Carol Rosenberg

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Carol Rosenberg
Alma materUniversity of Massachusetts Amherst
RelativesJoel Rosenberg (brother)

Carol Rosenberg is a senior journalist at The New York Times. Long a military-affairs reporter at the Miami Herald, from January 2002 into 2019 she reported on the operation of the United States' Guantanamo Bay detention camps, at its naval base in Cuba.[1][2] Her coverage of detention of captives at the Guantanamo Bay detention camp has been praised by her colleagues and legal scholars, and in 2010 she spoke about it by invitation at the National Press Club.[3][4] Rosenberg had previously covered events in the Middle East. In 2011, she received the Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Award for her nearly decade of work on the Guantanamo Bay detention camp.


Carol Rosenberg was born to a Canadian mother and American father in Canada. Her family also lived in Northwood, North Dakota before moving to West Hartford, Connecticut. Her siblings include an older brother, the late Joel Rosenberg (1954-2011), who became a writer of science fiction novels.

She studied and graduated in 1981 from the University of Massachusetts Amherst. From her freshman year, she started writing for the university newspaper, the Massachusetts Collegian, and at one time was Editor-in-Chief.[5]


Rosenberg worked for a short time as a court reporter before starting with UPI in New England. In 1987, she was assigned by UPI as its Jerusalem correspondent. During that period, she learned much about the region, and became accustomed to working in the Middle East.[5]

In 1990, Rosenberg was hired as a foreign correspondent by the Miami Herald; she covered many international stories for them, including in war zones.[6] She went to the 1991 Gulf War in the Middle East and conducted other extensive reporting from the area. At the time, Clarence Page wrote that at one point, Rosenberg and Susan Sachs of Newsday were barred by Pentagon officials from reporting on the 1st Marine Division's activity during the 1991 Gulf War.[6] She regularly worked to report activities that the government was trying to keep hidden.

Since January 2002, Rosenberg has covered the Guantanamo Bay detention camp as her main field, together with associated United States Supreme Court cases affecting the detainees and camp operations. Her managing editor Rick Hirsh at the Miami Herald encouraged her to cover it "aggressively." She travels there monthly and has sometimes stayed for lengthy periods. Arriving after the US constructed the facility, she and other journalists saw the arrival of the first detainees.[5]

In addition to her written journalism, Rosenberg has spoken about Guantanamo, the government's constraints on the press at the facility, and related issues of reporting on PBS's NewsHour and CBC Radio's international news program Dispatches.[7]

Coverage of Guantanamo Bay[edit]

Rosenberg has covered in detail the conditions at the camps, the tribunals (also called terrorism trials) and, in 2006, the reported suicides of prisoners at the Guantanamo Bay detention camp. She explored the lives of prisoners, writing about one so afraid to return to his native Tajikistan that he asked to stay at the prison in Cuba.[8] She has described conditions, including the refrigeration of bottled water at the camp, where it is stored in a two-ton shipping refrigerator meant for the dead. Rosenberg has described tensions among the military, for example, one general verbally attacking another general as "abusive, bullying, unprofessional" in a dispute over trial tactics at the war court.[9]

In The Least Worst Place, Karen Greenberg described Rosenberg regularly scanning the bases' flagpoles, as new flags could mark the arrival of new military units; she also asked about them at briefings to keep up to date on the Americans stationed there.[10] On the day the first camp commander was to leave the base, Rosenberg noticed a new flag, with unfamiliar heraldry. At his last briefing, the retiring camp commander told her that he would delay answering her questions about the flag until the end of the briefing. He presented Rosenberg with the flag, which he had ordered prepared specifically to honor her diligence in reporting. The heraldry was designed to represent her own personal history.[10]

Following the official report that three captives had committed suicide on June 10, 2006, camp authorities ordered Rosenberg and three other journalists there to leave the facility, temporarily causing a news blackout.[11] Rosenberg and Carol J. Williams of the Los Angeles Times had arrived early to prepare for a June 12 tribunal hearing.[11] Following the reported deaths, all hearings were cancelled, but Camp Commandant Harry Harris initially gave the two reporters permission to stay. Subsequently Commander Jeffrey D. Gordon, a DOD spokesman, announced that all the reporters were to be sent home. According to Gordon, other organizations had threatened to sue if their reporters were not also given access to the base.[11]

Rosenberg returned to Guantanamo. Her coverage has included the constraints on the press at that facility, which she has described as "outside the rule of law."[7][12]

On January 11, 2012, Rosenberg was interviewed by Public Radio International on the tenth anniversary of the arrival of the first twenty Guantanamo captives.[13]

On June 18, 2013, Rosenberg republished a list of the dispositions of the Guantanamo captives, which was sent to her in response to a Freedom of Information Act request.[14] The list Rosenberg was given contained 240 names and was dated January 22, 2010. It was the work of the Guantanamo Joint Task Force, which had been authorized on January 22, 2009 under the President Barack Obama administration.

On January 8, 2019, Rosenberg broke a story describing how partially redacted transcripts from a pre-trial hearing of Guantanamo Military Commission of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, seemed to indicate that Director of the Central Intelligence Agency, Gina Haspel, had been the "Chief of Base" of a clandestine CIA detention site in Guantanamo, in the 2003-2004 period.[15][16]

Sexual harassment complaint[edit]

Commander Gordon's three page letter of July 22, 2009 was published on July 24, 2009 -- page 1 page 2, and page 3.

On July 22, 2009, Rosenberg was named in a sexual harassment complaint by the US Navy Commander, Jeffrey D. Gordon, a spokesman for DOD for the Western Hemisphere, including the Guantanamo detention camp, who complained that Rosenberg had used coarse language "of an explicitly sexual nature".[17][18][19][20] When the complaint first broke, Carol Williams, a reporter at the Los Angeles Times and friend of Rosenberg, dismissed Gordon's letter, saying, "This is an attempt to discredit a journalist who has managed to transcend incredible odds to cover a story of tremendous significance to the American public." Jamie McIntyre, a former CNN Pentagon correspondent, said of Rosenberg's interactions with Gordon: "I didn't think there was any sort of sexual abuse, unless you're telling me a naval officer, a sailor, isn't used to hearing anatomical references in anger. It sounds like an overreaction on everybody's part." He said Rosenberg "was always professional in her demeanor when I was around her."[9]

On August 3, 2009, the Miami Herald reported that it had concluded its internal inquiry on the matter.[21] After interviewing both reporters and other Guantanamo staff who would have been present during the incidents, the internal inquiry "did not find corroboration" for Gordon's claims.[21] Its findings acknowledged that Rosenberg had used profanity.[22] Elissa Vanaver, the Miami Herald's Vice President of Human Resources, wrote to the Pentagon to inform the authorities of the paper's conclusions reached by their inquiry.[21]


In 2011, Rosenberg won the Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Award for her reporting from Guantánamo Bay.[5][13][23]

In 2014, Rosenberg was honored by the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press.[24]

On March 20, 2015, Rosenberg was listed as the 2015 awardee of the Scripps Howard Foundation's Edward Willis Scripps Award for distinguished service to the First Amendment.[24] Awardees receive a trophy and $10,000.

Use of Google Glass at Guantanamo[edit]

When Google was developing a small, standalone, computer, with built-in streaming video, called Google Glass, it chose a few thousand individuals who were invited to be beta testers.[25] Rosenberg was selected to be a beta-tester. There was confusion, initially, when she first took the glasses to Guantanamo, as to whether she should be allowed to use them there.[26] However, since August 2013, she has been allowed to use them, and she has posted a number of video blogs.

Possible early retirement[edit]

On February 5, 2019, The Washington Post's media critic, Eric Wemple, reported McClatchy, the Miami Herald's parent company, had announced that conditions within the news industry would force it offer early retirement to senior staff, including Rosenberg.[27] Wemple quoted former Miami Herald managing editor, Mark Seibel

“She’s the expert. There’s no one in the United States that knows more about Gitmo than Carol Rosenberg.. I assigned Carol to Gitmo and jokingly told her not to come back until after the executions had happened.”[27]

Wemple quoted Charlie Savage, of The New York Times:[27]

“Her work on Guantanamo is an area where The Miami Herald and McClatchy have regularly distinguished themselves with reporting of national and international significance that cannot be found anywhere else. Guantanamo was one of the costliest and most disputed national-security legal-policy experiments by the Bush administration after 9/11 — and it’s not over even though the Bush and Obama administrations eventually got rid of most of the detainees Bush brought there.”[27]

In its reporting, the Miami New Times pointed out that McClatchy's CEO Craig Forman received a bonus of $900,000 on top of his base salary of $823,846 and $552,684 in stock awards, in 2017, writing "while the news is soul-numbing for reporters, life is still apparently pretty good for Forman and the rest of the newspaper chain's corporate board."[28]

Hired by The New York Times[edit]

On February 20, 2019, the Pulitzer Center announced that The New York Times would be hiring Rosenberg.[29] The Pulitzer Center had been covering part of Rosenberg's salary since 2018. After McClatchy's buyout offer, the Pulitzer Center helped her find a new position. They will provide support to The New York Times to help support her position because they consider her ongoing coverage of Guantanamo to be important.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ David Glenn (November 2010). "The Record Keeper: Carol Rosenberg owns the Guantánamo beat" [Carol Rosenberg, awareness of Guantanamo]. Columbia Journalism Review. Archived from the original on 2012-11-14. Retrieved 2012-09-27. On January 11, 2002, the first twenty detainees landed at Guantánamo Bay Naval Base. Their arrival was witnessed by a cluster of journalists who stood on a hill 400 yards from the runway. One of them was Carol Rosenberg, a military-affairs reporter for The Miami Herald.
  2. ^ David Schimke (2010-12-03). "Breaking Into Guantánamo Bay". Utne Reader. Archived from the original on 2013-10-10. Retrieved 2012-09-27. Carol's daily accounts are what you need to read to understand Guantánamo 101," Karen Greenberg, executive director of New York University's Center on Law and Security tells David Glenn, who wrote a profile about Rosenberg for Columbia Journalism Review that was published in November. "She's still the only person who can contextualize what's going on. Carol's has been the consistent presence.
  3. ^ Carol Rosenberg (2010-07-26). "For reporters, the rules at Guantanamo change daily". McClatchy News Service. Archived from the original on 22 October 2012. Retrieved 2012-09-27. This article is adapted from a speech given to the National Press Club in Washington by Carol Rosenberg, a reporter for The Miami Herald, who was one of four reporters banned in May from covering future military commission hearings for publishing the already publicly known name of a witness that the Pentagon wanted kept secret.
  4. ^ Petra Bartosiewicz (2013-02-23). "The Miami Herald's Carol Rosenberg on How to Report From Guantanamo Bay". New York Magazine. Archived from the original on 2013-02-26. The Miami Herald's Carol Rosenberg has reported from the detention center at Guantanamo Bay since the first detainee arrived in 2002.
  5. ^ a b c d Michelle Williams (2012-02-26). "Carol Rosenberg, Alumni Spotlight". University of Massachusetts Amherst. Archived from the original on 2013-07-15. Over the last decade, Rosenberg has reported on the detainment and interrogation facility of the United States located in the Guantanamo Bay Naval Base in Cuba for the Miami Herald. Or, as she called it on the phone, "The beat from hell."
  6. ^ a b Clarence Page (1991-02-22). "Gulf between military, media is so wide that truth has been put in choke hold". Milwaukee Sentinel. Retrieved 2009-07-25.
  7. ^ a b Fodden, S. (2011-09-01). "Constraints on the Press at Guantanamo". Slaw. Archived from the original on 2013-06-27. Retrieved 2011-09-01.
  8. ^ Carol Rosenberg (2009-07-07). "Fearful Guantánamo captive wants to stay behind". Miami Herald. Retrieved 2009-07-07.[dead link]
  9. ^ a b Howard Kurtz (2009-07-25). "Military and Media Clash In Complaint: Navy Spokesman Alleges Abuse by Miami Reporter". The Washington Post. Archived from the original on 2013-01-05. In a letter to the paper's editor, Cmdr. Jeffrey Gordon accused Carol Rosenberg of "multiple incidents of abusive and degrading comments of an explicitly sexual nature." Gordon, who deals primarily with the Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, prison, said in the letter that this was a "formal sexual harassment complaint" and asked the Herald for a "thorough investigation."
  10. ^ a b Karen J. Greenberg (2009). The Least Worst Place: Guantanamo's First 100 Days. Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-537188-8. Retrieved 2009-03-18.
  11. ^ a b c "News blackout slated as Pentagon orders four journalists out of Guantanamo Bay". Reporters without borders. 2006-06-15. Archived from the original on 2009-08-03. Retrieved 2009-08-02.
  12. ^ Carol Rosenberg (October 14, 2010). "The trials of covering Guantanamo". CBC Radio Dispatches. Archived from the original on 2012-11-10. Retrieved 2011-09-01.
  13. ^ a b Marco Werman (2012-01-11). "Ten Years at Guantanamo". Public Radio International. Archived from the original on 2012-03-05. The Miami Herald's Carol Rosenberg was there to cover their arrival. And she has been back many times since to report on the events at the controversial prison camp. This past year, she received the Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Award for her reporting from Guantanamo Bay.
  14. ^ Carol Rosenberg (2013-06-17). "FOIA suit reveals Guantánamo's 'indefinite detainees'". Miami Herald. Archived from the original on 2013-06-18. Retrieved 2013-06-18. The names had been a closely held secret since a multi-agency task force sifted through the files of the Guantánamo detainees in 2009 trying to achieve President Barack Obama's executive order to close the detention center. In January 2010, the task force revealed that it classified 48 Guantánamo captives as dangerous but ineligible for trial because of a lack of evidence, or because the evidence was too tainted.
  15. ^ Carol Rosenberg (2019-01-08). "Did CIA Director Gina Haspel run a black site at Guantánamo?". McClatchy News Service. Guantanamo. Archived from the original on 2019-01-08. The claim by Rita Radostitz, a lawyer for Khalid Sheik Mohammed, appears in one paragraph of a partially redacted transcript of a secret hearing held at Guantánamo on Nov. 16. Defense lawyers were arguing, in a motion that ultimately failed, that Haspel's role at the prison precludes the possibility of a fair trial for the men accused of orchestrating the 9/11 attacks who were also held for years in covert CIA prisons.
  16. ^ "Redacted-transcript-of-closed-9-11-trial-hearing". Guantanamo Military Commission. 2018-11-16. Archived from the original on 2019-01-08. Retrieved 2019-01-08. And so again, our evidence here is that there is a change, a significant change, a sea change in the classification guidance once Gina Haspel becomes in a position of power within the CIA. And we don 't know for sure, and we cannot tell you for sure that she is who requested that change in the classification guidance.
  17. ^ "Navy officer complains about Miami Herald reporter". Miami Herald. 2009-07-27. Retrieved 2009-07-31.[dead link]
  18. ^ Tim Elfrink (2009-07-27). "Gitmo Spokesman Cries Sexual Harassment, Tries to Bar Herald Reporter". Miami New Times. Archived from the original on 2009-08-02. Retrieved 2009-07-31.
  19. ^ Kyle Munzenrieder (2009-07-27). "Why the Carol Rosenberg Situation Shouldn't Be Dismissed So Easily: Don't Ask, Don't Tell and Media Bias". Miami New Times. Archived from the original on 2009-07-30. Retrieved 2009-07-31.
  20. ^ "Naval Officer's Letter Accuses Newspaper Reporter of Sexual Harassment". Fox News. 2009-07-25. Archived from the original on 2012-10-23. The letter — the online copy isn't written on official letterhead — alleges that on "multiple" occasions in the last year, reporter Carol Rosenberg "made abusive and degrading comments of an explicitly sexual nature" against Gordon and others at Guantanamo Bay and Andrews Air Force Base.
  21. ^ a b c Jack Dolan (2009-08-03). "Review clears Herald reporter". Miami Herald. Archived from the original on 2009-08-04. Retrieved 2009-08-04.
  22. ^ Howard Kurtz (2009-08-04). "Miami Herald Finds No Evidence That Reporter Sexually Harassed Navy Spokesman". The Washington Post. Archived from the original on 2012-11-08. Retrieved 2009-08-04.
  23. ^ "Miami Herald Guantánamo Reporter Wins Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Award". McClatchy News Service. 2012. Archived from the original on 2013-06-24. Retrieved 2012-12-31. Carol Rosenberg, who has covered the injustices in the U.S. prison camps in Guantánamo Bay for The Miami Herald for nine years, has been awarded the Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Award, which recognizes outstanding reporting on human rights and social justice.
  24. ^ a b "Scripps Howard honors Miami Herald's Carol Rosenberg for Guantánamo coverage". Miami Herald. 2015-03-20. Archived from the original on 2015-03-22. Retrieved 2015-03-22. Rosenberg's Guantánamo work has also been honored by the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press (2014), the Robert F. Kennedy Center for Justice and Human Rights (2011), and the Society for Professional Journalists (2010). The Scripps Howard prize — a trophy and $10,000 — will be awarded at a dinner in Denver on May 21.
  25. ^ Robert Johnson (2013-09-24). "This Journalist Using Google Glass At Guantanamo Bay Is Testing The Limits Of Government Secrecy". Business Insider. Archived from the original on 2013-09-25. Carol Rosenberg is still there as well, and since August she's been reporting with Google Glass and posting to her blog at the Herald. Her most recent video of a close-up look at GTMO's morgue-turned-soda-cooler is a result of Rosenberg's selection by Google as one of the 8,000 people to be "Glass Explorers." She paid $1,500 for the privilege of running the new tech through the paces.
  26. ^ Carol Rosenberg (2013-08-13). "Google's Glass goes to Guantánamo". Miami Herald. Guantanamo Bay Naval Base. Archived from the original on 2015-03-22. Retrieved 2013-09-25. Given our parallel professions they reacted just as I expected — they were psyched. They stared at the device. They tried it out. We were inside a wooden shed built in a dilapidated aircraft hangar, far from anything remotely sensitive. So they clowned around for the camera. It was downhill from there. Army Lt. Col. Samuel House, acting public affairs director, said the command staff was suspicious and forbade me from taking it anywhere near the detention center zone, a decision I hope they'll revisit in the future.
  27. ^ a b c d Eric Wemple (2019-02-05). "McClatchy buyouts could claim chain's full-time Guantanamo reporter". The Washington Post. Archived from the original on 2019-02-05. Retrieved 2019-02-12. Over the intervening 17 years, a great many reporters have dipped in and out of Guantanamo coverage as the news has warranted. That whole time, however, Rosenberg has stayed, monitoring the lawsuits, the hearings, the repatriations, the transfers and quite a bit more. She is the only reporter covering Guantanamo Bay on a full-time basis. And even though the detainee population now stands at 40 — about 780 detainees have been held at the site — there remains plenty to do.
  28. ^ Jerry Iannnelli (2019-02-05). "Amid Layoffs, McClatchy News CEO Got a $900,000 Bonus in 2017". Miami New Times. Retrieved 2019-02-12.
  29. ^ "Carol Rosenberg to Continue Guantánamo Coverage With The New York Times". Pulitzer Center. 2019-02-20.

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