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About Richard Miniter

FOR READERS WITH TIME TO SPARE

Richard Miniter is an award-winning investigative journalist, bestselling author, radio host, public speaker and world traveler.

He is the author of two New York Times best selling books on terrorism, Losing bin Laden and Shadow War.

His latest book is “Mastermind,” the first biography of Khalid Shaikh Mohammed – who planned the Sept. 11 attacks and virtually every other major al Qaeda attack.

Currently he writes the bi-weekly “National Security” column for Forbes.com and a weekly column that appears in a number of newspapers across America.

He is a former Editorial Page Writer for The Wall Street Journal Europe, member of the Sunday Times (of London) Insight team of investigative reporters, and the Editorial Page Editor and Vice President of Opinion of the Washington Times.

He has been published in The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, The Christian Science Monitor, The Atlantic Monthly, Newsweek, Forbes, The New Republic, National Review and Reader’s Digest, among other publications. In addition, his articles have appeared in newspapers throughout Europe, Asia and Australia.

Early life

The eldest child of Richard F. and Susan C. Miniter, Richard T. Miniter was born in New York City and grew up in Rosendale, New York in the folds of the Catskill Mountains. He attended John A. Coleman Catholic High School, where he was on the varsity cross-country and track teams for three years.

His sophomore summer, in his high school years, was spent in West Germany, with side trips to Yugoslavia, Austria, Switzerland, Greece and Italy with longtime friend Joseph McInerney.  The travel bug bit hard.

He attended Vassar College in Poughkeepsie, New York and was a nationally ranked member of the college’s parliamentary debate team.  He debated in the final round of the North American Debate Championships live on Canadian television in 1989. He graduated from Vassar College with a degree in philosophy in 1990.  He wrote his senior thesis on German liberal Wilhelm Van Humboldt’s “The Limits of State Action.”  A condensed version was published in The Freeman, a magazine produced by The Foundation for Economic Education.

Vassar College

He was also an editor of the Vassar Spectator, along with Marc Thiessen (later a presidential speech writer for George W. Bush) and Jonathan Karl (later a Pentagon and congressional correspondent for ABC News).

After Vassar, Miniter worked for the American Spectator, and was an environmental policy analyst at the Competitive Enterprise Institute.

In 1991 and 1992, he was a producer for the weekly public television series “Techno Politics,” which covered the politics of science, technology and the environment.

He joined Insight magazine, a national news weekly, as a senior writer in 1992, covering national politics.

In June 1996, he launched “Enterprising Women,” a weekly public radio series profiling women executives and entrepreneurs.  CNN hailed the series as “inspiring” and the New York Post called it “the radio equivalent of a female Forbes magazine.”  The series, which reached some 5 million people per week, ended in June 1997.

Reporter-At-Large

From 1997 to 2000, Miniter reported for newspapers and magazines from Western Europe, sub-Saharan Africa, and Southeast Asia. He traveled with rebels into war zones in Uganda, Sudan and Burma and along smugglers’ routes in Laos, Thailand and Cambodia.

Traveling in Burma with the Karen rebels, Miniter became hooked on the story of the tribal rebels in 1997.  He would make six trips to the jungles of Southeast Asia over the next three years – but could never find a magazine interested in the incredible stories he found.  He learned that without a clear U.S. link American editors didn’t care.

Reporting from Zimbabwe, Miniter wrote “Too Many Elephants” for the Wall Street Journal about how a scientific hunting program had actually saved the elephant herds of southern Africa from extinction.

Miniter traveled the southern Sudan war-zones in 1999.  His investigation into the slave trade there was published in The Atlantic Monthly, “The False Promise of Slave Redemption,” in July 1999.

Hired by renowned Wall Street Journal editor Robert Bartley in 2000, Miniter was sent to Brussels as an editorial page writer at The Wall Street Journal Europe and editor of its weekly “Business Europe” column. He also wrote a weekly column, “The Visible Hand”, for The Wall Street Journal’s  OpinionJournal.com.

While at the Journal, Random House published Miniter’s first book, The Myth of Market Share. The book argues that market share does not tend to generate above average profits. Executives should not pursue mergers based on size alone and regulators should not bother to stop them.  The Washington Post called it “must reading for business executives.”

Shortly after the September 11 attacks, Miniter left the Journal and joined the investigative reporting team of the Sunday Times, Britain’s largest “quality” paper. He co-wrote “The Road to Ground Zero,” a four-part, 90,000-word series on the 9-11 attacks.   That series won an award from the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists.

In 2003, as a senior fellow of the Centre for the New Europe in Brussels, Miniter founded “The Capitalist Ball,” an annual formal party that awards distinguished European classical liberals with busts of Adam Smith.  The first ball was held on the floor of the Belgium Stock Exchange.  It was the first pan-European gathering of free-market advocates open to non-academics. It continues as an annual event in Brussels, as one of the highlights of the social season.

Author

In early 2002, Miniter was contracted to write a book that became Losing bin Laden. He would spend the next 18 months reporting from Khartoum, Cairo, Frankfurt, Hamburg, London, Paris and Washington, D.C. to offer an account of the bin Laden menace during the Clinton years. It became a New York Times bestseller, peaking at no. 10 in September 2003. Losing bin Laden was cited on NBC’s Meet the Press by host Tim Russert and by Washington Post columnists George F. Will and Robert Novak.

Miniter’s next book was drawn from on the ground reporting in Iraq, Kuwait, Egypt, Sudan, Hong Kong, Singapore and the Philippines. Shadow War: The Untold Story of How America is Winning the War on Terror became his second New York Times bestseller, debuting at no.7.

Miniter’s next book was entitled Disinformation: 22 Media Myths That Undermine the War on Terror

Reporting from Darfur, he was the first western journalist to interview one of the warlords carrying out the raids that caused a humanitarian crisis that aroused world-wide concern.  Miniter’s interview was a front-page exclusive in the Sunday Times of London in 2004.

Watch Q&A with Richard Miniter:

Miniter broke the story that the U.S. Ambassador to Pakistan was refusing to distribute bin Laden wanted posters,  printed by the U.S. government, for the New York Sun in 2006.  The ambassador was transferred by President Bush.

In 2006, he was one of the editors of Ayaan Hirsi Ali’s bestselling book Infidel in Paris, France.

He joined the Washington Times in October 2008 as a consultant to redesign the content, format, functionality and message of its editorial and op-ed sections and was announced as Editor of the Editorial Pages and Vice President of Opinion in March 2009.  Miniter recruited a new staff drawn from major newspapers and magazines, trimmed nearly $1 million in excess costs and boosted web traffic.

Leaving long before he planned, he departed just before John Soloman, Executive Editor and Vice President of Content and other executives in October 2009. By December 2009, some 70% of the staff had left.  Squabbling among the sons of Rev. Sun Yung Mood seemed to spell the end of Washington’s legendary second paper.  As the paper publicly mulled bankruptcy, Miniter sued for non-payment of wages and breach of contract.  In September 2010, the case of Miniter v. Moon et al. and the related EEOC complaint were settled. Citing a confidentially clause, Miniter refused to disclose the terms, but said “I am very, very happy with the just and equitable outcome.”

He spent much of 2009 and 2010 researching the most lethal member of al Qaeda.

Miniter’s latest book is “Mastermind,” the first-ever book-length investigation into Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, the confessed mastermind of the 9-11 attacks.  “Mastermind” was published by an imprint of Penguin on May 2, 2011.

Media appearances

Miniter appears regularly on television and radio to discuss al Qaeda and global terrorism. He has appeared on every major American cable news network including CNN, CNBC, C-Span, Fox News Channel, Fox Business Channel, and MSNBC. He has been featured on Late Edition with Wolf Blitzer, The O’Reilly Factor, Hannity & Colmes, Kudlow and Company and Special Report with Brit Hume, among others.

He has been a featured guest on more than 2,000 talk radio shows, including almost every top ten program.

He has appeared on overseas television networks including ABC (Australia), Al Jazeera (Qatar), CBC (Canada), ITV and Sky News (U.K), LBC (Lebanon), and RAI (Italy), and radio programs in Australia, Belgium, France, Ireland, and Italy.

Public speaking

Miniter has given speeches across America, Europe and Asia, addressing audiences of executives, students, judges, lawyers and government officials.  A partial list follows:

  • Young President’s Organization (YPO)
  • Manhattan Young Republicans (NY)
  • National Press Club (DC)
  • World Journalism Institute (NY)
  • National Journalism Center (DC)
  • Business Roundtable of Singapore
  • Hong Kong Foreign Correspondents Club
  • Royal Military College of Belgium
  • C-PAC (DC)
  • University of Ghent (Belgium)
  • Tea Party Patriots national convention (Atlanta)
  • Oslo Freedom Forum (Norway)

 

Personal

In 2005 and 2006, he ran with the bulls at Pamplona in the annual Spanish Festival of San Fermin.

Miniter is the older brother of Brendan Miniter, a ten-year veteran of the Wall Street Journal editorial page and now director of publications at a division of the George W. Bush Library,and Frank Miniter, who is the executive editor of the NRA‘s American Hunter magazine and author of the book The Politically Incorrect Guide to Hunting.

Henry Miniter, another brother, recently published a novel “Last Rights” in 2011, while his youngest brother, Liam, recently made a pilgrimage to Medjuorje in Yugoslavia.   Miniter’s only sister, Susanne, is married to David Warren, the founder of Armor Dynamics.

Miniter’s father, Richard F. Miniter, published The Things I Want Most, a book about their family adopting a disadvantaged child in 1999.  Miniter’s mother, Susan, runs SCM Financial Group, a financial-services firm in Stone Ridge, New York.

AWARDS

A partial list of journalism awards won by Miniter include:

The Felix Morely Prize (Institute for Humane Studies), several awards from the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. and the grand prize of the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (shared with the investigative teams of The Sunday Times of London).