ethos dominates her presidential campaign, where loyalty is demanded, self-promotion frowned upon, and talking out of school, especially to the press, [is strongly discouraged]." As campaign chroniclers John Heilemann and Mark Halperin later wrote, "the people comprising it ... were loyal to a fault, smart and ruthless, hard-headed and hardboiled. ... They referred to themselves collectively as Hillaryland, and everyone else in politics did too." By this point the definition of Hillaryland was often expanded a bit to include campaign insiders such as chief strategist Mark Penn.After she ended up losing the 2008 Democratic nomination, critics often focused on the limited and isolated circle of advisers and dysfunctional management style as one of the reasons behind the campaign's failure. One criticism was that she valued personal loyalty over the ability to do the job. The level of protection and the consequent inability to criticize failed tactics--and the public perception that Clinton needed that much protection--alarmed critics in 2015 as well, prior to her loss in the general election the following year.

At the beginning of Clinton's 2009-13 tenure as U.S. Secretary of State, she brought over some of the Hillaryland personnel to staff the State Department, but she also hired other people as well.

Jackson T. Stephens

Jackson Thomas Stephens (August 9, 1923 – July 23, 2005) was the CEO of Little Rock, Arkansas-based Stephens Inc., a privately owned financial services company.

James Risen

James Risen (born April 27, 1955) is an American journalist for The Intercept. He previously worked for The New York Times and before that for Los Angeles Times. He has written or co-written many articles concerning U.S. government activities and is the author or co-author of two books about the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and a book about the American public debate about abortion. Risen is a Pulitzer Prize winner.

Madison Guaranty

Madison Guaranty Savings and Loan Association was a savings and loan association based in Little Rock, Arkansas. The company operated from 1979 until 1989 when it was shut down by federal regulators as a result of bank failure, leading to a loss of $60 million for the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation. Beginning in 1982, the bank was owned and managed by Jim McDougal, a friend of Bill Clinton and Hillary Clinton. On March 8, 1992, during the United States presidential election, 1992 the bank was the subject of an article in The New York Times by Jeff Gerth, which linked the bank to Whitewater Development Corporation, owned by McDougal and the Clintons. After Clinton's election as president, the bank was the subject of investigations by the United States Congress and special prosecutor Ken Starr as part of the Whitewater controversy. McDougall was investigated to determine if he improperly diverted money from the bank to Whitewater or the Clinton campaign during the Arkansas gubernatorial election, 1984.

Omni La Costa Resort and Spa

Omni La Costa Resort & Spa is a luxury destination hotel located in Carlsbad, California, and is owned by Omni Hotels & Resorts, based out of Dallas, Texas. The resort is known for its golf courses and its location in the San Diego area hills. Professional golf and tennis tournaments settled into La Costa throughout the 1980s, ultimately hosting 37 PGA Tour and tennis events. Currently the resort is home to events such as World Team Tennis and The California State Amateur Championship. Omni La Costa Resort & Spa is a member of Historic Hotels of America, the official program of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, and has hosted the La Costa Film Festival.

Paula Casey

Paula J. Casey (born c. 1951) served as United States Attorney (1993–2000) for the Eastern District of Arkansas.

She earned her B.A. degree in 1973 at East Central University in Oklahoma and her J.D. in 1977 at University of Arkansas School of Law at Fayetteville.Casey was professor at the William H. Bowen School of Law (University of Arkansas at Little Rock) 1978 to 1993, when she left to become U.S. Attorney. She was associate dean of the school from 1986 through 1991. She worked with United States Senator Dale Bumpers as Chief Counsel and Legislative Assistant, from 1991 through 1993. She was appointed United States Attorney by Bill Clinton in 1993, serving through 2000. She rejoined the UALR Law School faculty in 2001.

Professor Casey has taught Lawyering Skills, Criminal Procedure, Evidence, Advanced Litigation, Family Law and Property. She also received the FBI Meritorious Achievement Award in 1997.

On February 21, 2012, the UALR William H. Bowen School of Law announced that Professor Casey will serve as the interim dean beginning on July 1, 2012.


ProPublica is an American nonprofit organization based in New York City. It is a nonprofit newsroom that aims to produce investigative journalism in the public interest. In 2010, it became the first online news source to win a Pulitzer Prize, for a piece written by one of its journalists and published in The New York Times Magazine as well as on ProPublica states that its investigations are conducted by its staff of full-time investigative reporters, and the resulting stories are distributed to news partners for publication or broadcast. In some cases, reporters from both ProPublica and its partners work together on a story. ProPublica has partnered with more than 90 different news organizations, and it has won four Pulitzer Prizes.

Richard Scholtes

Richard A. Scholtes is a retired US Army Major General and the first commander of the US military's Joint Special Operations Command. Scholtes' experience as the commander of Joint Special Operations Task Force 123 during the US invasion of Grenada made him an important figure in the reorganization of the US special operations community and eventually led to his appointment to the newly formed JSOC. After his tenure as JSOC commander, Scholtes retired from active service so he could candidly testify in August 1986 before Congress about the perceived need for a separate, four-star, special operations command. Then-Senator William Cohen described Scholtes' testimony as vital in the decision of Congress to create the United States Special Operations Command.

Tylenol (brand)

Tylenol is a brand of drugs advertised for reducing pain, reducing fever, and relieving the symptoms of allergies, cold, cough headache, and influenza. The active ingredient of its original flagship product is acetaminophen (known in most Commonwealth nations as paracetamol), an analgesic and antipyretic. Like the words acetaminophen and paracetamol, the brand name Tylenol is derived from a chemical name for the compound, N-aceTYL-para-aminophENOL (APAP). The brand name is owned by McNeil Consumer Healthcare, a subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson.As of 2017, the "Tylenol" brand was used in Brazil, Canada, China, Egypt, Lebanon, Myanmar, Oman, the Philippines, Portugal, South Korea, Spain, Switzerland, Thailand, the United States, and Vietnam.

Whitewater controversy

The Whitewater controversy, Whitewater scandal, or simply Whitewater, was an American political controversy of the 1990s. It began with an investigation into the real estate investments of Bill and Hillary Clinton and their associates, Jim McDougal and Susan McDougal, in the Whitewater Development Corporation. This failed business venture was incorporated in 1979 with the purpose of developing vacation properties on land along the White River near Flippin, Arkansas.

A March 1992 New York Times article published during the 1992 U.S. presidential campaign reported that the Clintons, then governor and first lady of Arkansas, had invested and lost money in the Whitewater Development Corporation. The article stimulated the interest of L. Jean Lewis, a Resolution Trust Corporation investigator who was looking into the failure of Madison Guaranty Savings and Loan, also owned by Jim and Susan McDougal.

Lewis looked for connections between the savings and loan company and the Clintons, and on September 2, 1992, she submitted a criminal referral to the FBI naming Bill and Hillary Clinton as witnesses in the Madison Guaranty case. Little Rock U.S. Attorney Charles A. Banks and the FBI determined that the referral lacked merit, but Lewis continued to pursue the case. From 1992 to 1994, Lewis issued several additional referrals against the Clintons and repeatedly called the U.S. Attorney's Office in Little Rock and the Justice Department regarding the case. Her referrals eventually became public knowledge, and she testified before the Senate Whitewater Committee in 1995.

David Hale, the source of criminal allegations against the Clintons, claimed in November 1993 that Bill Clinton had pressured him into providing an illegal $300,000 loan to Susan McDougal, the Clintons' partner in the Whitewater land deal. The allegations were regarded as questionable because Hale had not mentioned Clinton in reference to this loan during the original FBI investigation of Madison Guaranty in 1989; only after coming under indictment himself in 1993, did Hale make allegations against the Clintons. A U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission investigation resulted in convictions against the McDougals for their role in the Whitewater project. Jim Guy Tucker, Bill Clinton's successor as governor, was convicted of fraud and sentenced to four years of probation for his role in the matter. Susan McDougal served 18 months in prison for contempt of court for refusing to answer questions relating to Whitewater.

Neither Bill Clinton nor Hillary were ever prosecuted, after three separate inquiries found insufficient evidence linking them with the criminal conduct of others related to the land deal. The matter was handled by the Whitewater Independent Counsel, Kenneth Starr. The last of these inquiries came from the final Independent Counsel, Robert Ray (who replaced Starr) in 2000. Susan McDougal was granted a pardon by Bill Clinton before he left office.

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