Michael Gordon

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Person.png Michael Gordon   LinkedIn TwitterRdf-entity.pngRdf-icon.png
Michael Gordon.jpg
Alma materColumbia University, Colgate University
Member ofCenter for a New American Security/People, Council on Foreign Relations/Members
False stories by Gordon played a key role in raising public support for the 2003 Iraq War. His career suffered harm from that, quite the opposite.

Michael R. Gordon has been a national security correspondent for the Wall Street Journal since October 2017. Previously, he was a military and diplomacy correspondent for the New York Times for 32 years. During the first phase of the Iraq War, he was the only newspaper reporter embedded with the allied land command under General Tommy Franks, a position that "granted him unique access to cover the invasion strategy and its enactment". He and General Bernard E. Trainor have written three books together, including the best-selling "Cobra II". As a journalist for the New York Times, he was the first to report Saddam Hussein's alleged nuclear weapons program in September 2002 with the article "U.S. Says Hussein Intensifies Quest for A-Bomb Parts."[1]

Alleged Libyan CW plant at Rabta

Ten days after the 21 December 1988 Lockerbie bombing, Michael Gordon together with Steven Engelberg reported from West Germany that Imhausen-Chemie, a West German chemical company, had been serving as the "prime contractor" for an alleged Libyan chemical weapons production plant at Rabta since April 1980.

The article was based on a leak to Gordon "by US administration officials of data that the United States previously had asked West Germany to keep secret". The German government initially denied the allegations, but following further reports on the Rabta plant and pressure from the US administration, a total of three Imhausen employees, including the director, were convicted of illegally supplying CW materials to Libya in October 1991 and a fourth German national was convicted in 1996 for "facilitating Libya's acquisition of computer technology and other equipment to enhance chemical weapons development".[2]

Gordon and Engelberg won a George Polk Award for international reporting following their series of articles.

Prewar coverage of Iraqi WMD

In 2002, reporting by Gordon and Judith Miller played a key role in raising public support for the 2003 Iraq War. Their article, "Threats and Responses: The Iraqis; U.S. Says Hussein Intensifies Quest for A-Bomb Parts", asserted, "Iraq has stepped up its quest for nuclear weapons and has embarked on a worldwide hunt for materials to make an atomic bomb." Anonymous "American officials" and "intelligence experts" are the only sources. Following Miller's later refusal to reveal her source in the "outing" of CIA officer Valerie Plame, the NYT reporter spent 85 days in jail and was later released from the newspaper. The decision to release Miller also involved the controversy over the bias of her joint reporting with Gordon regarding Iraq's nuclear intentions and the Bush administration. Despite his involvement in the controversy, Gordon remained the chief military correspondent for the New York Times.[3]


  • The Generals' War: The Inside Story Of The Conflict In The Gulf (with Bernard E. Trainor, 1996)
  • Cobra II: The Inside Story of the Invasion and Occupation of Iraq (with Bernard E. Trainor, 2006)
  • The End Game: The Inside Story of the Struggle for Iraq, from George W. Bush to Barack Obama (with Bernard E. Trainor, 2013)
  • Degrade and Destroy: The Inside Story of the War Against the Islamic State (2016)


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