Browse Primary Sources
"Reporters Reveal How They Broke Stories on Treatment of Vets" - Joe Strupp - Editor & Publisher
". . .Hull said that her story began with a simple yip from a source to Priest, which prompted the pair to visit Walter Reed and simply observe and speak to patients. We worked very stealthy and sort of under the radar, Hull explained, noting they never lied about who they were. Nobody ever asked. . ."
Editor and Publisher 2007-03-30
Anne Hull and Dana Priest on their Walter Reed stories
Anne Hull: We never really thought of the word “narrative” when we set out to do the Walter Reed story. We didn’t consciously think about the words that you often hear at these conferences: voice, sequencing, empathy, storytelling. But in the end, all those elements ended up being in the piece. In traditional feature writing we seek to illuminate, but this kind of journalism sought to expose and bring about change. My colleague, Dana, had plenty of experience as a journalist who exposed illegal deeds and wrongdoing. Her reporting on the CIA’s secret prison sites around the world created a firestorm. She lives and breathes for impact. The highest impact journalism I had ever done was making someone cry. So we really brought a couple of separate approaches to our journalism. And in narrative journalism, in particular, we think of highly conceived stories. This story came about in the most old-fashioned, mundane way. Dana was sitting at her desk and her telephone rang, and she picked it up.
Nieman Watchdog 2007-07-04
"Reporters Who Broke Story on Conditions at Walter Reed" - Neal Conan - Talk of the Nation NPR
"Ms. Hull: That's right and, you know, that's just not acceptable. Now Building 18 was absolutely the worst of the living facilities or barracks at Walter Reed. The other place we focused on was the opposite end of the spectrum. It's a very nice hotel called the Malone House. And the Malone House is like a Holiday Inn Express in the rooms, but the foyer is quite grand and it's a Georgian revival-style hotel. And prior to the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq it was used to house family members of, you know, convalescing two-star generals who were getting hip replacement surgery at the hospital. But it has been completely overtaken in the last four years by the wounded and it's really a shock to walk into the Malone House for the first time. Because you have young people missing arms, missing legs, missing eyes, faces destroyed, parts of their - they're missing skullcaps from surgeries. It's just a surreal, heartbreaking experience."
Talk of the Nation 2007-03-06
Reaction: Walter Reed - "Walter Reed Stories Factual But Unfair, Medical Chief Says" - Steve Vogel - Washington Post
". . . While acknowledging 'pretty distressing' conditions in some rooms at Building 18, Kiley said the problems were neither widespread nor symptoms of a system that allows soldiers to languish. The building is not 'emblematic of a process of Walter Reed that has abandoned soldiers and their families,' said Kiley, who was commander at the hospital before becoming surgeon general in 2004 . . ."
The Washington Post 2007-02-23
Follow-up: Walter Reed: "A Patient Prosecuted" - Dana Priest and Anne Hull - Washington Post
"Military psychiatrists at Walter Reed who examined Whiteside after she recovered from her self-inflicted gunshot wound diagnosed her with a severe mental disorder, possibly triggered by the stresses of a war zone. But Whiteside's superiors considered her mental illness "an excuse" for criminal conduct, according to documents obtained by The Washington Post."
The Washington Post 2007-11-02
Follow-up: Walter Reed - "A Wife's Battle" - Anne Hull and Dana Priest - Washington Post
"Michelle has spent hundreds of hours at the library researching complicated VA policies and disability regulations. 'You need two college degrees to understand any of it,' she says, lacking both. She scavenges information where she can find it. A psychotic Vietnam vet she met in a VA hospital was the one who told her that Troy might be eligible for Social Security benefits. Meanwhile, there are clothes to wash, meals to cook, kids to get ready for school and a husband who is placidly medicated or randomly explosive. Besides PTSD, Michelle suspects that Troy may have a brain injury, which could explain how a 38-year-old man who used to hunt and fish can lose himself in a three-day "Scooby-Doo" marathon on the Cartoon Network."
The Washington Post 2007-10-14
Follow-up: Walter Reed - "Almost Home, but Facing More Delays at Walter Reed" - Dana Priest and Anne Hull - Washington Post
"Last week, Shannon, 43, was back at Walter Reed, but not to say goodbye. The doctors' signatures on two time-sensitive forms in his disability file had expired. He would have to be reexamined by his doctors, he was told, and his medical summaries would have to be written all over again. Unfortunately, the sergeant in charge of his disability paperwork had not stayed on top of his case. 'There was a failure of paying attention to the currency of his paperwork,' a Walter Reed spokesman, Charles Dasey, said last night."
The Washington Post 2007-09-15
Follow-up: Walter Reed - "Little Relief on Ward 53" - Anne Hull and Dana Priest - Washington Post
"Even though Walter Reed maintains the largest psychiatric department in the Army, it lacks enough psychiatrists and clinicians to properly treat the growing number of soldiers returning with combat stress. Earlier this year, the head of psychiatry sent out an "SOS" memo desperately seeking more clinical help."
The Washington Post 2007-06-18
Follow-up: Walter Reed - "Soldier Finds Comfort at Dark Journey's End" - Anne Hull and Dana Priest - Washington Post
"At the start of this year, Blackwood, 41, took on a new job as the chief of media relations for the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction, based in Crystal City. No one knew that loud noises would trigger a panic attack for her, that she was barely sleeping or eating, or that she was clawing her forearms so fiercely the blood sometimes soaked through her sleeves."
The Washington Post 2007-06-17
Follow-up: Walter Reed - "The War Inside" - Anne Hull and Dana Priest - Washington Post
Veterans Affairs will spend $2.8 billion this year on mental health. But the best it could offer Cruz was group therapy at the Bronx VA medical center. Not a single session is held on the weekends or late enough at night for him to attend. At age 25, Cruz is barely keeping his life together. He supports his disabled parents and 4-year-old son and cannot afford to take time off from his job repairing boilers. The rough, dirty work, with its heat and loud noises, gives him panic attacks and flesh burns but puts $96 in his pocket each day.
The Washington Post 2007-06-17
IV-Walter Reed: "'It Is Just Not Walter Reed'" - Anne Hull and Dana Priest - Washington Post
"Across the country, some military quarters for wounded outpatients are in bad shape, according to interviews, Government Accountability Office reports and transcripts of congressional testimony. The mold, mice and rot of Walter Reed's Building 18 compose a familiar scenario for many soldiers back from Iraq or Afghanistan who were shipped to their home posts for treatment. Nearly 4,000 outpatients are currently in the military's Medical Holding or Medical Holdover companies, which oversee the wounded. Soldiers and veterans report bureaucratic disarray similar to Walter Reed's: indifferent, untrained staff; lost paperwork; medical appointments that drop from the computers; and long waits for consultations."
The Washington Post 2007-03-05
III-Walter Reed: "Hospital Investigates Former Aid Chief" - Anne Hull and Dana Priest - Washington Post
"For the past three years, Michael J. Wagner directed the Army's largest effort to help the most vulnerable soldiers at Walter Reed Army Medical Center. His office in Room 3E01 of the world-renowned hospital was supposed to match big-hearted donors with thousands of wounded soldiers who could not afford to feed their children, pay mortgages, buy plane tickets or put up visiting families in nearby hotels. But while he was being paid to provide this vital service to patients, outpatients and their relations, Wagner was also seeking funders and soliciting donations for his own new charity, based in Texas, according to documents and interviews with current and former staff members."
The Washington Post 2007-02-20