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Murray Waas


20009, United States

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Murray Waas - Professional Summary:     [

Murray S. Waas (born 20 December 1961)[1] is an American freelance investigative journalist known most recently for his coverage of the White House planning for the 2003 invasion of Iraq and ensuing controversies and American political scandals such as the Plame affair (also known as the "CIA leak grand jury investigation", the "CIA leak scandal", and "Plamegate"). His articles about such matters have appeared in National Journal, where he has worked as a staff correspondent and contributing editor, The Atlantic, and, earlier the American Prospect.[2] Waas also comments on contemporary American political controversies in his personal blogs Whatever Already! and at The Huffington Post. An "instant book", the United States v. I. Lewis Libby which he edited, with research assistance by Jeff Lomonaco, was published by Union Square Press (an imprint of Sterling Publishing) in June 2007.[3][4]


  • 1 Personal history
  • 2 Professional career
  • 3 Book publication
  • 4 Notable assessments of Waas's journalism
  • 5 Investigation of the Health Insurance Industry
  • 6 See also
  • 7 Notes
  • 8 Bibliography
  • 9 External links


Professional career

While still attending college, Waas began working for American newspaper columnist Jack Anderson.[5] His journalistic work has since been published in such publications as The New Yorker, The Atlantic, The Los Angeles Times, The Boston Globe, The Washington Post, Harper's, The Nation, and The Village Voice.[18][19]

In his twenties he was a staff writer and investigative correspondent for the Village Voice.

According to his appreciation of Anderson that Waas published in the Village Voice, after the columnist's death at the age of 83:

The series of columns we [Anderson and Waas] produced regarding the role of U.S. companies doing business with Idi Amin were instrumental in leading to the imposition of U.S. economic sanctions against the Amin regime, according to the congressman who originally sponsored legislation seeking the sanctions, and other key congressional staffers who worked on the issue. Some historians in turn say the sanctions may have played an instrumental role in Amin’s subsequent overthrow.[20]

Ralph Nurnberger, a former staffer on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and professor at Georgetown University, later concluded in a study for the African Studies Review that the economic sanctions imposed against Amin by the U.S. led to Amin's downfall.Nurnberger wrote that the congressional initiative to impose the sanctions had garnered little attention or support until "Jack Anderson assigned one of his reporters, Murray Waas to follow the issue" and write regularly about it. At the time, Anderson's columns were published in more than 1,000 newspapers, which in turn had 40 million readers. Waas was eighteen and nineteen years old at the time he wrote the columns.[20][21]

Prior to his overthrow from power, Amin had been alleged to have engaged in genocide and killed between 150,000 and 300,000 of his own citizens. The late Sen. Frank Church (D-Id.), a chairman of the Senate Foreign Committee, later said the congressionally imposed boycott "contributed to the fall of Idi Amin." Sen. Mark Hatfield (R-Or.), said that the sanctions caused the conditions that "would come to break Amin's seemingly invincible survivability."[22]

During the Reagan administration, Waas was among a small group of reporters involved in breaking the story of the Iran-Contra affair.[2] Later, he also reported on Whitewater and the Clinton impeachment for Salon.com.[2]

Waas won an Alicia Patterson Journalism Fellowship[23] in 1992 to research and write about the rights of the institutionalized and incarcerated in the U.S. For his fellowship, he investigated substandard conditions and questionable deaths at institutions for the mentally retarded, mental hospitals, nursing homes, juvenile detention centers, and jails and prisons.[8]

As part of his work for the Alicia Patterson Foundation, Waas published a 7,912 word article in the Los Angeles Times on April 3, 1994 detailing how mentally retarded children institutionalized by the District of Columbia government had died because of abuse and neglect.[24] The story led to renewed scrutiny by the U.S. Department of Justice of the city's treatment of its mentally retarded wards and spurred on the settlement of a civil suit brought against the city government by the parents of children who had died due to abuse or neglect.[24][25]

Following the presidency of George Herbert Walker Bush, in 1993, while a reporter for the The Los Angeles Times, Waas, along with his Los Angeles Times colleague Douglas Frantz, was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in the category of national reporting for his stories detailing that administration's prewar foreign policy towards the Iraqi regime of Saddam Hussein.[26] That same year, Waas was also a recipient of the Goldsmith Prize for Investigative Reporting, awarded by the Joan Shorenstein Barone Center on The Press, of the John F. Kennedy School of Government of Harvard University, for "a series that detailed United States policy toward Iraq before the Persian Gulf war.[27][28]

More recently, he has worked as a national correspondent and contributing editor of National Journal.[2]

Summarizing the stories that Waas wrote for National Journal during 2005 and 2006 about the second Bush administration's policies that led up to war with Iraq, Washington Post online White House columnist Dan Froomkin, wrote on March 31, 2006:

Slowly but surely, investigative reporter Murray Waas has been putting together a compelling narrative about how President Bush and his top aides contrived their bogus case for war in Iraq; how they succeeded in keeping charges of deception from becoming a major issue in the 2004 election; and how they continue to keep most of the press off the trail to this day.
What emerges in Waas's stories is a consistent White House modus operandi: That time and time again, Bush and his aides have selectively leaked or declassified secret intelligence findings that served their political agenda -- while aggressively asserting the need to keep secret the information that would tend to discredit them.[29]


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