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WaPo’s Smith Explains Why He’s Jumping Ship

WaPo‘s Jeffrey Smith, a staple at the publication for 25 years, explains why he’s leaving. Most of the quotes in the Center for Public Integrity Center statement are brain splitting boring, but Smith at least provides some insight.

WaPo has been a “fine home” but…

Center Hires R. Jeffrey Smith as National Security Editor
Washington, D.C. September 14, 2011 – Veteran Washington Post investigative reporter R. Jeffrey Smith has been named managing editor of the National Security Reporting Desk at the Center for Public Integrity, one of the country’s oldest and largest nonprofit investigative news organizations.

Smith worked for 25 years in a series of key reporting and editorial roles at The Washington Post. In 2006, he won the Pulitzer Prize for Investigative Reporting, along with two colleagues at the Post, for articles on House Majority Leader Tom DeLay and lobbyist Jack Abramoff. Smith was also a finalist with other Post reporters for the Pulitzer Prize in international reporting in 1999 (from Kosovo), and a finalist with others for the Pulitzer Prize in national reporting in 2005 (about Abu Ghraib and military prisoner abuse).

“Jeff Smith is one of the nation’s leading investigative reporters in the areas of Pentagon spending, nuclear weapons and national security,” said Executive Director William E. Buzenberg. “I am delighted to have him join the Center for Public Integrity’s growing cadre of veteran investigative journalists.”

Smith joined The Washington Post in 1986 as national security correspondent, and for the next ten years wrote about defense, intelligence and foreign policy matters, including policymaking at the State Department, Pentagon, and White House. He also focused on conflict and terrorism in the Middle East; politics and military affairs in Asia; and arms proliferation. Prior to that, Smith was a senior writer for the News and Comment section of Science Magazine where he won a National Magazine Award in 1986 for writing about arms control.

“The Center has been conducting first-rate investigations for years, expertly holding decision-makers and others in Washington accountable for their actions through objective, nonpartisan reports,” said Smith. “While the Post has been a fine home, I now relish the chance to help widen the Center’s scope. We’re going to dig deeply, and will sometimes partner with others, to put more information before the public at a moment when national security spending and policies are attracting new attention and discussion.”

Support for the Center’s National Security Desk comes, in part, from the Ploughshares Fund.

“We are pleased to be among the first to support the work of Jeffrey Smith and the new National Security Reporting Desk,” said Paul Carroll, Program Director of Ploughshares Fund. “The national budget debate needs the kind of rigorous investigative reporting that Smith will bring. We are confident that his expertise and experience in national defense, particularly on nuclear policy, will greatly inform the public’s understanding of these key issues.”

Smith holds a bachelor’s degree in political science and public policy from Duke University and a Master of Science degree from the Columbia University School of Journalism. He is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations. He starts at the Center September 26, 2011.

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