Arnaud de Borchgrave

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Arnaud de Borchgrave (born 1926) is an American journalist who specializes in international politics. Following a long career with the magazine Newsweek, he held key editorial and executive positions with media organizations associated with the Unification Church, including The Washington Times and United Press International. Harry F. Kern(1911-1996)was credited with hiring him while at Newsweek.[1]

Early life[edit]

Born in Belgium to Audrey Dorothy Louise Townshend, daughter of Major General Sir Charles Vere Ferrers Townshend,[2] and Belgian Count Baudouin de Borchgrave d'Altena, head of Belgium's military intelligence for the government-in-exile during World War II, de Borchgrave was educated in Belgium, Britain and the United States. He served in the British Royal Navy (1942–1946), from the age of 15, after running away from home and using falsified papers to enlist. He gave up his title of nobility in 1951.[3]

Newsweek career[edit]

In 1947, he was appointed Brussels bureau manager for United Press, and, in 1950, later he became Newsweek's bureau chief in Paris and then its chief correspondent. In 1953, he became a senior editor for the magazine. Osborn Elliot, former editor-in-chief of Newsweek, once said:


As a correspondent for Newsweek, de Borchgrave secured numerous interviews with world leaders. In 1969, he interviewed both President Gamal Abdel Nasser of Egypt and Prime Minister Levi Eshkol of Israel. In October 1972, during the Vietnam War, he was accorded his most famous interview, travelling to Hanoi to speak with Prime Minister and Politburo member Pham Van Dong of North Vietnam. In that interview, Dong described a provision of a proposed peace deal as a "coalition of transition," which raised fears with South Vietnam that the deal involved a coalition government, possibly playing a role in South Vietnam's rejection of the deal.

Later life[edit]

Appointed editor-in-chief for The Washington Times on 20 March 1985, he also later served as CEO of a much-diminished United Press International, the successor to his early-career employer, in the late 1990s, during the latter part of the agency's ownership by a group of Saudi investors. In that role, de Borchgrave orchestrated UPI's exit from its last major media niche, the broadcast news business that United Press had initiated in the 1930s. De Borchgrave maintained that "what was brilliant pioneering work on the part of UPI prior to World War II, with radio news, is now a static quantity and sofar as I'm concerned, certainly doesn't fit into my plans for the future." He sought to shift UPI's dwindling resources into Internet-based delivery of newsletter services, focusing more on technical and diplomatic specialties than on general news. The rump UPI thus sold the client list of its still-significant radio network and broadcast wire to its former rival, the AP.[6]

The following year, de Borchgrave played a key role in the sale of the further downsized UPI to News World Communications, the international news media company founded in 1976 by Unification Church leader Sun Myung Moon, who was also the founder of The Washington Times for which de Borchgrave had worked earlier.

After his CEO turn at UPI, de Borchgrave retained associations with both Unification Church media outlets, as "Editor-at-Large" of The Washington Times and UPI, writing regular columns published by either or both. He also serves as Project Director for Transnational Threats (TNT) and Senior Advisor for The Center for Strategic and International Studies.[7][8] He is a contributor to The Globalist, a daily online magazine.[9]

According to Morley Safer's "Flashbacks", Borchgrave testified before senator Jeremiah Denton's subcommittee in 1981 that Pham Xuan An, a Time employee and Viet Cong spy based in Saigon, "was an agent whose mission was to disinform the Western press". An denied to Safer that he planted disinformation, saying that his Viet Cong bosses thought it would be too obvious and that they preferred he feed them information instead.[10]

Personal life[edit]

De Borchgrave is co-author, with Robert Moss, of the best-selling novel The Spike (1980). He is also a pundit for NewsMax for which he writes articles from time to time.[11] He married his wife, Alexandra Villard de Borchgrave, daughter of ambassador and author Henry Serrano Villard, in 1969, following two earlier marriages.[12] Alexandra Villard is also a published author, including a biography of her great-grandfather, railroad tycoon Henry Villard.[13]

Plagiarism allegations[edit]

On 17 May 2012, Erik Wemple, a blogger for The Washington Post, noted that de Borchgrave's columns in The Washington Times reflected his think tank work and raised questions about the originality of some of his writing, citing similarities between elements of de Borchgrave columns and other published material. Wemple included de Borchgrave's explanations for those but also the doubts expressed about the similarities by some of the other organizations involved.[14] Elsewhere, the news website Salon reported that anonymous Times officials claimed that the paper had known about de Borchgrave's plagiarism nearly a year before Winkle's investigation and initially discontinued de Borchgrave's column before resuming it without any disciplinary action.

De Borchgrave denied the allegations and claimed that his column was suspended because he was on book leave.[15] The Washington Times then announced that de Borchgrave would take a hiatus to complete work on his memoirs while the paper conducted an inquiry into his work.[16] Some of de Borchgrave's recent columns were later removed from the Washington Times website.[17] The Center for Strategic and International Studies also announced its own investigation of work de Borchgrave had published under its name.[18]


  1. ^ The Washington Times Harry F. Kern, 84, Covered Foreign Affairs May 16, 1996
  2. ^ Accessed 8 September 2011.
  3. ^ "The Foreign Correspondent". Washington Post. 13 May 1980. 
  4. ^ [1] All American Speakers biography
  5. ^ [2] CSIS Press Release
  6. ^ "UPI Radio: 40 Years Of Sound". Radio World. IMAS Publishing. 1999. Retrieved May 17, 2012. 
  7. ^ C-SPAN Washington Journal 11 June 2007[dead link]
  8. ^ Biography
  9. ^ Author Biography, The Globalist, retrieved 3 May 2012 
  10. ^ Flashbacks, Morley Safer, 1990, St Martin's Press/Random House 1991
  11. ^ NewsMax Pundits
  12. ^ "Alexandra Villard Married to Editor". The New York Times. 11 May 1969. 
  13. ^
  14. ^ "Washington Times columnist: Originality deficit?". Erik Wemple. Washington Post. 2012. Retrieved May 17, 2012. 
  15. ^ Coverup at Washington Times, Salon, 17 May 2012
  16. ^
  17. ^
  18. ^