One More Time: Do Not Trust the Intercept

‘New NYPD press officer co-wrote The Intercept Russiagate story that landed source in prison; The Intercept published a story that landed Reality Winner in prison, burning its third source. That article was co-authored by Richard Esposito, an embedded police reporter who is now the NYPD’s top spokesperson’, Ben Norton,, May 20, 2020  (Note: no copyright, no republication guidelines, but a way to contribute.)

“A co-author of a controversial report at The Intercept that landed its source in prison now works as the head of the New York Police Department’s press office.

The former journalist, Richard Esposito [center in the photo above], had embedded for a long period inside the NYPD, developing close ties to US police agencies that were clear before The Intercept chose to work with him. However, the news website apparently did not see Esposito’s cop-friendly behavior as disqualifying or even suspicious.

Esposito and his longtime friend and colleague, Matthew Cole, a full-time reporter at The Intercept, were co-authors of a 2017 report on National Security Agency allegations of Russian meddling in the 2016 US presidential election. The reporters disclosed sensitive information to US government agencies, which led to the outing of their confidential source, former NSA contractor Reality Winner, and her eventual imprisonment for five years.

Although this scandalous story was the only piece Esposito published at The Intercept, he was somehow assigned an official company email address as well as an author page that has since been removed from the website without explanation.

The same duo, Esposito and Cole, played an intrgral part in the arrest and imprisonment of CIA whistleblower John Kiriakou, several years before they worked at the Intercept.

@JohnKiriakou   Serious question for The Intercept: Do you secretly work for the FBI? David Hale, Reality Winner and Terry Albury are all in prison because of you. Is it incompetence or are you compromised? You owe a lot of people an explanation. And an apology.
6:51 AM – May 10, 2019

“The Intercept’s record of burning sources extends well beyond Reality Winner. In 2018, former FBI agent Terry Albury was sentenced to four years in prison, after he leaked documents to the news website exposing the police agency’s widespread racism and anti-Muslim surveillance practices. One of the co-authors of the reports exposing the FBI, Cora Currier, remains an editor at The Intercept. The other co-author, Jenna McLaughlin, went on to work with CNN, Foreign Policy, and Yahoo News.

Next, in 2019, former NSA official Daniel Hale was indicted by a grand jury for allegedly leaking documents [on drone warfare], also apparently to The Intercept. He faces up to 50 years in prison. [that link goes to Betsy Reed at the Intercept May 9, 2019 saying: The Intercept does not comment on matters relating to the identity of anonymous sources.” and dialing for dollars, as well.]

The troubling pattern raises serious questions about why sources of The Intercept, Richard Esposito, and Matthew Cole keep getting burned. Is it mere carelessness on the part of the reporters, or have US government agencies played a role?” [long jump]

It’s quite long, but I’d like to include the bolded headings  including brief  outtakes from a few sections:

Burning source Reality Winner, landing her in prison

“On June 5, 2017, The Intercept published a top-secret document leaked from the National Security Agency, which claimed that Russia’s military intelligence services attempted to meddle in the November 2016 US election through alleged hacking and phishing.

The article, which critics argued was over-hyped and lacked firm evidence, was co-authored by Richard Esposito and three full-time The Intercept staffers: Matthew Cole, Sam Biddle, and Ryan Grim.”

Billie J. Winner-Davis @bjwinnerdavis
‘My daughter #RealityWinner called 2x already today. SHE IS NOT OK.
The lockdown of the prison is having the worst possible impact on her & all inmates. Imagine being locked inside with no end in sight.
She has been denied psych treatment. She is not eating. I am scared.’
May 9, 2020

‘Journalist’ Richard Esposito is promoted to NYPD press officer

Richard Esposito’s long history with current The Intercept reporters

“Their reports made it clear that Esposito and Cole had very high-level sources in the CIA and other police and intelligence agencies. Virtually all of their scoops came from these anonymous officials, and the reporters tended to avoid biting the hand that fed them.”

Richard Esposito and Matthew Cole burn their source for a second time

The Intercept removes Richard Esposito’s author page from its website

“It remains unclear which reporter Reality Winner leaked the NSA document to. But given that Richard Esposito was brought on to publish that story alone, he seems like a good candidate.”

Many warning signs before The Intercept worked with Richard Esposito (quite a lengthy  exposé, but one squib):

“Esposito spent a year working undercover as an embedded reporter inside the NYPD’s most elite bomb squad, and later wrote a book about it: “Bomb Squad: A Year Inside the Nation’s Most Exclusive Police Unit.” The Intercept clearly knew this; his book is listed on the bio that Esposito used to have on its website, before it was removed.”

“The Grayzone contacted The Intercept with a series of questions and request for comment, and has yet to receive a reply.”

You can support The Grayzone and help to sustain our original investigative journalism by becoming a patron at Patreon, or directly donate via PayPal.

(cross-posted at

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