Marcy Wheeler

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Marcy Wheeler
Marcy Wheeler in 2009.jpg
Wheeler in 2009
Other namesemptywheel
EducationAmherst College (BA)
University of Michigan, Ann Arbor (MA, PhD)
OccupationIndependent journalist
Years active2007–present
Notable work
Anatomy of Deceit: How the Bush Administration Used the Media to Sell the Iraq War and Out a Spy (2007)

Marcy Wheeler (known on Twitter by the handle "emptywheel") is an American independent journalist specializing in national security and civil liberties. Wheeler publishes on her own site, Emptywheel,[1] established in July 2011. She has notably reported on United States v. Libby (the trial of I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby) and the investigation of President Donald Trump's possible connections to Russia, among other national security matters.

Early life[edit]

Wheeler grew up with parents who worked for IBM.[2]

Education and early career[edit]

Wheeler graduated with a BA from Amherst College in 1990. With an interest in the way businesses use language, Wheeler spent the next five years in corporate consulting, specifically teaching employees to compose large documents.[2] She moved to Ann Arbor, Michigan from her native New York City for graduate school in 1995.[3] In 2000, she earned a Ph.D in comparative literature from the University of Michigan, writing her dissertation on the feuilleton, a literary-journalistic essay form that is often self-published.[4][5] In her online "Prologue" to Anatomy of Deceit, she observes that the feuilleton essay is an important medium for expressing opinions which might ordinarily be censored due to government displeasure, citing recent examples such as former Czechoslovakian dissident and former Czech President Václav Havel.


Wheeler makes occasional contributions to the commentary and analysis section of The Guardian,[6] progressive news site Daily Kos, The Huffington Post, Democracy Now!, and Michigan Liberal. Between early December 2007 and July 2011 Wheeler published primarily on Jane Hamsher's FireDogLake (FDL) and prior to that on The Next Hurrah.[7] Many of Wheeler's 2007 blog entries at The Next Hurrah focused on the Congressional hearings into the dismissal of eight U.S. attorneys subsequent to the November 2006 U.S. midterm election.[8]

During United States v. Libby, the trial of I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, Wheeler reported on the testimony as one of the few press-accredited bloggers allowed in the courtroom.[9] In her account, she describes her entries as "not a transcript"; nevertheless, such bloggers' eye-witness accounts served as sources of reliable information about the trial for readers. During the trial, she appeared on camera in video reports posted online on, along with other accredited Libby trial blogger-correspondents such as TalkLeft creator Jeralyn Merritt and FDL creator Jane Hamsher and FDL principal blogger Christy Hardin Smith.[10][11]

Wheeler held an unpaid, part-time position as "Senior Policy Analyst"[12] at The Intercept for several months after its February 2014 launch. She has described that period as a "chaotic time," and said that working there "was a pain in the ass." In particular, she came into conflict with editor-in-chief John Cook, who refused to pay for her work and expertise, was reluctant to publish what she believed was an important surveillance story, and excluded her from the first meeting of all staff reporters—which she construed as Cook's opinion that she was not a worthy journalist. Consequently, she resigned.[13]

Wheeler became a witness in Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigation of President Donald Trump's possible connections to Russia after outing one of her sources to the FBI in 2017.[14][15]

She campaigned for Democratic presidential candidate Howard Dean in 2004, and is a former vice chairwoman of the Washtenaw County Democratic Party.[3]

Anatomy of Deceit[edit]

Wheeler's reputation as a blogger stems from her analysis of the outing of the covert CIA identity of Valerie E. Wilson, also known as Valerie Plame, and the Bush administration's justification for 2003 invasion of Iraq and the Iraq War. Several of her posts led to follow-up stories in the mainstream media. As their first book publication by FDL Books (Vaster Books), "in order to have Marcy [Wheeler]’s work seen by a larger audience," FireDogLake and Daily Kos jointly published her book on the CIA leak scandal, entitled Anatomy of Deceit: How the Bush Administration Used the Media to Sell the Iraq War and Out a Spy, on January 28, 2007.

Related media articles and interviews[edit]

Personal life[edit]

Marcy Wheeler lives and works in Grand Rapids, Michigan, and is married to an engineer.[24]


  • Wheeler, Marcy. Anatomy of Deceit: How the Bush Administration Used the Media to Sell the Iraq War and Out a Spy. Berkeley: Vaster Books [Dist. by Publishers Group West], 2007. ISBN 0-9791761-0-7 (10). ISBN 978-0-9791761-0-4 (13).


  1. ^ [1]
  2. ^ a b "The Woman Who Knows the NSA's Secrets". Newsweek. 2013-10-04. Retrieved 2018-07-16.
  3. ^ a b "Blogger to Provide Libby Trial Play-by-play: Local Consultant Expert on the Scandal", Ann Arbor News, January 22, 2007 (Archived; fee or subscription required), qtd. by "skippy", "free wheelin'", Skippy the Bush Kangaroo (blog), January 22, 2007, accessed May 26, 2007.
  4. ^ Margaret Wheeler, Street Level: Intersections of Modernity in the Czech, Argentine, and French Feuilleton, Ph.D. Dissertation, Department of Comparative Literature, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor 2000.
  5. ^ Marcy Wheeler, "Anatomy of Deceit: The Prologue" Archived 2007-05-03 at the Wayback Machine, accessed April 28, 2007.
  6. ^ "Comment Is Free". The Guardian. Accessed October 6, 2013.
  7. ^ Marcy Wheeler ("emptywheel"), The Next Hurrah Contributor Index: Marcy Wheeler,The Next Hurrah, December 3, 2007, accessed November 18, 2008.
  8. ^ For example, Marcy Wheeler, "The Documents Not Turned Over", The Next Hurrah, April 27, 2007, accessed April 28, 2007.
  9. ^ Conan, Neal (February 5, 2007). "Libby Trial Reveals Workings of White House, Media". NPR. Retrieved 2018-07-16.
  10. ^ "Archive for the 'Blogs - Blogger Profiles' Category", (video clips of Marcy Wheeler, et al.), accessed April 30, 2007. is affiliated with PoliticsTV's Consulting Division; for further information, see "About", accessed April 28, 2007.
  11. ^ Biography of Christy Hardin Smith (FDL), accessed April 29, 2007.
  12. ^ "About The Intercept". The Intercept. Archived from the original on 10 February 2014. Retrieved 10 February 2014.CS1 maint: BOT: original-url status unknown (link)
  13. ^ Wheeler, Marcy (3 January 2018). "Why I Left The Intercept: The Surveillance Story They Let Go Untold For 15 Months". Retrieved 3 January 2018.
  14. ^ Sullivan, Margaret (July 8, 2018). "Blogger broke a cardinal rule of journalism by revealing source to FBI. Here's why". The Connecticut Post / The Washington Post.
  15. ^ Wheeler, Marcy (July 3, 2018). "Putting a Face (Mine) to the Risks Posed by Gop Games on Mueller Investigation". Empty Wheel.
  16. ^ Dan Froomkin, "A Lurid Look Behind the Curtain", White House Watch (column and blog), The Washington Post, online posting,, January 24, 2007, accessed April 28, 2007.
  17. ^ Scott Shane, "For Bloggers, Libby Trial Is Fun and Fodder", The New York Times, February 15, 2007, accessed April 28, 2007.
  18. ^ Politics: Libby Trial Reveals Workings of White House, Media, Talk of the Nation, February 5, 2007, accessed December 8, 2008.
  19. ^ Brian Beutler, "Chief Libby Trial Blogger Says She Believes Prosecutor 'wants Cheney,' 'won't rest on laurels'", The Raw Story (blog), February 20, 2007, accessed April 28, 2007.
  20. ^ Sean Paul Kelley, "Radio Agonist: Episode Three", interview with Marcy Wheeler, online posting, The Agonist (blog), February 27, 2007, accessed April 28, 2007.
  21. ^ Amy Goodman, "Ex-Cheney Chief of Staff Lewis "Scooter" Libby Convicted of Perjury, Obstruction in CIA Leak Trial" Archived 2007-04-11 at the Wayback Machine, interview of Marcy Wheeler and Murray Waas, Democracy Now!, March 7, 2007, accessed April 28, 2007.
  22. ^ Raven, "YearlyKos Convention Fundraiser: New York" Archived 2007-03-15 at the Wayback Machine (event announcement), Daily Kos, February 20, 2007, accessed April 28, 2007.
  23. ^ Sidney Hillman Foundation, "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2009-05-15. Retrieved 2009-05-16.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link) 2009 Journalism Award
  24. ^ The woman who knows the NSA's secrets (Newsweek)

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]