National Press Club

Kudos to IRE Winners Keith Epstein and James Bamford

March 31, 2009

Two Club members won prizes in the annual contest sponsored by Investigative Reporters and Editors.

Keith Epstein and four colleagues of BusinessWeek won the magazine/specialty publication contest for "Cyber-War."

IRE said: "More frightening to read than a modern techno-thriller novel, BusinessWeek's real-life series of stories on the growing cyber-war between East and West rivets the reader with dozens of breaches in American security networks. The writers pieced together seemingly unconnected online security problems at several federal departments to reveal a wide-scale problem. Working at levels where government security made reporting extremely difficult, the stories resulted in a change in Pentagon contracting policy and briefing procedures for military and intelligence officials. The series shows work on a global scale that reaches the highest levels of government policy."

James Bamford won the Book Award for "The Shadow Factory."

IRE said: "James Bamford does it again – and wins his third IRE Award – for the latest exposé of the National Security Agency. No journalist has invested more time scrutinizing the NSA, one of the most secretive agencies in the world. Among his findings, Bamford reveals that the agency had been targeting the Yemeni home that served as Osama bin Laden's operations center prior to 9/11 but had never told the FBI that the al-Qaida terrorists were there. This is journalism that influences the national conversation on a vital topic and Bamford has demonstrated an unparalleled ability to penetrate the most secretive of institutions."

"What's remarkable about these stellar investigations this year is that they were produced under the worst economic pressures our industry has ever faced," said James V. Grimaldi, chairman of the contest committee. "Some news organizations facing possible bankruptcy and massive job cuts have continued to pursue watchdog journalism that will make our society and the world a better place to live."

URE says the awards recognize the most outstanding watchdog journalism of the year. The contest covers 15 categories across media platforms and a range of market sizes. The contest, which began in 1979, received more than 380 entries this year.