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Carol D. Leonnig Bio, Age, Career, Memorial Lecture, Interview, Awards

Carol D. Leonnig Bio

Carol Duhurst Leonnig is an investigative journalist from the United States. Since 2000, Carol D. Leonnig has been a staff writer at The Washington Post. She was also part of a team of national security reporters.

She won the 2014 Pulitzer Public Service Prize. The Post team’s award was for reporting that revealed the expanded American spying by the NSA.

Carol D. Leonnig Age

As the daughter of two attorneys, Leonnig was born in 1966 and is a native of Upper Marlboro in Prince George’s County, Maryland. As of 2019, Leonnig is 53 years old. Despite knowing how to make good arguments Leonnig is not the argumentative type.

Kudos to her mother, Dolly, for fostering the good ways that continue to serve her well even with Washington’s hardened insiders. In 1987 Leonnig graduated from Bryn Mawr. For more detailed info about Carol D. Leonnig visit this link.

Carol D. Leonnig Career

Carol D. Leonnig’s first job was reporting at The Philadelphia Inquirer in 1989. She afterward became a senior writer for The Charlotte Observer, where she first reported on city government. She subsequently moved to cover the state legislature and eventually became Washington correspondent for the paper.

During her time at the Observer, she was a lead reporter on several investigative projects, including one involving Bank of America’s use of federal funds to raze low-income housing near its corporate headquarters and another uncovering that Gov. Jim Hunt personally directed state funds to be used to build a major bridge in his rural hometown. Hunt apologized and canceled the project after the story about his involvement was published.

At The Washington Post, Leonnig first covered the city government of the District of Columbia and its ongoing corruption issues, then spent five years covering Washington’s federal courts. Having reported on the Bush administration and the issues surrounding prisoners indefinitely imprisoned in the detention camp in Guantanamo Bay.

She currently writes for the Posts National Desk as part of a team investigating public officials, federal agencies and government accountability. She has conducted numerous interviews on radio and television, including National Public Radio, The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer, Fox News, and MSNBC. Her Bush administration coverage has been cited in numerous books on the topic.

In 2011, Leonnig and her Post colleague Joe Stephens revealed in a series of stories how the Obama administration urged Solyndra, a solar panel manufacturer whose leading investors were linked to a major Obama fundraiser, to approve a $ 535 million federal loan.

Their stories were the first to document how White House aids to senior White House advisers pressured management and budget officials to make a decision to approve the Solyndra loan in time for a press conference they tentatively scheduled to announce the funding to the Vice President.

Their stories were the first to document how White House aides senior White House consultants to put pressure on management and budget officials to make a decision to approve the Solyndra loan in time for a press conference they had scheduled to announce the funding to the vice president.

Carol D. Leonnig Memorial Lecture

Carol D. Leonnig, the Washington Post reporter who won a Pulitzer Prize for her coverage of security lapses within the Secret Service,  delivered the 12th annual Paul J. Schatt Memorial Lecture at Arizona State University’s Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication.

Leonnig discussed investigative journalism with Leonard Downie Jr., Weil Family Professor of Journalism and former executive editor of the Washington Post. It was held at 7 p.m. in the Cronkite School’s First Amendment Forum on ASU’s Downtown Phoenix campus.

Leonnig, who has been working at the Washington Post since 2000, covers President Donald Trump in the 2016 presidential election and the investigations into Russian interference. In 2015, for her work on security failures and misconduct within the Secret Service, she was awarded the Pulitzer Prize in National Reporting.

She was also part of a Post team awarded the 2014 Pulitzer Public Service Prize to reveal the secret, wide-ranging surveillance of Americans by the U.S. government through Edward Snowden’s revelations.

Carol D. Leonnig Interview

Let’s talk about the intelligence community leaders going into Trump Tower on Jan. 6, 2017. Talk me through … why they went.

This is an interesting moment because Jim Comey has described this in some detail now, and he remembers President Obama nodding to him like: “You poor sucker. You’re going to go in there and tell the president-elect all these sorts of gruesome, salacious things that have been gathered, information that’s not verified but sure makes him look questionable.”

The view was that this was so sensational and so worrisome that the president-elect had an absolute right to know and that the intelligence community had a duty to tell him, because it made him vulnerable and because it could leak. From a reputational standpoint, the intelligence community definitely wanted to make sure they weren’t withholding this, but you can see why it would be a duty to tell him as well.

Trump had—certainly through the campaign—diminished, made fun of, mocked the idea of the Russian influence on his election. We already know a sort of insecurity is emerging in him in a very big way about whether he actually won or not. They have to be aware of this, so confronting that trait in Trump must have been a problem for them as they thought about how to present it if nothing else?

It’s a very interesting time in lots of other ways, too, because everybody assumes he’ll pivot. Everybody assumes every president, when they get elected, will somehow be different at that moment. But there’s never really been anybody like Donald Trump. The expectation that he will pivot actually isn’t borne out in any way by the way that he acts, as you’ve described at that moment.

No. He is the same man that campaigned, and he is the same man that his voters supported and were rallying for. He is a fighter; he is an angry attack dog, and he is a common man in the way in which he speaks. Sometimes that comes across to an institution like Washington and the government firmament as coarse, and yet, for his supporters, it is exactly what they want to see.

Let’s go to the meeting where Comey’s trying to hide in the curtains in the Blue Room and gets called across the floor. An awkward moment occurs. Describe that for me, will you?

Jim Comey, along with a series of law enforcement leaders, military leaders, are all in the Blue Room, and they’re there to greet and be greeted by the president. He’s thanking them; he’s congratulating them on their work. As I remember, Jim Comey was standing up against a blue curtain.

 At 6’8” he nearly was close to the sill in terms of the top of his head reaching the top of the curtain rod. Secret Service Director Joe Clancy was standing next to him. Joe Clancy is not a short man, but looked like a dwarf next to Jim.

The president called each one over, one by one, to shake hands and to thank them. [Jim] Comey describes wanting to be sure that his arm was outstretched in just such a way to create just a nice, distant handshake. But instead, the president pulls him in and goes for the hug. It’s unclear exactly why, but goes in for the hug to show that they are connected, it appears.

It’s enough for Comey to go forward to Acting Attorney General Sally Yates and a couple of others to say: “We have got to do something about it. He’s a very powerful guy.” Tell me about Yates. Who is she?

She’s a career, lifer prosecutor. Has a great reputation. Is then serving as the deputy attorney general and is also quite concerned about the rank of a person who’s under now criminal investigation, a subject, a target, whatever you say. They’re right at the heart of a criminal investigation about lying, and it may end up prompting an intelligence investigation.

She confers with the person who runs the national security division at the Department of Justice, Mary McCord, and they decide that what they need to do is to go over and alert the White House to this problem.

They meet with Don McGahn, who is the White House counsel—again, a man who has been in the job for four days—and communicate in a very formal and careful way that there are concerns about Michael Flynn’s honesty and about whether or not he could be compromised by the Russians, because what he has said publicly and what he has said to the Justice Department does not square.

And the implication being that the Russians would then have leverage on him; that if it’s true, that that kind of compromises him?

Right. Because remember at this point, it’s been publicly reported that he has told the vice president, again a man in his job for four days, Vice President Pence, and assured him that he’s not had the kinds of conversations about sanctions with Kislyak that are alleged. And Pence goes on to national television to explain this conversation. So in Yates’ mind and in Mary McCord’s mind, the Russians have a chance to get at Flynn if they want.

Who’s McGahn?

McGahn is a person who was not born to be White House counsel and was not experienced for that role. He had been for a long time FEC [Federal Election Commission], a campaign finance lawyer and consigliere to campaigns.

But now he’s in the middle of a job vetting all sorts of appointees, deciding about White House precedent and tradition, trying to figure out how to conform with that, and now hearing something that surely no White House counsel has heard on their first week.

What do you think, or what do you know, Yates and McCord thought should happen once armed with that information?

They didn’t prescribe to Don McGahn what he should do. In fact, the exchange is fascinating because he says, “Why does it matter to you that somebody on our team is lying to us, or lying to someone on the team?” And it’s clear that Yates and McCord believe this is a very vulnerable situation for the White House, as well as for Mr. Flynn, and they presume that he would be sidelined, that the White House would fire him, and that does not happen. In fact, that doesn’t happen until The Washington Post reports that he lied.

Trump says “loyalty” a lot in the conversation, I gather, at least three times. What do you think Donald Trump means by loyalty?

I think the president has in his prior life been successful by building relationships in which power is unequal, and he has the cards. I think that is what he is envisioning here: “You’re going to be my friend; I’m the boss. But ultimately this is a relationship that’s going to largely benefit me.”

Carol D. Leonnig Awards

In 2018, Carol D. Leonnig was part of the team that won the Pulitzer National Reporting Prize as a contributor to 10 stories of Russian interference with the Washington Post election in 2016.

In 2015, Leonnig won the Pulitzer Prize for National Reporting “for her smart, persistent coverage of the Secret Service, her security lapses, and the way the agency neglected its vital task: protecting the US President.”

The Washington Post was awarded the 2014 Pulitzer Public Service Prize for covering the expanded surveillance of everyday Americans by the National Security Agency based on the disclosures of former NSA contractor Edward Snowden. Leonnig was part of the reporting team whose six months of disclosure exposed the secret collection of records for all American phone calls and electronic communications by the government.

The team also discovered how much of the communication collection was authorized under secret law by a secret court. Despite the claims of President Obama that the court provided a key check on the spying power of the NSA, the Post team revealed how the top judges of the court late learned that the NSA had violated the rules of the court for years to protect the privacy of innocent people.

In 2014, for her 2013 work uncovering a bribery scandal involving Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell, Leonnig was a George Polk Award winner for investigative reporting by Long Island University. Together with fellow winners and Post colleagues Rosalind Helderman and Laura Vozzella, Leonnig helped reveal about $ 165,000 in luxury gifts and loans received from a prominent Richmond businessman by McDonnell and First Lady Maureen McDonnell. Also the couple’s efforts to use state levers to help their patron’s business.

In 2005, Leonnig was part of a seven-person team that won the Annenberg School for Communication at the University of Southern California’s Selden Ring Award for Investigative Reporting for a series of articles that revealed unhealthy levels of lead in drinking water in Washington, D.C.