Dana Priest

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Dana Priest is a senior investigative reporter with the Washington Post, specializing in national security and health care. With William Arkin, she is one of the two lead reporters for the Post's new "Top Secret America" website on the United States intelligence community.

She has been recognized with two Pulitzer Prizes:

U.S. intelligence community

In July 2010, the Post announced its "Top Secret America" project. This focused on a different idea than the military-industrial complex first mentioned by Dwight D. Eisenhower: an industrial-intelligence community that emerged after the 9/11 attacks. Art House, director of communications for the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI), in a pre-publication internal memorandum, expressed concern that it would be negative. [1]


Covering the extrajudicial detention and interrogation methods after 9/11, she said the CIA approach using harsh methods apparently started once Abu Zubaydah was captured, based in part on the lead from Ibn Sheikh al-Libi.[2]

Iraq War

Analyzing the justification of the Iraq War, she wrote, in 2004, that the Office of Special Plans and the Policy Counterterrorism Evaluation Group, did not actually collect intelligence as alleged by some Democrats and investigative reporter Seymour Hersh. PCTEG and OSP did, however, do analysis that presented a more hard-line alternative to the official intelligence, much as had the "Team B" analyses done in the mid-1970s. OSP and concluded that Saddam Hussein's Iraq and al Qaeda were much more closely and conclusively linked than the intelligence community believed. [3]

With respect to operations before the start of the war, she described the Scorpions covert action unit. [4]

She reported on the removal of a terrorist suspect from Iraq, Hiwa Abdul Rahman Rashul. Jack Goldsmith, Assistant Attorney General, Office of Legal Counsel, at the Department of Justice, advised the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) that he was protected by the Geneva Conventions, and covertly transporting him out of Iraq was a violation of the Geneva Conventions.[5] Rashul was the first ghost detainee to be publicly acknowledged by American authorities, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld acknowledged that he ordered Rashul to be imprisoned, off the books, at the request of DCI George Tenet.

Quoting W. Patrick Lang with respect to improvised explosive devices in the Iraq War, it was observed that the U.S. was surprised that the Iraqis used U.S. techniques, since they had been in U.S. military schools until the 1967 Arab-Israeli War. [6]


  1. Marc Armbinder (16 July 2010), Internal Memo: Intelligence Community Frets About Washington Post Series, Atlantic Monthly
  2. Dana Priest (27 June 2004), "CIA Puts Harsh Tactics On Hold", Washington Post
  3. Dana Priest (March 13, 2004), "Pentagon Shadow Loses Some Mystique: Feith's Shops Did Not Usurp Intelligence Agencies on Iraq, Hill Probers Find", Washington Post
  4. Dana Priest and Josh White (August 3, 2005), "Before the War, CIA Reportedly Trained a Team of Iraqis to Aid U.S.", Washington Post
  5. Dana Priest (October 24, 2004), "Memo Lets CIA Take Detainees Out of Iraq: Practice Is Called Serious Breach of Geneva Conventions", Washington Post
  6. Bradley Graham and Dana Priest (3 May 2005), "Insurgents Using U.S. Techniques: Iraqis' Borrowing Could Help American Forces' Response", Washington Post