Saturday, May 22, 2004
The Story Behind the Lynndie England Interview
Poynter Online: "Last week, KCNC-TV Denver investigative reporter Brian Maass landed an interview that the world wanted to hear. (See interviews and coverage details from KCNC.)
He interviewed Lynndie England, the woman that tabloids have dubbed 'Leash Gal.' England is the American soldier who has become an iconic symbol of American abuse of Iraqis being held at the Abu Ghraib prison. In one, she is seen smiling with a cigarette in her mouth as she leans forward and points at the genitals of a naked, hooded Iraqi. Another photo shows her holding a leash that encircles the neck of a naked detainee lying on his side.
Within a day of Maass' interview, U.S. senators who were shown more photos of prisoner abuse and alleged guard misconduct said that England is featured in even more photographs that have not been released.
Maass is, today, still the only journalist to have interviewed England.
I interviewed Maass for Poynter Online to learn more about how his interview came together and what else Maass learned that he has not yet reported.
Poynter Online: How did it happen that a Denver news crew landed the one interview everyone wanted Army Pfc. Lynndie England, who was in Ft. Bragg, North Carolina?
Maass: I had an ongoing professional relationship with one of Pfc. England's Denver-based attorneys, Rose Mary Zapor, which was key to us landing the interview. I had done a story several months earlier about one of her clients. (Ironically, he was a jail inmate and there was some videotape of him purportedly being abused in a jail cell.)
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