“Non-Official Cover” – Respected German Journalist Blows Whistle on How the CIA Controls the Media

 

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131404“I was bribed by billionaires, I was bribed by the Americans to report…not exactly the truth.” – Udo Ulfkotte, former editor of one of Germany’s main daily publications, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung

Some readers will see this and immediately dismiss it as Russian propaganda since the interview appeared on RT. This would be a serious mistake.

Whether you want to admit it or not, CIA control of the media in the U.S. and abroad is not conspiracy theory, it is conspiracy fact.

Carl Bernstein, who is best known for his reporting on Watergate, penned a 25,000 word article in Rolling Stone after spending six months looking at the relationship of the CIA and the press during the Cold War years. Below is an excerpt, but you can read the entire thing here.

In 1953, Joseph Alsop, then one of America’s leading syndicated columnists, went to the Philippines to cover an election. He did not go because he was asked to do so by his syndicate. He did not go because he was asked to do so by the newspapers that printed his column. He went at the request of the CIA.

Alsop is one of more than 400 American journalists who in the past twenty‑five years have secretly carried out assignments for the Central Intelligence Agency, according to documents on file at CIA headquarters. Some of these journalists’ relationships with the Agency were tacit; some were explicit. There was cooperation, accommodation and overlap. Journalists provided a full range of clandestine services—from simple intelligence gathering to serving as go‑betweens with spies in Communist countries. Reporters shared their notebooks with the CIA. Editors shared their staffs. Some of the journalists were Pulitzer Prize winners, distinguished reporters who considered themselves ambassadors without‑portfolio for their country. Most were less exalted: foreign correspondents who found that their association with the Agency helped their work; stringers and freelancers who were as interested in the derring‑do of the spy business as in filing articles; and, the smallest category, full‑time CIA employees masquerading as journalists abroad. In many instances, CIA documents show, journalists were engaged to perform tasks for the CIA with the consent of the managements of America’s leading news organizations.

Like any good intelligence agency, the CIA learned from its mistakes upon being exposed, and has since adjusted tactics. This is where the concept of “non-official cover” comes into play. The term was recently described by German journalist Udo Ulfkotte, in a blistering RT interview. Mr. Ulfkotte was previously the editor for one of Germany’s main dailies, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (FAZ), so he is no small fry.

“Non-official cover” occurs when a journalist is essentially working for the CIA, but it’s not in an official capacity. This allows both parties to reap the rewards of the partnership, while at the same time giving both sides plausible deniability. The CIA will find young journalists and mentor them. Suddenly doors will open up, rewards will be given, and before you know it, you owe your entire career to them. That’s essentially how it works. But don’t take it from me…

 

 

 

If this peaked your curiosity, read about Operation Mockingbird.

Also see my post: How Hollywood Became “Propagandist in Chief” by John Pilger

In Liberty,
Michael Krieger

US Journalist Foley Murdered by IS Militants 1 Year Ago – Assad Spokesperson

192350820foley

© AP Photo/ Marko Drobnjakovic

 

Topic: US Journalist Foley Executed by ISIS

 

MOSCOW, August 26 (RIA Novosti) – American journalist James Foley may have been murdered by Islamic State militants a year ago, The Daily Mail reported, citing Syrian President Bashar Assad’s official spokesperson, Bouthaina Shaaban.

“James Foley was first arrested by the Free Syrian Army and he was sold to ISIS [an earlier name for the IS]. You can check with the UN…James Foley was killed a year ago, not now, they only released the pictures now, but he was killed a year ago. We have definite information, the UN has the information,” Shaaban said as cited by The Daily Mail.

Last week, the shocking video of Foley being beheaded by the jihadist group was broadcasted all around the world. The jarring footage was entitled “The Message to America.” The journalist’s executioner, who spoke with a British accent, said Foley was killed because US President Barack Obama had ordered airstrikes against IS positions in Iraq.

On August 12, Foley‘s family received a letter from IS militants that warned of the journalist’s execution. The letter was published by GlobalPost, with the Foley family’s consent, to provide transparency and tell the journalist’s story in full.

On Monday, a team of experts said the video documenting the beheading may have been staged. However, there was no doubt that the reporter was killed, with the actual murder happening off-camera.

According to UK security services, the main suspect in Foley’s murder is west London rapper Abdel-Majed Abdel Bary, also known by the IS militants as “Jihadi John.”

About 500 Britons are believed to be fighting for the IS in Syria, as well as several hundred individuals from the United States and Canada.

The Islamic State militant group was previously known as either the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) or the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS). On June 29, after weeks of fighting in Iraq and Syria and the seizure of vast territories in the two countries, the group proclaimed itself a “caliphate” and changed its name to the Islamic State.

The group’s leader, Abu Bakr Baghdadi, has claimed religious authority over all Muslims globally.

Matt Taibbi Quits Rolling Stone to Join Omidyar’s First Look Media

Matt Taibbi

Matt Taibbi

Photo by Neilson Barnard/Getty Images

Rolling Stone’s loss is Pierre Omidyar’s gain. Matt Taibbi is joining First Look Media, the same organization where Glenn Greenwald, Jeremy Scahill, and Laura Poitras are on the masthead at The Intercept– but Taibbi will lead his own publication focused on financial and political corruption. The new magazine does not yet have a name or a precise launch date.

Matt Taibbi, who made a name as a fierce critic of Wall Street at Rolling Stone magazine, has joined First Look Media, the latest big-name journalist to leave an established brand to enter the thriving and well-financed world of news start-ups, wrote Ravi Somaiya.

Mr. Taibbi will start his own publication focusing on financial and political corruption, he said in an interview on Wednesday. First Look is financed by the eBay founder Pierre Omidyar, who is worth $8.5 billion, according to Forbes. Mr. Omidyar has pledged $250 million to the project.

Read Matt’s thank you note to Rolling Stone Magazine:

Thank You, Rolling Stone

By Matt Taibbi
POSTED: February 20, 10:35 AM ET

Today is my last day at Rolling Stone. As of this week, I’m leaving to work for First Look Media, the new organization that’s already home to reporters like Glenn Greenwald, Jeremy Scahill and Laura Poitras.

I’ll have plenty of time to talk about the new job elsewhere. But in this space, I just want to talk about Rolling Stone, and express my thanks. Today is a very bittersweet day for me. As excited as I am about the new opportunity, I’m sad to be leaving this company.

More than 15 years ago, Rolling Stone sent a reporter, Brian Preston, to do a story on the eXile, the biweekly English-language newspaper I was editing in Moscow at the time with Mark Ames. We abused the polite Canadian Preston terribly – I think we thought we were being hospitable – and he promptly went home and wrote a story about us that was painful, funny and somewhat embarrassingly accurate. Looking back at that story now, in fact, I’m surprised that Rolling Stone managing editor Will Dana gave me a call years later, after I’d returned to the States.

I remember when Will called, because it was such an important moment in my life. I was on the American side of Niagara Falls, walking with friends, when my cell phone rang. Night had just fallen and when Will invited me to write a few things in advance of the 2004 presidential election, I nearly walked into the river just above the Falls.

At the time, I was having a hard time re-acclimating to life in America and was a mess personally. I was broke and having anxiety attacks. I specifically remember buying three cans of corned beef hash with the last dollars of available credit on my last credit card somewhere during that period. Anyway I botched several early assignments for the magazine, but Will was patient and eventually brought me on to write on a regular basis.

It was my first real job and it changed my life. Had Rolling Stone not given me a chance that year, God knows where I’d be – one of the ideas I was considering most seriously at the time was going to Ukraine to enroll in medical school, of all things.

In the years that followed, both Will and editor/publisher Jann S. Wenner were incredibly encouraging and taught me most of what I now know about this business. It’s been an amazing experience. I’ve had a front-row seat for some of the strangest and most interesting episodes of our recent history. At various times, thanks to this magazine, I’ve spent days hiding in a cell at the infamous Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq, gone undercover in an apocalyptic church in Texas (where I learned to vomit my demons into a paper bag), and even helped run a campaign office for George W. Bush along the I-4 corridor in Florida, getting so into the assignment that I was involuntarily happy when Bush won.

I was at the Michael Jackson trial, so close to the defendant I could see the outlines of his original nose. I met past and future presidents. I shared Udon noodles with Dennis Kucinich in a van on a highway in Maine. And I paddled down the streets of Katrina-ravaged New Orleans, so deep into the disaster zone that a soldier in a rescue copter above mistook me for a victim and threw a Meal Ready to Eat off my head. I still have that MRE, it has some kind of pop tart in it – I’m going to give it to my son someday.

To be able to say you work for Rolling Stone, it’s a feeling any journalist in his right mind should want to experience. The magazine’s very name is like a magic word. I noticed it from the very first assignment. Even people who know they probably shouldn’t talk to you, do, once they hear you’re from the magazine Dr. Hook sang about. And if they actually see the business card, forget it. People will do anything to get into the magazine, to have some of that iconic cool rub off on them.

There were times when I would think about the great reporters and writers who’ve had the same job I was so lucky to have, and it would be almost overwhelming – it was like being the Dread Pirate Roberts. It was a true honor and I’ll eternally be in the debt of Will and Jann, and Sean Woods and Coco McPherson and Victor Juhasz and Alison Weinflash and so many others with whom it was my privilege to work. I wish there was something I could say that is stronger than Thank You.

No journalist has ever been luckier than me. Thank you, Rolling Stone.

—–
We’ll miss you Matt!

Michael Hastings, Bridge-Burning Journalist (1980-2013)

By Jim Naureckas – 15 Comments

You can tell what kind of reporter Michael Hastings was by the kind of reporter who hated him.

“I think it’s very unfortunate that it has impacted, and will impact so adversely, on what had been pretty good military/media relations,” the New York Times’ John Burns told right-wing talkshow host Hugh Hewitt (FAIR Blog, 7/16/10). Burns was discussing Hastings’ Rolling Stone profile (6/22/10) of Stanley McChrystal that ended up costing the general his job running the occupation of Afghanistan–mainly because Hastings kept in all the impolitic comments that McChrystal and his underlings assumed would be discreetly ignored.

Burns expected that any decent reporter would do the same thing:

MichaelHastings-350x450My feeling is that it’s the responsibility of the reporter to judge in those circumstances what is fairly reportable, and what is not, and, to go beyond that, what it is necessary to report.

Hastings, a reporter for Rolling Stone and BuzzFeed who died in a car crash in L.A. yesterday at the age of 33, didn’t see it as his job to maintain “good media/military relations,” or to decide what is “necessary to report.” To the contrary–he told CounterSpin (1/27/12) that one of his golden rules for reporting was, “What does everybody know who’s on the inside, but no one’s willing to say or write.”

Hastings never forgot that journalists’ loyalties are supposed to be with the public and not to the government officials whose actions they cover–and that approach distinguished him not only from Burns but from most of his colleagues. BuzzFeed’s Ben Smith (6/18/13) recalled in a tribute to his reporter:

Michael cared about friends and was good at making them; it visibly pained him when, late in the 2012 campaign, the reporters around him made little secret of their distrust for him. But he also knew…he was there to tell his readers what was going on.

What Tim Dickinson (Rolling Stone, 6/18/13) called Hastings’ “enthusiastic breaches of the conventions of access journalism” were what enabled him to report the unguarded assessments of the officers running the occupation of Afghanistan: “Even those who support McChrystal and his strategy of counterinsurgency know that whatever the general manages to accomplish in Afghanistan, it’s going to look more like Vietnam than Desert Storm.” It’s not that other reporters didn’t hear such remarks–but they knew better than to report them, or thought they did.

A Politico story quoted by NYU’s Jay Rosen (6/24/10) got at the structural problems that prevent most journalists from telling their readers the truth:

And as a freelance reporter, Hastings would be considered a bigger risk to be given unfettered access, compared with a beat reporter, who would not risk burning bridges by publishing many of McChrystal’s remarks.

(Rosen noted that that line got edited out of later versions of the story, perhaps because it revealed too much.)

McChrystal’s replacement, Gen. David Petraeus, was a favorite of most of the press corps, but Hastings went after exactly what got him that great press: his superlative skills at image management. “More so than any other leading military figure, Petraeus’ entire philosophy has been based on hiding the truth, on deception, on building a false image,” he argued (BuzzFeed, 11/11/12).

Hastings had a refreshing lack of worry about his image; arguing for BuzzFeed to publish in full a testy exchange between himself and a Hillary Clinton aide, Hastings responded to Ben Smith’s warning that the correspondence didn’t make either side look particularly attractive:
“Everyone knows I’m an asshole. The point is that they’re assholes.”

His lack of pretense was evident in his advice to aspiring journalists:

When interviewing for a job, tell the editor how you love to report. How your passion is gathering information. Do not mention how you want to be a writer, use the word “prose,” or that deep down you have a sinking suspicion you are the next Norman Mailer.

Joining the general panic at Hastings’ escape from the herd with his McChrystal piece, CBS’s Lara Logan told CNN’s Reliable Sources (6/27/10; FAIR Blog, 6/28/10):

I mean, the question is, really, is what General McChrystal and his aides are doing so egregious, that they deserved to end a career like McChrystal’s? Michael Hastings has never served his country the way McChrystal has.

Given the relative benefits to the United States of an aggressive free press compared to occupying foreign lands, many would say Michael Hastings served his country much better than Stanley McChrystal ever did.

About Jim Naureckas
Extra! Magazine Editor Since 1990, Jim Naureckas has been the editor of Extra!, FAIR’s bimonthly journal of media criticism. He is the co-author of The Way Things Aren’t: Rush Limbaugh’s Reign of Error, and co-editor of The FAIR Reader: An Extra! Review of Press and Politics in the ’90s. He is also the co-manager of FAIR’s website. He has worked as an investigative reporter for the newspaper In These Times, where he covered the Iran-Contra scandal, and was managing editor of the Washington Report on the Hemisphere, a newsletter on Latin America. Jim was born in Libertyville, Illinois, in 1964, and graduated from Stanford University in 1985 with a bachelor’s degree in political science. Since 1997 he has been married to Janine Jackson, FAIR’s program director. You can follow Jim on Twitter at @JNaureckas.

Comments

Guy Montag
1 week ago
Both of Hasting’s books are well worth reading. His 2008 book, “I Lost My Love in Baghdad,” is especially poignant now; his first fiancée died in a car that was set on fire in an ambush.
Last June, I exchanged emails with Michael after I wrote a post annotating his 2012 book “The Operators” about Gen. Stanley McChrystal’s central role in the cover-up of Pat Tillman’s 2004 friendly-fire death in Afghanistan. In January, he thanked me for sending him my post about McChrystal’s disingenuous memoir (see “Something to Die For” & “Never Shall I Fail My Comrades” at the Feral Firefighter blog). I now regret never calling him with the phone numbers he gave me in his last email.
I’ll miss Michael’s honest, no BS reporting that is sadly lacking among the stenographic mainstream press (e.g. we both wrote about our unpleasant interactions with the Pentagon’s NYT reporter Thom Shanker).
NYT Pays Tribute to Hastings by Attacking Him After Death
1 week ago
[…] Michael Hastings is in excellent company when his New York Times obituary (6/19/13) went out of its way to discredit […]
NYT Pays Tribute to Hastings by Attacking Him After Death « RichCulbertson.com
1 week ago
[…] Michael Hastings is in excellent company when his New York Times obituary (6/19/13) went out of its way to discredit […]
Wanda
1 week ago
Love FAIR. But this regurgitation:”died in a car crash in L.A.” is not what we expect from you. Not even a glancing mention of the suspicious circumstances that we all now what happened?
jamie
1 week ago
well said and well done, jim. here’s my little tribute to my friend and colleague. http://therenodispatch.blogspot.com/2013/06/the-sad-death-of-one-of-americas-last.html
Michael Hastings was a real reporter : Dangerous Intersection
1 week ago
[…] Tribute to Michael Hastings at FAIR, by Jim Naureckas: […]
Mary
1 week ago

I certainly hope that Mr. Hasting’s friends use their investigative skills to present some facts and the possibility of murder. Who shot the video of the accident? Why was he out at 4 PM? What do fire fighters and mechanics make of the accident? What was he investigating? Was he threatened? It seems that he would not just lament a friend’s suspicious death.
What a brave man. When others were talking about the Petraeus affair, he asked why and identified the General’s Shia death squads and creation of a civil war.
Mary
1 week ago

Correction: Why was he out at 4 AM?
Sara Landers
1 week ago
to Mary:
Mr. Hastings was a brilliant and brave journalist but to suggest his death was anything than what it was is ridiculous. There were eye witnesses who have said they first heard the car speeding and looked up to see him hit and tree and the car burst into flames. While he was all. the good things said about it, he was 33 and possibly under the influence of alcohol or drugs and his driving was impaired. Who knows why he was out at 4 AM. He could have been on an assignment, or any reason, but that is hardly a reason to suspect a conspiracy or murder!!!
geoff
1 week ago
This reporter was apparently about to report on John Brennan recently appointed head of the CIA, and past preparer of the “kill list” for Pres. O. That his work may have meant the end of two Generals active in the field of imperial wars and occupation — what would be their qualms about a little payback? What about John Brennan who has demonstrated his lack of what might be called elegance whenever he gets close to a camera or microphone? I have no info. and if I did it would have to be hearsay, but I can’t discount the idea that something very much out of the ordinary occurred. Remember, Brennan was a GW Bush appointee before Pres. O. Should this help one’s imagination, a bit?
Kathleen Murphy
1 week ago

To Sara Landers,
Let’s get one thing straight, an explosion is NOT a “car accident,” and we should all expect better from FAIR than joining the corporate chorus on that one. And if the testimony of the witnesses meant anything to you, you would’ve also noticed that they all said they heard, and felt, an explosion. (Perhaps those witnesses will be soon be threatened by the FBI to stop saying it was explosion?)
I find it hard to believe that a person who (was it just a day before?), advises his friends to have a lawyer present if the FBI comes around asking questions, then immediately turns around to be so stupid as to drive 100 mph in a residential zone???? Really? And, as you inventively suggest- “33 and may have been under the influence” -a nice little character bashing of someone you don’t even know, shame on you! (But, “it has to be a car accident because there’s no possible way it was a murder” -right? A cowardly circular argument, please GROW …UP!!!!)
And now all we have left is an FBI denial that it was even investigating Michael Hastings? Sorry, I’m going to believe Michael Hastings before I ever believe the FBI. (But perhaps that image of “33 and under the influence while driving 100 mph in a residential area” is going to help the FBI look more credible in the public mind?)
This idea that every person who doesn’t trust our corporate government’s version of events is a “stupid conspiracy theorist,” is a symptom of cognitive dissonance that Americans collectively need to snap out of -or we will never get out from under the thumb of the fascist corporate dictatorship which is unfolding every day, before our very eyes.
Please, FAIR, have the maturity to care more about the facts than preserving some superficial public image that you are not like… Alex Jones? You are over-doing it this time with this Michael Hastings “car accident” story and impressing no one.
David Lloyd-Jones
1 week ago

Well, so much for “Reliable Sources,” which was always my sign to turn off the TV on Sunday morning: Howie’s gone (back?) to Fox.
I’ve always prided myself on my enemies, who select themselves well, and I think Hastings could do the same.
-dlj.
NYT Public Editor Joins Critics of Hastings Obit
6 days ago
[…] death as in life, journalist Michael Hastings is creating a public debate on good […]
As Zimmerman mainstream media fix surfaces, mourn this man. | Wobbly Warrior’s Blog
6 days ago
[…] via Michael Hastings, Bridge-Burning Journalist (1980-2013). […]
Jack Y
6 days ago

Not to pile on you Sarah…but your knee jerk reaction to bring up intoxication is kind of strange to say the least. Where did that come from. I guess we will never know though…since the car EXPLODED upon impact and his body is said to have been burned beyond recognition. This does not normally happen in a car accident…even a 100 MPH head on collision. I do media history now…but I have worked on many a car and have many friends who do that as a profession today…unless a car is sitting there for awhile leaking gas, the new cars don’t “EXPLODE!”.
And FAIR…you could have left it at “died in a single car accident early in the morning. An investigation is still underway.” It reminded me of a news blip I remember seeing late at night/early morning from way back…when Headline News was young and a day or two before the Noriega trial. The lead government “witness” was killed in a single car accident…ran in to a building all by himself. Even as a late teen/early 20 something then I thought to myself…really? The government lets their star witness go for a ride alone right before a trial they claim is historic. I assumed he was taking to the witness coaching very well. Imagine how many powerful people Noriega had dirt on in the drug running circles.
Always being a “coincidence theorist” is no less naive or intellectually dishonest than always being a “conspiracy theorist”.
Hopefully I’ll get to meet you on the other side Michael:-) Not too soon though!

Michael Hastings, ‘Rolling Stone’ Contributor, Dead at 33

Michael Hastings 1980 - 2013

Michael Hastings
1980 – 2013

The bold journalist died in a car accident in Los Angeles

The Rolling Stone Magazine
June 18, 2013 7:15 PM ET

Michael Hastings, the fearless journalist whose reporting brought down the career of General Stanley McChrystal, has died in a car accident in Los Angeles, Rolling Stone has learned. He was 33.

Hastings’ unvarnished 2010 profile of McChrystal in the pages of Rolling Stone, “The Runaway General,” captured the then-supreme commander of the U.S.-led war effort in Afghanistan openly mocking his civilian commanders in the White House. The maelstrom sparked by its publication concluded with President Obama recalling McChrystal to Washington and the general resigning his post. “The conduct represented in the recently published article does not meet the standard that should be met by – set by a commanding general,” Obama said, announcing McChrystal’s departure. “It undermines the civilian control of the military that is at the core of our democratic system.”

Hastings’ hallmark as reporter was his refusal to cozy up to power. While other embedded reporters were charmed by McChrystal’s bad-boy bravado and might have excused his insubordination as a joke, Hastings was determined to expose the recklessness of a man leading what Hastings believed to be a reckless war. “Runaway General” was a finalist for a National Magazine Award, won the 2010 Polk award for magazine reporting, and was the basis for Hastings’ book, The Operators: The Wild and Terrifying Inside Story of America’s War in Afghanistan.

For Hastings, there was no romance to America’s misbegotten wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. He had felt the horror of war first-hand: While covering the Iraq war for Newsweek in early 2007, his then-fianceé, an aide worker, was killed in a Baghdad car bombing. Hastings memorialized that relationship in his first book, I Lost My Love in Baghdad: A Modern War Story.

A contributing editor to Rolling Stone, Hastings leaves behind a remarkable legacy of reporting, including an exposé of America’s drone war, an exclusive interview with WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange at his hideout in the English countryside, an investigation into the Army’s illicit use of “psychological operations” to influence sitting Senators and a profile of Taliban captive Bowe Bergdahl, “America’s Last Prisoner of War.”

20130613-michael-hastings-306x-1371593939“Great reporters exude a certain kind of electricity,” says Rolling Stone managing editor Will Dana, “the sense that there are stories burning inside them, and that there’s no higher calling or greater way to live life than to be always relentlessly trying to find and tell those stories. I’m sad that I’ll never get to publish all the great stories that he was going to write, and sad that he won’t be stopping by my office for any more short visits which would stretch for two or three completely engrossing hours. He will be missed.”

Hard-charging, unabashedly opinionated, Hastings was original and at times abrasive. He had little patience for flacks and spinmeisters and will be remembered for his enthusiastic breaches of the conventions of access journalism. In a memorable exchange with Hillary Clinton aide Philippe Reines in the aftermath of the Benghazi attacks, Hastings’ aggressive line of questioning angered Reines. “Why do you bother to ask questions you’ve already decided you know the answers to?” Reines asked. “Why don’t you give answers that aren’t bullshit for a change?” Hastings replied.

In addition to his work as a contributing editor for Rolling Stone, Hastings also reported for BuzzFeed. He leaves behind his wife, the writer Elise Jordan.

Matt Farwell is a veteran of the Afghanistan war who worked as a co-reporter with Hastings on some of his recent pieces. He sent this eulogy to Rolling Stone:  “My friend Michael Hastings died last night in a car crash in Los Angeles. Writing this feels almost ghoulish: I still haven’t processed the fact that he’s gone. Today we all feel that loss: whether we’re friends of Michael’s, or family, or colleagues or readers, the world has gotten a bit smaller. As a journalist, he specialized in speaking truth to power and laying it all out there. He was irascible in his reporting and sometimes/often/always infuriating in his writing: he lit a bright lamp for those who wanted to follow his example.

“Michael was no stranger to trying to make sense this kind of tragedy nor was he unfamiliar the emptiness felt in the wake of a senseless, random death. After all, he’d already learned about it the only way he ever deemed acceptable for a non hack: first-hand. In the course of his reporting he figured this lesson out again and again in Iraq, Afghanistan and in the United States, and part of his passion stemmed from a desire to make everyone else wake the fuck up and realize the value of the life we’re living.

“He did: He always sought out the hard stories, pushed for the truth, let it all hang out on the page. Looking back on the past ten years is tough for anyone, but looking back on Michael’s past ten years and you begin to understand how passionate and dedicated to this work he was, a passion that was only equaled by his dedication to his family and friends, and how much more he lived in thirty-three years than most people live in a lifetime. That’s part of what makes this all so tough: exiting, he leaves us all with little more than questions and a blank sheet of paper. Maybe that’s challenge to continue to use it to write the truth. I hope we can live up to that. He was a great friend and I will miss him terribly.”

R.I.P. Michael. You’ll be deeply missed dude.