Karen Breslau

Stories by Karen Breslau

  • Q&Amp;A: Shades Of Gray

    On Monday, Gray Davis will step down as governor of California, handing over his job to Arnold Schwarzenegger after being defeated by the actor-turned-politican in last month's historic recall election. In addition to managing what would have been an extraordinary transition in any case, Davis spent his final weeks in office trying to coordinate the state's recovery from the most devastating wildfires in California history. But late last week, with flames finally doused and federal assistance on the way for victims, an exhausted Davis stopped by his old campaign office in Los Angeles, now piled high with boxes and disconnected phones, to sift through a bit of his own personal history.The governor, while exhausted, seems to be taking the transition in stride and with good grace, at least outwardly. NEWSWEEK's Karen Breslau spoke with him about Schwarzenegger, show biz, life after politics --and how he found perspective during his final days in office. Excerpts:NEWSWEEK: You lost your...
  • The First Lady: The Inoculator

    Looking Jackie O-perfect in her white shoulderless cocktail dress last Tuesday night, Maria Shriver seemed to have finally overcome any lingering qualms about her husband's political ambitions. Flanked by her beaming parents and brothers, Democratic royalty all, Shriver stood alongside the newly elected governor of California and waved to a ballroom full of cheering Republicans--a bipartisan image the state's new First Couple hope will become emblematic of the Schwarzenegger administration. "You can be sure the irony of this scene was not lost on Maria," says a close friend of Shriver's.Groping? Hitler? All the mud of California's messy recall campaign was seemingly wiped away in that carefully crafted instant. While it's too soon to call Arnold Schwarzenegger's latest production "Camelot West," Shriver has emerged as the keeper of the flame, not to mention defender-in-chief of her husband's image. "Anybody goes after me and she gets fierce," Schwarzenegger told NEWSWEEK. That was...
  • Interview: Striking A Chord

    After winning California's recall election in a landslide last week, Arnold Schwarzenegger spoke with NEWSWEEK's Karen Breslau. Excerpts:Breslau: Your victory over Governor Davis was a result in part of the tremendous anger California voters have about the bad state of their economy. Could this same discontent hurt President Bush in his re-election bid?Schwarzenegger: That's not what I heard on the campaign trail. What I heard on the campaign trail was Sacramento and the Davis administration has caused this. What faces us here is self-inflicted wounds, not wounds from Washington. Bush has nothing to do at all with our high workers-comp costs, the fact that we have the highest energy costs, the incredible amount of businesses leaving California. It's not America that has the problem, it's California that has the problem. People don't want to take it any longer. Bush has nothing do with that; I have never heard anyone say that he did.There's already speculation that as a Republican...
  • Are We There Yet?

    By the time it was over, the Great California Recall of 2003, which began as a kind of amusing, exasperating freak show--"It's democracy at its best!" "No, it's politics at its worst!"--settled down to a more depressingly familiar spectacle: a nasty spitting match between two desperate pols that has nothing at all to do with the many problems facing the nation's most populous state.Take a moment to review. With a few days to go before they would have to choose the person to lead them out of the tax crunch and the energy crunch and the jobs crunch and the housing crunch and the education crunch, here is what Californians heard from the "front runners." Gov. Gray Davis expressed deep disappointment that Arnold Schwarzenegger had been accused of groping countless women over the years and had, in his younger days, allegedly expressed his admiration for Adolf Hitler--and even mimicked a Nazi salute.The groping charges broke in the Los Angeles Times, on the morning Schwarzenegger launched...
  • Cut! No Sequels, Please.

    The big-budget thriller that began with Arnold Schwarzenegger's dropping a bomb on "The Tonight Show" ends with next Tuesday's recall vote--but not before a climactic chase scene that's one part "Terminator 3" and one part "Meet the Press." The last days of the bizarre contest to recall California Gov. Gray Davis will literally find Schwarzenegger barreling down the state's highways in a monster bus called "Running Man," with GOP support troops, including Rudy Giuliani, following close behind aboard "Total Recall." Bringing up the rear will be several hundred reporters (from at least five countries) riding in buses labeled--what else?--"Predator One," "Predator Two" and so on. All that's missing from the stunt, it seems, is Gray Davis, a la "T3," dangling from a crane.Only a week ago, it looked as though this cliff-hanger might have a long intermission. A panel of federal judges ruled to postpone the election until March, by which time California would have eliminated its outdated...
  • Arnold's Double Whammy

    Arnold Schwarzenegger is known in Hollywood for having total control over any set he works on. But at the Thursday premiere of his flashy bus tour, the "California Comeback Express," unruly extras threatened to upset the plot line of his campaign finale.Instead of dutifully reporting on the extravagant special effects and adoring crowds on day one of the candidate's triumphant 500-mile ride from San Diego to Sacramento, reporters were in a feeding frenzy from morning until night, once again over unsavory allegations from Schwarzenegger's past. The day began with a report in the Los Angeles Times containing graphic allegations by several unnamed women claiming they had been groped or sexually harassed by Schwarzenegger on movie sets and other Hollywood settings as recently as three years ago. By evening, the campaign was trying to defuse another piece of stray ordinance from Schwarzenegger's "Pumping Iron" days: that he had reportedly expressed admiration for Adolf Hitler in...
  • Arnold's Big Mo

    Maybe the producers of the Game Show Network thought they were being clever by airing the first episode of "Who Wants to be Governor of California?" on the same night as the debate featuring the five major candidates vying to replace Gov. Gray Davis.The political debate, critics sneered, was to be a totally canned affair, with participants rattling off rehearsed answers to questions that had been distributed to the public-and the candidates-two weeks ago.Even Arnold Schwarzenegger, under fire for limiting his debate participation to the only event with pre-announced questions, sent a letter to the organizers, urging them to change the format. But as it turned out, no one who saw last night's free-for-all in Sacramento had to switch channels for comic relief. The debate, ripe with accusations, interruptions, barbs and knee-slapping ripostes, was more entertaining than any game show. At one point, the exasperated moderator said he was going to have to adjust his medication if the...
  • Arnold's Chief Barnstormer

    With politics in her DNA and nearly 20 years of experience as a television journalist, it's not easy to stump Maria Shriver.She wows an audience in San Francisco with her campaign pitch for her husband, Arnold Schwarzenegger, "10 Things You Should Know About Arnold," before deftly fielding questions about whether she thinks the press has been fair to him (no) to whether, as a Democrat, she favors the California recall (yes).But when someone asks "What kind of First Lady would you be?" Shriver is--momentarily--at a loss for words. "I have no clue," she says, before quickly adding with a touch of Schwarzeneggerian bravado. "But I'm sure I'd be awesome!" She hasn't given too much thought to becoming the wife of a governor, says Shriver, because "I'm going back to my job the day this is over."So much for mincing words. In any normal campaign, that sort of spousal defiance might get a candidate in trouble. But as Schwarzenegger continues to lag in the polls with women voters--despite a...
  • Taking Arnold To School

    It took Arnold Schwarzenegger years to earn his bachelor's degree. He took junior college classes, enrolled in correspondence courses and eventually cobbled together enough credits for a diploma in 1980, at the age of 32. Twenty-three years later, Arnold is once again back in the classroom--this time cramming for a crash course in California 101. With less than a month to go before the Oct. 7 recall election and just days before his sole debate on Wednesday of next week in Sacramento, Schwarzenegger is spending six to eight hours a day in tutoring sessions intended to make the actor appear knowledgeable about the affairs of the country's largest state. The faculty--an all-star lineup that includes Warren Buffett, George Shultz, former California governor Pete Wilson and former L.A. mayor Richard Riordan--coaches him on a blizzard of complex issues, from Worker Compensation reform to irrigation subsidies. His teachers insist he's a quick study, but Arnold still fancies himself the...
  • Q&Amp;A: 'We're Ready To Go'

    Since the recall campaign against Gov. Gray Davis began, California's First Lady Sharon Davis has become her husband's chief adviser and cheerleader. She even blogs on his behalf, writing a column about the couple's experiences on governor's campaign Web site (www.no-recall.com) Between campaign stops, Sharon Davis spoke with Newsweek's Karen Breslau:NEWSWEEK: It seems like governor is starting to actually have a little fun out there on the campaign. Do you this experience has changed him?SHARON DAVIS: He's very upbeat. I've talked to lots of people who say 'Has your husband changed his personality?' I say he hasn't--it's just that he has never gotten this level of exposure before. People are really seeing for the first time that he's compassionate, he's well-versed in the issues. The more people get exposed to the people who might replace Gray, the more they see Gray as a very good choice. Moveon.org even printed some posters "Suddenly I (heart) Gray Davis." [Laughing.] You didn't...
  • Did Arnold Like To Party? Mais Oui!

    Arnold Schwarzenegger hit the talk-radio circuit last week, hoping to polish his conservative credentials in the cradle of the California recall movement. But instead of just wowing them with fiscal tough talk, Schwarzenegger found himself answering for a 1977 interview he gave to the now defunct men's magazine Oui. Sounding a bit impolitic for an aspiring politician, Schwarzenegger, then 29, describes engaging in group sex and freely using "grass and hash" during his body-building days. Explaining to the interviewer in raunchy detail how "girls backstage" performed sexual acts on contestants, Schwarzenegger refutes the perception that body-building is for "fags," and even volunteers the dimensions of one body part not generally on display at the Mr. Universe competition. (Hint: it's not "disproportionate.")The interview surfaced on the Internet site thesmokinggun.com and promptly made its way into the media food chain just as Schwarzenegger was trying to nail down support from...
  • In California, All Politics Are National

    Who needs New Hampshire? With Arnold Schwarzenegger getting more attention than any presidential candidate, the battle for the California governorship is starting to play out like a preview of next year's presidential race. Keenly aware that the special Oct. 7 election to recall Gov. Gray Davis could affect which party gets California's 55 electoral votes in 2004, Republicans and Democrats are treating the recall as something of a national primary.Even though President George W. Bush is keeping a wary distance from the recall, the Republican Leadership Council, a Washington, D.C., political-action committee that supported Bush in 2000, has endorsed Schwarzenegger and last week began making plans to buy air time for ads supporting him. Schwarzenegger's path got easier Saturday, when conservative rival Bill Simon quit the race. The Bushies denied any direct role. But Bush political guru Karl Rove is known to favor Schwarzenegger, and GOP Rep. David Dreier--who has close ties to Bush-...
  • NO FELLOW TOO STRANGE

    Arnold Schwarzenegger has plenty of rich and famous friends. But to become governor of California, he really needs people like Marlon Sandoval. Sandoval, 26, a hip-hop musician and part-time security guard in Los Angeles, has never cast a ballot in his life. But he says that he'll go to the polls for Arnold "plain and simple." Sandoval, who saw "Terminator 3" last week for the second time, admits he has no idea where Arnold stands on the issues. "It doesn't matter," he says. "I'd vote for the Terminator anyway."Will the multiplex strategy succeed? In California's increasingly surreal, 135-candidate race to recall Gov. Gray Davis, nothing seems too far-fetched anymore. (Not even candidates vying for spots on the Game Show Network's upcoming "Who Wants to Be Governor of California?" Really.) Schwarzenegger's advisers think that if he can motivate nonpartisan movie fans like Sandoval to become first-time voters, the star can win. But even though Schwarzenegger has buried the other...
  • Tabloids: Start The Presses

    Arnold Schwarzenegger could be the most formidable gubernatorial candidate California Dems will face. He's got name recognition, he's independently wealthy and, come on, he's the Terminator. So are they working overtime to dig up the sleaze? Actually, no. "We haven't spent 10 seconds on Arnold," says one campaign operative. They don't have to--the tabloids are more than up to the task. Many juicy tales of Schwarzenegger's alleged "zipper problem" are filed and ready, says the operative, but have been held for legal reasons. That could all change if Arnold enters the race--once he's a potential "public official," it will get harder for the famously litigious star to sue for libel. Dems are also banking on the fact that since Arnold is a global celebrity, anything written about him anywhere immediately becomes front-page news in California. Arnold's advisers hope his rumored friskiness won't matter to voters. "Could this derail a candidacy in post-Clinton America?" asks one. "I don't...
  • The Terminator's Next Big Act

    Charlotte Christiana is a true-blue California Republican. She is against abortion, gun control and "environmental wackos." She wants tighter immigration laws--and a governor who "will get in there and cut some of those social programs." As president of the Huntington Harbor Republican Women's Club, Christiana has collected hundreds of signatures demanding the recall of Democratic Gov. Gray Davis. But her vote, Christiana says, may well go to a pro-choice, pro-gun-control immigrant whose signature issue is public funding for after-school programs. "I'm not the kind to accept a moderate," she says. "But Arnold Schwarzenegger has the best chance to win."That crossover appeal will be essential to Schwarzenegger's strategy if he challenges Davis. Last week the star promoted "Terminator 3"--and gleefully fanned speculation he'll run. Recall organizers announced they had collected 1.2 million voter signatures, well over the threshold required under California law to trigger a recall...
  • Let The Showdown Begin

    The star witness gets a makeover, hires a media-savvy lawyer and holds a press conference to plead for her "privacy." The defendant's own celebrity attorney hunts for the "real killers." The upcoming trial of Scott Peterson for the murder of his wife, Laci, and their unborn son is looking like the Return of O.J. Last week Peterson's ex-girlfriend Amber Frey and her attorney, Gloria Allred, announced she will testify for the prosecution, presumably about Scott's phone calls she secretly taped after Laci went missing. Allred scolded the media for trying to buy her client's story before the trial. (Whether Frey might consider a deal after a verdict, Allred told NEWSWEEK,"I couldn't speculate.") This week Peterson's defense attorney, Mark Geragos--a TV pundit whose previous clients include Winona Ryder and Robert Downey Jr.-- previews the defense strategy in court. Geragos has alternative theories about Laci's disappearance-- that she was the victim of a "satanic cult" and that a...
  • Trouble: Dishing Up A Pyramid Scheme?

    What started as a parlor game among wealthy suburbanites may be the largest all-female fraud ring in California history. Leaders of Women Helping Women, a Sacramento "gifting club," were arraigned last week on charges of running an illegal pyramid scheme that may have defrauded more than a thousand women who ponied up millions of dollars. The club was organized around a "dinner party" theme, with new members expected to contribute a cash "appetizer." A full plate cost $5,000, but women were also allowed to buy portions, starting at $625. As new members were recruited, the women moved around the "table" to the "salad" and "entree" positions, before finally reaching the "dessert"--or payoff--plate. Then it was time for a "birthday party," where the women met in hotel banquet rooms or posh suburban living rooms, to move around thousands of dollars in cash--and recruit new participants.It may sound like a bad Martha Stewart parody, but, authorities say, the scheme illegally raised some ...
  • The Virtual Aisle Tries Again Online

    Adrianna Donat remembers the day that Webvan died. The Oakland, Calif., resident had just come home from the hospital with her newborn son in July 2001, expecting to find her familiar green Webvan container of fresh groceries. But it wasn't on the doorstep. When Donat called customer service, a recording announced that the online grocer--which had achieved cult status since its 1996 launch--had gone out of business. For Donat and her husband, Chris, who both had become such believers that they'd bought Webvan's once high-flying stock, the news was a shock. "We were practically in tears," she says.Now Donat and other grieving online-grocery fans need weep no more--assuming they live in the correct ZIP codes. Earlier this year brick-and-mortar old-timers Safeway and Albertsons quietly launched online-shopping test programs in the Bay Area and other West Coast markets, including Portland, Vancouver, Los Angeles, San Diego and Seattle (where Albertsons has been experimenting since 1999)...
  • A Gray Campaign

    How many popular presidents does it take to prop up an embattled incumbent governor? If the governor's name is Gray Davis, and a little Hollywood touch is called for, then the answer is two.Appearing at a Los Angeles-area charter school on Monday, California Democrats imported both Bill Clinton and "The West Wing's" Martin Sheen to lend some star appeal to the famously wooden governor's campaign against Republican Bill Simon. But the charisma transplant clearly didn't take. Flanked by Clinton and Sheen, Davis dutifully rattled off his education achievements to a polite smattering of applause from the audience of African-American and Latino parents. Then Bill Clinton took the stage.The audience began to whoop and cheer (and whip out their videocameras) as the former president implored them to support Davis and other Democrats against the GOP tide. "I love Bill," enthused voter Sharon Daniel, who said she would vote for Davis--reluctantly. "It's not that Gray Davis is the best...
  • A Quarter Pound Problem

    McDonald's calls it the "Happiest Meal Ever": a chance for students to have burgers and fries dished up by their teachers. Some 2,500 schools have signed up for the chain's McTeacher program, which donates a portion of profits--about $500 per fund-raiser--to schools whose teachers pull a two-hour shift behind the counter. But in California, where the program started two years ago, some teachers and health experts say it sends the wrong message when school districts are pushing healthy eating habits. In Oakland and Los Angeles, school boards recently banned on-campus softdrink and snack-food machines, sacrificing extra income. But some strapped educators say corporate money is better than nothing. "If our schools were adequately funded, we wouldn't need any of this," says teachers union leader Steve Savage. Representatives of McDonald's, which has donated $500,000 to schools through the program, bristle at the suggestion that they are exploiting kids--or their teachers--for...
  • Big Future In Tiny Spaces

    It may not be welcome news in her home state of Pennsylvania, but chemist Cynthia Kuper could help make steel obsolete. Experimenting with carbon nanotubes, structures a few atoms wide but 100 times stronger and much lighter than steel, Kuper calls her work an "amusement park of discovery." Two years ago she launched Versilant, a company to develop nanotube-based components for airplanes and spacecraft, which will allow them to fly higher and use less fuel. Nanotubes' remarkable properties mean they could transform entire industries, such as transportation, computing and medicine. "There's a whole world of products waiting to be invented," says Kuper.And that means jobs. Nanotechnology (the Greek prefix nano means "billionth of a specific unit") is rapidly moving from the laboratory into the marketplace. Over the next decade, the National Science Foundation estimates, the United States will need 800,000 to 1 million nanotechnology workers. "This will be a core of the American...
  • Wildcatting For Water

    He clenches his glasses between his teeth and peers warily at the screen behind his desk. A smear of red arrows means another dismal day for the $200 million energy fund that T. Boone Pickens, the onetime oilman and corporate raider, manages in Dallas. But his face brightens as he bounds across the room to a huge hydrologic map of the Texas Panhandle, turning his attention to another commodity. Blue-and-white swirls show underground water deposits that stretch from Amarillo ("where it's flatter than a bookkeeper's a--") to the mesa and canyon country where Pickens owns a ranch and recently leased the water rights to 150,000 surrounding acres. He wants to turn those swirls into dollars, by pumping water from the aquifer under his land and building a pipeline to a thirsty city like Dallas or San Antonio.The American West was settled like this--by brash men jabbing at maps, decreeing where dams should go so lush cities and farms could rise from the desert. They succeeded in making...
  • Why Did John Walker Lindh Make A Deal?

    His father compared him to Nelson Mandela. His lawyer said "this isn't Rambo." The government, which earlier had called him a "terrorist," settled instead for John Walker Lindh's admission that, for four months last year, he had been a grenade-toting foot soldier for the Taliban in Afghanistan. That admission-in a plea bargain announced in court on Monday-means that the 21-year-old Lindh will spend some 20 years of his life in federal prison.In return, he will be spared the ninety-years-plus-life sentence he faced had he been convicted on terrorism and conspiracy charges in a trial that was scheduled to begin next month at a federal court in Alexandria, Virginia. By 2022, when he walks out of a federal prison, Lindh will be 41 years old. By then, a whole generation of Americans will probably have no idea who the "American Taliban" was or what threat he may have posed to national security.It could have been that growing realization-that the government had stoked a bonfire to fry a...
  • Tiny Weapons With Giant Potential

    Uri Sagman is not your average bomb builder. An Israeli-born, Canadian-trained oncologist, he spent the early years of his career treating cancer patients, watching many suffer the ravages of chemotherapy and radiation, only to die anyway. "At least once a week I went home in tears," says Sagman. "I kept thinking there had to be a better way." Today Sagman, 47, is president of C Sixty, a Toronto-based nanotechnology company that is developing carbon molecules called fullerenes as a drug-delivery system for cancer, AIDS and other diseases. Soon, he hopes, it will be possible to load these minuscule, spherical structures--each containing 60 carbon atoms arranged like the hexagonal pattern on a soccer ball--with drugs or radioactive atoms and then fire them like guided missiles at diseased cells. "Think of a smart bomb," says Sagman. "Conventional chemotherapy is like carpet-bombing. You drop it from 60,000 feet and hope for the best. This goes precisely to the target."Once the...
  • A Deadly Weapon

    The defendant sobbed; her attorney crawled on the courtroom floor. The prosecutor displayed a plaster cast of dog teeth. Even the judge couldn't resist the occasional canine quip to ease the tension. But after four weeks of riveting--and often gruesome--testimony, the jury delivered the most dramatic punch of all, convicting a controversial San Francisco couple on murder and manslaughter charges after their two enormous dogs mauled a neighbor to death in the hallway of their apartment building last year. After the guilty verdicts were read, Marjorie Knoller, convicted of second-degree murder, turned to her elderly parents and tearfully mouthed, "Help me." They were the same words witnesses heard moments before the dogs' victim, Diane Whipple, was found bleeding to death and suffocating, unable to breathe through her crushed larynx. Knoller's husband, Robert Noel, who wasn't home when the dogs killed Whipple, was convicted on a lesser charge of involuntary manslaughter. Knoller could...
  • After The Mauling

    A horrible crime, a stunning verdict, and unforgettable, Hollywood-defying cast of characters. In the end, the "dog trial"--as the Diane Whipple murder case came to be known--lived up to its billing.It didn't cause a culture-quake on par with O. J.; it can't compare in social significance to Andrea Yates; there was none of the what-have-we-become suburban soul-searching prompted by the "hockey dad" case. After all, how many Presa Canario owners with adoptive Aryan Brotherhood-inmate "sons" does the average person know? But a megatrial it was.As the lawyers, jurors and assorted supporting actors make the rounds from Greta to Larry to Matt and Katie, and the cable TV roadies in the courthouse parking lot pack up for the next big show, there are plenty of questions to ponder.What was this case all about? When Diane Whipple was mauled to death by Robert Noel and Marjorie Knoller's dogs in the hallway outside of their San Francisco apartment building last year, police at the scene...
  • In Defense Of John Walker Lindh

    When John Walker Lindh was captured in Afghanistan last December, he told reporters that he joined the Taliban because his "heart became attached to them." But according to documents his lawyers filed in federal court in Virginia on Friday, Lindh actually feared his comrades more than he loved them. After learning of the September 11 attacks, the documents say, Lindh "was obviously disillusioned...and wanted to leave his Taliban unit but could not do so for fear of death."That, Lindh's lawyers say, is what the frightened American told his military interrogators in the days after his arrest. But, they charge, Lindh's comments were omitted from internal reports that the government later used to prepare its case against Lindh. Lindh, who is being held in an Alexandria jail, goes on trial Aug. 26 on conspiracy and terrorism charges. If convicted on all four charges, he faces 90 years to life in prison.How many times did Walker Lindh change his story? When first asked in the hours after...
  • Bill Who?

    It was just after Christmas, and things were looking grim for Gray Davis. Tarnished by memories of rolling blackouts and a softening economy, the California governor's approval ratings were down to around 40 percent.His most recent splash in the national media had been a disaster: Davis announced that California's bridges, including the Golden Gate, had been targeted by terrorists, a claim later hooted down by law-enforcement authorities. Most alarming of all to his handlers, only a third of California voters said the state was on the "right track" under Davis--a potential kiss of death for any incumbent. Davis's campaign advisers watched warily as former Los Angeles mayor Richard Riordan--having been anointed by the Bush White House to reclaim California for the GOP--inched ahead of the Democratic governor in the polls. Riordan's apparent popularity was all the more ominous, considering the fact that he hadn't even yet won the Republican nomination.Even though Davis faced no...
  • The Good Neighbor?

    Marjorie Knoller's Attorney Says Her Client Tried To Save Diane Whipple In The Bizarre Case Of Deadly Dog Attack
  • Lindh's Defensive Play

    We've seen the videotape a thousand times: frail and filthy under a wild plume of hair, the wincing young captive is laid on a stretcher. Helping hands wrap him in a hospital smock. But there are no famous pictures of John Walker Lindh in the days that follow. That's when his lawyers say the American who fought for the Taliban was blindfolded, stripped naked and shackled hand and foot to a cot inside a freezing metal shipping container. There, his lawyers charge, Lindh's U.S. military guards hurled obscenities and threats of violence, even death. When Lindh's blindfold was removed on Dec. 9, more than a week after his capture, he found himself sitting across from a man who said he worked for the FBI. Let's talk, said the agent. Addled by fear, pain, hunger and exhaustion, Lindh, as he now wants to be known, waived his right to remain silent. He wouldn't see a lawyer for six more weeks. ...
  • No Bail For Lindh

    John Walker Lindh hardly seems big enough to have become a legend in his own time. He is a slight young man: shorn of his beard and famous wild hair and battlefield soot, he looks more like a juvenile offender than a hardened terrorist. Dressed in a green prison jumpsuit with a crew cut, it's not hard to see the "boy" whose distressed father thought he deserved a "kick in the butt" after he was captured last December fighting for the Taliban in Afghanistan. ...
  • Reporting On United Flight 93

    Reporting in the early 1990s from Romania, Yugoslavia and the former Soviet Union, I thought I had seen my share of sorrow and human drama. But none of that prepared me for the emotional impact of covering United Airlines Flight 93.When I started working on the story in the days after September 11, my stomach was in knots. I stared at the names and phone numbers of the families of the passengers and crew, trying to work up the nerve to call. These people were confronting unimaginable agony. How could I possibly ask them to relive the most awful moments of their lives? As a journalist, how could I not find out more about what would clearly become a chapter of American history?The first stories we published about United Flight 93, as a sidebar to the broader horror of September 11, generated an enormous response. They also raised more questions than they answered. Was the hijacked plane headed, in fact, for the U.S. Capitol, as many investigators believe? How did the passengers and...