By: Dave Astor
Iraq-related coverage won the two top honors at Wednesday night’s Raymond Clapper Memorial Awards ceremony in Washington.
First place went to Jonathan Landay and Warren Strobel of the Knight Ridder Washington Bureau for their coverage of the Bush administration’s use of faulty intelligence in planning the Iraq war. Among their stories were those discrediting claims Iraq had tried to buy uranium in Africa and showing how the administration ignored CIA warnings that many alleged justifications for the war couldn’t be verified.
Second place went to United Press International Investigations Editor Mark Benjamin for his series exposing problems of sick, wounded, and injured U.S. soldiers — many of whom served in Iraq. Benjamin, for instance, wrote that hundreds of soldiers in medical hold at Georgia’s Fort Stewart were kept in hot cement barracks without running water while they waited — sometimes months — to be treated. He also reported similar conditions at Fort Knox. Benjamin’s stories led to better medical treatment for troops.
Benjamin, 33, has been with UPI for three years — focusing on medical and military issues the last two. Landay, 48, has been the Knight Ridder Washington bureau’s national security correspondent since 1999. Strobel, 41, has covered foreign affairs for the bureau since 2001.
The Clapper awards are sponsored by the Senate Press Gallery.