Middle Eastern Affairs  
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About Philip Smucker


Philip Smucker, Journalist

Philip Smucker has spent the last twenty years as an overseas reporter, covering conflicts in Burma, Cambodia, Haiti, Bosnia, Serbia, Afghanistan and Iraq. He has written for numerous publications, including US News and World Report, Time Magazine, Christian Science Monitor, International Herald Tribune, and the Daily Telegraph. He has recevied acclaims for his journalism work, including:

PULITZER PRIZE NOMINATION, 2002, for CSM article revealing escape of Osama bin Laden
PULITZER PRIZE NOMINATION, 2001, for CSM articles on War on Terrorism
PULITZER PRIZE NOMINATION, 1999, for Pittsburgh Post-Gazette articles on conflict in Kosovo
AMERICAN JOURNALISM REVIEW, June 1999, for work featured in cover story on Kosovo
“BEST NEWSMAN IN AFGHANISTAN”, 2002, as named in UC, Berkeley School of Journalism magazine

Links to selection of news stories by Philip Smucker.

Philip Smucker, Book Author

"Al Qaeda's Great Escape: The Military and the Media on Terror's Trail" (2004)

Those who read Philip Smucker in the Christian Science Monitor and The Daily Telegraph learned the most about the failed U.S. campaign to capture Osama bin Laden, far more than the U.S. government and major news organizations told their own readers in the first several months of the war in Afghanistan. Smucker was the first to report that bin Laden eluded US the Green Berets and their Afghan allies at Tora Bora by slipping across the border into Pakistan. At the time, Pentagon officials scorned Smucker's reporting. Over the next two and a half months, Smucker followed leads by foot, by jeep, and by mule through the dusty villages and frigid White Mountain passes. Accompanied by his courageous Afghan assistant, Lutfullah Mashal, the two escaped more than slippery winter roads; they were held up by Afghan brigands and threatened with death by bin Laden's Arab fighters. In the process, they interviewed a fleeing Saudi financier, a former bin Laden cook along with numerous Afghan village chiefs. While the Pentagon was telling the American public that it had no idea where bin Laden went, Smucker's reporting unveiled the behind-the-scenes deal-making between Afghans and Arabs that had assisted bin Laden and his top lieutenants in their escapes. By early 2002, Smucker's original reporting on bin Laden's Houdini act had become accepted fact. On April 17th, The Washington Post reported that U.S. civilian and military officials concluded that bin Laden was in Tora Bora but left in the first 10 days of December, that U.S. reluctance to put troops on the ground was possibly the greatest mistake of the Afghan campaign and that the military had severely misjudged its Afghan allies in the fight for Tora Bora.
The author has spent the last 16 years as an overseas reporter. In connection with his reporting in Afghanistan, Smucker has appeared on "Good Morning America," "The Today Show" and Chris Matthews' "Hardball" on MSNBC and he has been interviewed on ABC's "Nightline," CNN's "Wolf Blitzer Reports" and other television programs. He is a frequent guest on NPR and other radio news magazines.

To read more about this book, please click here.