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Seymour Hersh

Writer / Journalist

Born: 8 April 1937
Birthplace: Chicago, Illinois
Best known as: The journalist who broke the story of the My Lai Massacre
Seymour "Sy" Hersh made his name and career by reporting in 1969 on the U.S. court martial of Lt. William Calley, the commanding officer in what became known as the My Lai Massacre, an incident in South Vietnam where U.S. soldiers tortured and killed nearly 500 civilians. Hersh won the Pulitzer Prize for the story and became one of the most famous journalists in the country. During the 1970s he reported for The New York Times, creating more controversy with reports on the covert operations of the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency. Consistently controversial, Hersh has written books that tell of Henry Kissinger's secret bombing of Cambodia, John Kennedy's wild and reckless White House, Israel's behind-the-scenes attempts to get nuclear weapons and General Barry McCaffrey's behavior during the Gulf War. Held in high esteem by many, he is also considered by some to be an unreliable rogue. In 2001 he came under fire by the Pentagon (again) for reporting on military actions in Afghanistan; in 2004 he reported in The New Yorker that Iraqi prisoner abuse at Abu Ghraib jail in Baghdad, which focused initially on low-ranking U.S. soldiers (including Lynndie England), could be traced to orders by Donald Rumsfeld -- orders President George W. Bush had been informed of ahead of time. The White House denied the allegations, and Hersh was himself once more the subject of headlines. In August of 2004 he published the book Chain of Command: The Road From 9/11 to Abu Ghraib, based on his magazine reports.

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