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
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
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
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 ic
and 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.
External linksDanger Room
– Ackerman's national security blog at ''Wired
– Ackerman's personal blogAttackerman
– Ackerman's personal blog, at Firedoglake
, from 2008 to 2010Too Hot For TNR
– Ackerman's personal blog from 2006 to 2008List of video conversations with Ackerman
on BloggingHeads.tvArticles by Ackerman at ''The New Republic''Articles by Ackerman at ''The American Prospect''
by Ackerman in Salon
, November 16, 2004Q&A: Spencer Ackerman
2009 interview with Ackerman at ''Columbia Journalism Review
Category:Place of birth missing (living people)
Category:Year of birth missing (living people)
Category:American male 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