Bill Roggio is an American commentator on military affairs. Roggio is the managing editor of The Long War Journal. Prior to leading a team of online commentators, Roggio published the online weblog The Fourth Rail. Roggio was an active duty soldier in the United States Army in the 1990s.
Long War Journal
Roggio and the Long War Journal's staff use reports from media organizations, including publications in countries where terrorists or Islamic insurgencies are active, such as in Afghanistan and Pakistan, then amplify and add historical context to what they find with information from their own network of US intelligence sources. In some cases, PMI has funded trips by its own media-credentialed journalists to report on war zones such as Afghanistan, Iraq, and the Philippines. Roggio, a former United States Army signalman and infantryman, uses his military experience to add strategic, operational, and tactical level context to the journal's reports. According to the Columbia Journalism Review, "Roggio's greatest service, then, may be the way he picks up where the mainstream press leaves off, giving readers a simultaneously more specific and holistic understanding of the battlefield."
The Columbia Journalism Review reports that the Long War Journal for the most part avoids political bias in its stories. The Review, however, noted that Roggio has at times aligned himself with conservative bloggers on issues such as the "Easongate" controversy. The journal states that it is a publication of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, which describes itself as non-partisan but has been called "neoconservative" by various resources.
The Long War Journal has been used as a source by media organizations or quoted in press publications including the New York Times (two of which were on the newspaper's front page), Reuters, Associated Press, United Press International, Sunday Times, The Hindu, Cable News Network, the Times of India, The Australian, CTC Sentinel, Time, The Nation, Washington Times, and The Atlantic. Marc Thiessen used the journal as a source in a 15 March 2011 opinion piece for the Washington Post. Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter Thomas E. Ricks cited Long War Journal reporter Nathan Webster in Ricks' Iraq-related book, The Gamble.
In 2006, before the establishment of the Journal, Huffington Post commentator Stephen Kaus criticized Roggio after Roggio complained about the Washington Post's negative coverage of his 2005 trip to Iraq as an embedded reporter with the United States Marine Corps. Kaus criticized Roggio as a sensationalist who likes to get people to read his articles by distorting the news. Roggio has also at times made controversial claims about the fate of terrorists killed in US drone strikes.
After Baitullah Mehsud was killed in August 2009, Roggio claimed on August 6, 2009 that a US intelligence official told him US officials thought Mehsud was still alive. This claim about Mehsud's fate was not accurate, as Pentagon spokesman Jeff Morrell and National Security Advisor James Jones claimed that US officials were 90% certain he was killed and they had yet to see any evidence to assume otherwise, and the Pakistan Taliban later confirmed he was killed.
In April 2009, Roggio claimed Rashid Rauf, an Al Qaeda operative who was reported to have been killed in a US drone strike which took place in North Waziristan on November 22, 2008, was still alive. This claim about Rauf's fate was never proven to be true and in July 2010, a U.S. counterterrorism official told the New York Daily News that Rauf was killed in the drone strike. In October 2012, Rauf's family confirmed he was killed in the drone strike.
After Osama bin Laden was killed in May 2011, Roggio claimed that his son Sa'ad, who was believed to have killed in a drone strike in 2009, was one of his possible successors. At this time, Roggio gave no mention to the earlier report about Sa'ad's death and stated that Sa'ad "is considered a senior leader and an operational commander in al Qaeda" and that "he is known to shelter in Iran and to move back and forth across the Iranian border with Pakistan. A letter captured from the compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan where Osama was killed also discussed Sa'ad's death. In September 2012, al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri confirmed in a videotape that Saad was killed in the drone strike.
In March 2012, Roggio echoed claims by the Daily Times that Ilyas Kashmiri was still alive and was spotted in a meeting with Pakistan Taliban leader Hakimullah Mehsud in North Waziristan. However, the accuracy of this report was disputed because journalists were unable to access the region where Kashmiri was allegedly spotted. A few days later, the report of Kashmiri's survival was further contradicted when an Al Qaeda spokesman eulogized him along with other Pakistani militants who had been killed in various drone strikes.
- "The Staff: Bill Roggio". The Long War Journal. Retrieved February 5, 2009.
- McLeary, Paul, "Blogging the Long War", Columbia Journalism Review, March/April 2008, p. 36 (5).
- Mcleary, Paul, "Blogging the long war: Bill Roggio wants to be your source for conflict coverage", Columbia Journalism Review, 46.6 (March–April 2008): 36+, (3621 words).
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- "C.I.A. Is Disputed On Civilian Toll In Drone Strikes". The New York Times. August 12, 2011. p. 1. Archived from the original on February 5, 2014.
- Eric P. Schmitt (April 13, 2011). "New C.I.A. Drone Attack Draws Rebuke From". The New York Times. Archived from the original on February 5, 2014. Retrieved April 30, 2012.
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- Lamb, Christina, "School bombing exposes Obama's secret war inside Pakistan", Sunday Times, 7 February 2010 (correction published on 15 February 2010 noting attribution to the Long War Journal was accidentally omitted), p. 27.
- Joshua, Anita, "Senior Taliban leader killed in drone attack: report", The Hindu, 21 December 2010
- Cable News Network, A top insurgent in Afghanistan killed, coalition confirms", 26 April 2011; retrieved 30 April 2012
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- Neighbor, Sally, "Libya ripe for jihad's rallying cries", The Australian, 26 April 2011; retrieved 30 April 2012.
- CTC Sentinel, July 2009.
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- John Hudson (September 30, 2010). "What We Know About the Planned Terror Plot in Europe". The Atlantic. Archived from the original on February 5, 2014. Retrieved April 30, 2012.
- Thiessen, Mark (March 15, 2011). "Adam Serwer’s ignorance of a terrorist group". The Washington Post. Retrieved April 30, 2012.
- Ricks, Thomas E., The Gamble (book) (New York: Penguin Press, 2009), p. 266.
- Kaus, Stephen (January 8, 2006). "Military Blogger Bill Roggio Swiftboats the Washington Post". The Huffington Post. Archived from the original on February 5, 2014.
- Bill Roggio (August 6, 2009). "'Baitullah Mehsud is alive' - US intelligence official". Long War Journal. Archived from the original on February 5, 2014. Retrieved April 1, 2012.
- "90% sure Mehsud is dead: Pentagon". Hindustan Times. August 12, 2009. Retrieved April 1, 2012.
- "Pakistan issues reassurance that Baitullah Mehsud is dead". The Telegraph (London). August 10, 2009. Archived from the original on February 5, 2014.
- "Taliban admit commander's death". BBC. August 25, 2009. Archived from the original on February 5, 2014. Retrieved April 1, 2012.
- Khan, Ismail; Perlez, Jane (November 23, 2008). "Airstrike Kills Qaeda-Linked Militant in Pakistan". The New York Times. Archived from the original on February 5, 2014.
- Bill Roggio (April 12, 2012). "Al Qaeda operative Rashid Rauf survived US strike". Long War Journal. Archived from the original on February 5, 2014. Retrieved April 1, 2012.
- "1 Terror Plots Rashid Rauf Counterterrorism Official". Daily News (New York). July 8, 2010.
- "Family of Al Qaida terrorist Rashid Rauf to sue British Government for murder". Birmingham Mail. October 27, 2012. Archived from the original on February 5, 2014. Retrieved February 5, 2014.
- Mary Louise Kelly (July 22, 2009). "Bin Laden Son Reported Killed in Pakistan". National Public Radio. Retrieved September 22, 2012.
- Bill Roggio (May 4, 2011). "After bin Laden: who will lead al Qaeda?". Long War Journal. Archived from the original on February 5, 2014. Retrieved February 5, 2014.
- Bill Roggio (May 7, 2011). "Can Ilyas Kashmiri take control of al Qaeda". Long War Journal. Archived from the original on February 5, 2014. Retrieved February 5, 2014.
- Jason Burke (May 3, 2012). "Being Bin Laden: al-Qaida leader's banal jihad business revealed". London: The Guardian. Archived from the original on February 5, 2014. Retrieved September 22, 2012.
- "Al-Qaida bestätigt Tod von Bin Ladens Sohn Saad". Die Welt (in German). September 26, 2012. Archived from the original on February 5, 2014. Retrieved February 5, 2014.
- Bill Roggio (March 7, 2012). "Al Qaeda leader Ilyas Kashmiri spotted at Taliban meeting". Long War Journal. Archived from the original on February 5, 2014. Retrieved April 1, 2012.
- "Al-Qaeda leader reported dead found "alive and well"". AL-Akhbar. March 8, 2012. Archived from the original on February 5, 2014. Retrieved April 1, 2012.
- "New Statement By Al-Qaeda's Ustad Ahmad Farooq Confirms Ilyas Kashmiri Dead". Memri Urdu-Pashtu Media Blog. March 16, 2012. Retrieved April 1, 2012.