Richard Behar

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Richard Behar
Behar congratulated by President George H.W. Bush upon receiving Worth Bingham Prize
Born New York City, New York, U.S.
Occupation Investigative journalist
Language English
Nationality American
Alma mater New York University
Notable awards Gerald Loeb Award, Conscience-in-Media Award, Worth Bingham Prize, George Polk Award, Overseas Press Club Award

Richard Behar is an American investigative journalist who has written on the staffs of Forbes, Time and Fortune since 1982. His work has also been featured on BBC, CNN, PBS, and Fast Company magazine. Behar coordinates Project Klebnikov, a media alliance to probe the Moscow murder of Forbes editor Paul Klebnikov. He is the Contributing Editor (Investigations) for Forbes, and is at work on a book about Bernard Madoff. Behar is co-founder of The Mideast Reporter.

Education and career[edit]

Behar was born to a Jewish family[1] in Manhattan and raised on Long Island and Levittown, New York.[2] He is a 1982 graduate of New York University. Before joining Time in 1989, he was a reporter and associate editor for Forbes magazine for six years. He has also worked at the New York Times as a researcher and writer. Behar reported extensively about organized crime and the business backgrounds of politicians for Time, for whom Behar wrote a widely acclaimed 1993 cover story on the World Trade Center bombing.

In 1991, he wrote "The Thriving Cult of Greed and Power", a Time cover story on Scientology.[3] The acclaimed article won several awards.[4] The Church of Scientology brought several lawsuits over the article, all of which were eventually dismissed.[4] While investigating the story, he experienced some of Scientology's Fair Game tactics:

I later learned, a copy of my personal credit report – with detailed information about my bank accounts, home mortgage, credit-card payments, home address and Social Security number – had been illegally retrieved from a national credit bureau called Trans Union. The sham company that received it, "Educational Funding Services" of Los Angeles, gave as its address a mail drop a few blocks from Scientology's headquarters. The owner of the mail drop is a private eye named Fred Wolfson, who admits that an Ingram associate retained him to retrieve credit reports on several individuals. Wolfson says he was told that Scientology's attorneys "had judgments against these people and were trying to collect on them." He says now, "These are vicious people. These are vipers." Ingram, through a lawyer, denies any involvement in the scam. ... After that, however, an attorney subpoenaed me, while another falsely suggested that I might own shares in a company I was reporting about that had been taken over by Scientologists (he also threatened to contact the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission). A close friend in Los Angeles received a disturbing telephone call from a Scientology staff member seeking data about me – an indication that the cult may have illegally obtained my personal phone records. Two detectives contacted me, posing as a friend and a relative of a so-called cult victim, to elicit negative statements from me about Scientology. Some of my conversations with them were taped, transcribed and presented by the church in affidavits to TIME's lawyers as "proof" of my bias against Scientology.[3]

A 2003 report by Behar in Fortune explored Donald Rumsfeld's role in helping North Korea build its potential Nuclear weapon capacity, in an article entitled "Rummy’s North Korea Connection: What Did Donald Rumsfeld Know About ABB’s Deal to Build Nuclear Reactors There? And Why Won’t He Talk About It?" Behar is the only known journalist to have read the classified Phoenix Memo, the infamous pre-9/11 FBI document which warned the FBI about Osama bin Laden supporters enrolling in flight-training schools across the country.[5]

In October 2004, Behar left Time, Inc. to pursue book writing and various independent projects, including the launch of Project Klebnikov, a global media alliance investigating the July, 2004, murder of Paul Klebnikov, who was then the editor-in-chief of Forbes Russia. Behar also serves on the advisory committee of New York University's business journalism Master's program (BER).

In December 2008, he was commissioned by Random House to write a book about Bernard Madoff.[6]


Behar was included among the 100 best business journalists (the "100 luminaries") of the 20th century by the TJFR business journalism trade group. In 1999, columnist Jack Anderson called Behar "one of the most dogged of our watchdogs."[7]


Behar has won more than 20 awards for his reporting, including:

  • Four awards in recognition of his 1991 story for Time about Scientology:
  1. Gerald Loeb Award for distinguished business and financial journalism (1992)[4]
  2. Conscience-in-Media Award from the American Society of Journalists and Authors (1992) "for singular commitment to the highest principles of journalism at notable personal cost"[4][8]
  3. Worth Bingham Prize (1992)[4]
  4. Cult Awareness Network's Leo J. Ryan Award[9][10]
  • George Polk Award (twice): One for his 1995 story about the strong-arm tactics used by the Allstate Insurance Co. against its own employees; a second Polk for a 2008 story about China's activities in sub-Saharan Africa [11]
  • Business Journalist of the Year Award from the City of London Corporation for exposes about counterfeiting in China and organized crime in Russia's aluminum industry [12]
  • Daniel Pearl Award for post-9/11 journalism [13]
  • 2002 Morton Frnak Award, Overseas Press Club for post-9/11 journalism in Pakistan[14][15]
  • 2008 Ed Cunningham Award, Overseas Press Club for China's activities in sub-Saharan Africa [16]
  • Jack Anderson Award (twice) for "Top Investigative Reporter of the Year" – 1997 and 1999
  • National Headliner Award, as a member of the CNN Investigation Team, for "outstanding continuing coverage of attacks on America and their aftermath."
  • SAPA award (Society of Publishers in Asia) for best feature writing for an in-depth account of the royal family of Brunei
  • "Best of the Best" award in 2009 from the Society of American Business Editors and Writers (SABEW), for an expose on China's business activities in sub-Saharan Africa.
  • Fortune was awarded the National Magazine Award for public interest for two articles written by Behar on organized crime's influence in the garbage-hauling industry (1997) [17]
  • 2008 George Polk Award for articles in Fast Company


  1. ^ Forbes: "There He Goes Again: Egypt's Morsi Stuns U.S. Senators In Meeting With 'Jews-Control-Media' Slur" by Richard Behar January 25, 2013 |"Next in the big-media batter’s box was the piece in Forbes, written by a fairly powerless Jew (me) who — it turns out — controls nothing at the magazine except this blog, just like hundreds of other journalists with blogs at Forbes and elsewhere."
  2. ^ Lindsay, Greg (July 9, 2008). "SO WHAT DO YOU DO, RICHARD BEHAR, INVESTIGATIVE JOURNALIST, FAST COMPANY?". Mediabistro. Retrieved December 25, 2014. 
  3. ^ a b Richard Behar, "Ruined lives. Lost fortunes. Federal crimes: Scientology poses as a religion but really is a ruthless global scam – and aiming for the mainstream", book rev. of "The Thriving Cult of Greed and Power, Time Magazine, May 6, 1991: 50, rpt. in, accessed May 11, 2007. [Part of "Special Report (cover story)".] Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; name "Behar" defined multiple times with different content (see the help page).
  4. ^ a b c d e "Judge dismisses Church of Scientology's $416 million lawsuit against TIME Magazine". Time Magazine press release via Business Wire. July 16, 1996. Retrieved June 1, 2006. 
  5. ^ Behar, Richard (May 22, 2002). "FBI's 'Phoenix' Memo Unmasked". Fortune. 
  6. ^ Neyfakh, Leon. "Richard Abate on Building a Better Madoff Book". The New York Observer ( Retrieved March 30, 2010. 
  7. ^
  8. ^ Awards history at American Society of Journalists and Authors.
  9. ^ Behar, Richard (1992). "Richard Behar, acceptance speech, 1992 Leo J. Ryan award". (OLD) Cult Awareness Network conference, Los Angeles. Retrieved October 25, 2007. 
  10. ^ Henderson, Bob (December 28, 1992). "Hubbard from Pinellas to Russia". St. Petersburg Times. p. 1. 
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