Souad Mekhennet

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Person.png Souad Mekhennet   LinkedInRdf-entity.pngRdf-icon.png
(journalist, spook?)
Souad Mekhennet.jpg
Frankfurt am Main, Germany
Alma materHenri Nannen School for Journalism, Frankfurt University
Member ofFriends of Europe/Young European Leaders/2012, Global Panel Foundation/Board of Advisors, WEF/Young Global Leaders/2014
Spooky journalist for the Washington Post and New York Times

Employment.png Correspondent/ Staff writer

In office
Mar 2014 - Present
EmployerThe Washington Post

Employment.png Reporter

In office
Feb 2004 - Jul 2013
Succeeded bySouad Mekhennet

Employment.png Reporter

In office
2003 - 2013
EmployerNew York Times
Succeeded byMartin Kragh, James Gordon Meek

Souad Mekhennet is a German journalist and author who has written or worked for The New York Times, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, The Washington Post, The Daily Beast and German television channel ZDF.

She is a visiting fellow at School for Advanced and International Studies (SAIS) at Johns Hopkins University and the New America Foundation. She was selected a Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum in 2014,[1] and a Young European Leader in 2012 by the lobby group Friends of Europe. She is a member of the intelligence-connected Global Panel Foundation, which "works discreetly behind the scenes in support of governments, institutions and the private sector".

Early life and education

Mekhennet was born in 1978, the daughter of a Turkish mother and a Moroccan father; she grew up principally in Germany, but spent some years of her childhood in Morocco.[2][3] She attended the Henri Nannen School for Journalism in Hamburg and the Johann-Wolfgang Goethe University in Frankfurt.[4]



Since 9/11, Mekhennet has covered conflicts and terrorist attacks in Europe, North Africa and the Middle East. She was one of two Times reporters who published the first story on Khaled el-Masri, a German citizen, who was detained, flown to Afghanistan, interrogated and allegedly tortured by the CIA for several months. She also worked on the series Inside the Jihad, published between 2007 and 2008, in which she and her colleague Michael Moss interviewed various jihadist leaders, including the head of Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb. In February 2015, she was the lead reporter of a Washington Post story that first revealed the true identity of the ISIS militant known as "Jihadi John".[5]

Together with Ellen Nakashima, a national security reporter for the Washington Post, Mekhennet visited the Ecuadorian embassy in London to interview Assange in December 2017. According to notes by a UC Global guard at the embassy, Mekhennet was not allowed inside because she did not have her passport.[6]

In April 2020, after 25,000 older email addresses and passwords belonging to the National Institutes of Health, the World Health Organization and the Gates Foundation were leaked online, she framed the story as a "neo-Nazis and white supremacists...deploying it online to fuel disinformation"[7]


Mekhennet currently holds fellowships with the Weatherhead Center for International Affairs at Harvard University, the School of Advanced International Studies at Johns Hopkins University,[8] the Geneva Center for Security Policy,[4] and New America.[9] She is the 13th Recipient of the Hanno R. Ellenbogen Citizenship Award jointly with conservationist Tony Fitzjohn presented annually by the Prague Society for International Cooperation and Global Panel Foundation. She is a European Young Leader (EYL40) alumni.


She is the co-author of two books in German: Islam (2006) and Die Kinder des Dschihad: Die neue Generation des islamistischen Terrors (2008); and one in English, with Nicholas Kulish: The Eternal Nazi: From Mauthausen to Cairo, the Relentless Pursuit of SS Doctor Aribert Heim (2014). Her memoir, I Was Told to Come Alone: My Journey Behind the Lines of Jihad, was published in 2017.[10]


  • Mekhennet, Souad and Michael Hanfeld. Islam. Würzburg: Arena (2006)
  • Mekhennet, Souad, Michael Hanfeld, and Claudia Satter. Die Kinder des Dschihad: Die neue Generation des islamistischen Terrors. Munich: Piper Taschenbuch (2008), ISBN 3-4920-4933-8
  • Mekhennet, Souad and Nicholas Kulish. The Eternal Nazi: From Mauthausen to Cairo, the Relentless Pursuit of SS Doctor Aribert Heim. New York: Penguin Random House (2014), ISBN 0-3855-3243-1[11]
  • Mekhennet, Souad. I Was Told to Come Alone: My Journey Behind the Lines of Jihad. New York: Henry Holt and Co. (2017)[10]


Event Participated in

Munich Security Conference/202218 February 202220 February 2022Munich
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