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For the Media

Iraq War, Journalistic Ethics & National Security Analyzed at AU Forum

WHAT: A Question of Conscience: panel discussion on journalistic ethics and national security

WHO: Katharine Gun, former British secret service officer
           Peter Earnest, retired CIA officer; executive director, International Spy Museum
           Norman Solomon, journalist, author, and anti-war activist
           Ray McGovern, retired CIA officer and political activist
           Martin Bright, reporter, New Statesman
           Daniel Ellsberg, author and former U.S. military analyst at the Rand Corp.
           Marcia and Thomas Mitchell, authors, The Spy Who Tried to Stop a War

WHEN:  8:10 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 24

WHERE:   Room 2, Ward Circle Building, American University, 4400 Massachusetts Avenue, NW, Washington, DC 20016

WASHINGTON, D.C.--American University’s Department of History, Nuclear Studies Institute, and International Peace and Conflict Resolution Program will host a symposium on Wednesday, September 24, at 8:10 p.m. in AU’s Ward Circle Building to discuss former British secret service officer Katharine Gun’s 2003 leak of confidential government information in an effort to prevent the Iraq war.

Moderated by AU professor of history Peter Kuznick, the panel will discuss varying perspectives on Gun’s case, as well as comment on broader issues of whistle blowing, publishing classified information, and maintaining national security while reporting important information. 

In February 2003, Gun, then working as a government translator, copied and released confidential documents detailing U.S. spy operations in the United Nations Security Council.  Despite significant repercussions, including the withdrawal of a Security Council resolution supporting the invasion of Iraq, most of the American media stifled Gun’s story.  The new book, The Spy Who Tried to Stop a War, by Marcia and Thomas Mitchell, details her case.

Panelists include former CIA officer and spokesman Peter Earnest, journalist and author Norman Solomon, intelligence analyst Ray McGovern, and whistle-blowing icon Daniel Ellsberg of the 1971 Pentagon Papers case.  Gun and Martin Bright, who was then editor of the London Observer, which published her leak, as well as Marcia and Thomas Mitchell, will also speak at the event.

American University is a leader in global education, enrolling a diverse student body from throughout the United States and nearly 140 countries. Located in Washington, D.C., the university provides opportunities for academic excellence, public service, and internships in the nation’s capital and around the world.