Spencer Ackerman is an American national security reporter and blogger. He began his career at ''The New Republic'' and wrote for ''Wired'' magazine's national security blog, ''Danger Room''. From 2013 to 2017, Ackerman held the role of national security editor at the ''Guardian US''. In 2017, Ackerman became the senior national security correspondent for ''The Daily Beast''. In 2019, he is co-hosting, with Laura Hudson, the “Citadel Dropouts,” a ''Wired'' podcast about the final season of Game of Thrones.

Life and career

Ackerman was born to a Jewish family. He attended the Bronx High School of Science in The Bronx and graduated from Rutgers University where he was an editor for the ''Daily Targum'' student paper. In 2002, he moved to Washington, D.C. to become an intern and later an associate editor at ''The New Republic'' magazine. He initially supported the Iraq War, but became disillusioned. In 2004 he started ''Iraq'd,'' a blog on ''The New Republic'' website, which chronicled the dilemma of pro-war liberals. He also wrote, with John B. Judis, what many considered the definitive article that chronicled the chain of events that led to the Plame affair. In 2006, Ackerman was fired from ''TNR'' for "insubordination" (in ''TNR'' editor Franklin Foer's account) or "irreconcilable ideological differences" (in Ackerman's). He next wrote for ''The American Prospect'' (which offered him a job within a day of his firing) and ''Talking Points Memo.'' Ackerman blogged and reported on national security issues at ''The Washington Independent'' from the paper's creation in 2008 until 2010, when he left for ''Wired.'' Ackerman next maintained a personal blog, ''Attackerman,'' which was hosted at Firedoglake from June 2008 through December 2010. On December 29, 2010, he reported that he had to move his blog, saying, "the congressional press galleries are wary of giving me permanent credentials while I’m affiliated here." In September 2011, Ackerman reported a series of articles for ''Wired,'' alleging anti-Islamic bias in FBI training materials. As a result, the FBI launched "a comprehensive review of all training and reference materials that relate in any way to religion or culture." Ackerman has subsequently worked for ''The Guardian'' and ''The Daily Beast''. At ''The Guardian'', Ackerman was part of a team of editors and reporters awarded the 2014 Pulitzer Prize for public service journalism, for reporting on Edward Snowden and the National Security Agency's warrantless surveillance programs. In May 2017, he left his position as national security editor of ''The Guardian'' to join ''The Daily Beast''.


Ackerman was a member of the private Google Groups forum JournoList. Several JournoList comments by Ackerman on topics such as the Jeremiah Wright controversy were revealed by the ''Daily Caller.'' Ackerman, then of the ''Washington Independent,'' wrote, "I do not endorse a Popular Front, nor do I think you need to. It’s not necessary to jump to Wright-qua-Wright’s defense. What is necessary is to raise the cost on the right of going after the left. In other words, find a rightwinger’s icand smash it through a plate-glass window. Take a snapshot of the bleeding mess and send it out in a Christmas card to let the right know that it needs to live in a state of constant fear. Obviously I mean this rhetorically." James Taranto of the ''Wall Street Journal'' took issue with a particularly controversial e-mail from Ackerman: "If the right forces us all to either defend Wright or tear him down, no matter what we choose, we lose the game they've put upon us. Instead, take one of them — Fred Barnes, Karl Rove, who cares – and call them racists". A spokesman for ''Wired'' said that Ackerman would keep his job, saying "We hired Spencer Ackerman for his well-informed national security reporting and fully support it. Anyone with access to Google can discover his political leanings."

CIA keeps photos of abused detainees

On March 28, 2016, writing in ''The Guardian,'' Ackerman reported that during the early 2000s, the CIA had taken photos of captives and detainees who were naked, before transporting them through extraordinary rendition to foreign countries for interrogation, often under torture. These photos are classified and are retained by the CIA. The CIA had illegally destroyed its extensive library of videotapes documenting the torture of the men and boys it had apprehended and detained through its covert "snatch teams". But it has retained these photos of naked, bruised and beaten detainees. Observers have seen some, which they describe as "gruesome". One commentator suggested it was part of a pattern of sexual abuse of prisoners. Another said that the photos were taken to show the condition of the prisoners before rendition.

Selected bibliography



External links

Danger Room
– Ackerman's national security blog at ''Wired''
– Ackerman's personal blog
– Ackerman's personal blog, at Firedoglake, from 2008 to 2010
Too Hot For TNR
– Ackerman's personal blog from 2006 to 2008
List of video conversations with Ackerman
on BloggingHeads.tv
Articles by Ackerman at ''The New Republic''Articles by Ackerman at ''The American Prospect''
by Ackerman in Salon, November 16, 2004
Q&A: Spencer Ackerman
2009 interview with Ackerman at ''Columbia Journalism Review'' {{DEFAULTSORT:Ackerman, Spencer Category:Place of birth missing (living people) Category:Year of birth missing (living people) Category:Living people Category:American male bloggers Category:American bloggers Category:Jewish American journalists Category:The New Republic people Category:Rutgers University alumni Category:The Guardian journalists Category:21st-century American non-fiction writers