Tuesday, June 12, 2007

NPR reporter has CIA connection at home

By Grandma, Unknown News
Posted Sept. 17, 2003

National Public Radio's (NPR) Senior Foreign Correspondent Anne Garrels was assigned to Baghdad during the U.S. attack and occupation. I listened to some of her reports, without giving her work much thought one way or the other. Maybe you did, too.

Garrels has now written a book, and she's pimping it on all the NPR shows. On NPR's Fresh Air a few days ago, we learned that Garrels' husband, Vint Lawrence, who wrote portions of her book, is a "former" CIA agent.

Terry Gross, the host, didn't seem to know it, and didn't seem to think it was very newsworthy when it came out. She was fawning over — er, I mean interviewing Garrels and her husband, and asked Lawrence about his worries while his wife was in Baghdad during the bombing. Something about Lawrence's nonchalant answer made Gross follow up with, "So you've been in war zones too?"

"Yes," he replied, so Gross asked, in what capacity? Lawrence dryly explained that he had been a CIA agent, "and I sort of know what it's like to be in a rather dicey situation..." and the subject promptly changed.

Anne Garrels has been a reporter for 25 years. I have no idea whether she's a good reporter or a hack, or whether or how her husband's CIA connection might color her work as a reporter.

It simply seems to me like a tremendously pertinent potential conflict of interest, when Garrels is assigned to cover international conflicts. At the very least, shouldn't her husband's CIA work be mentioned as a disclaimer in every report she files?

Or is such a relationship so commonplace it merits no mention on the air?