A little more than a year ago, on January 29, 2017, Iona Craig was at the tail end of a month-long reporting trip to Yemen. On that day, special operators from the U.S. Navy’s SEAL Team 6 launched a surprise raid in a remote part of Yemen, apparently trying to capture or kill an Al Qaeda leader. This was the first covert assault of the Trump era, and the White House, which was not challenged in the U.S. media, hailed it as “highly successful.” Except it wasn’t.
As a consequence of Craig’s story, the American Civil Liberties Union filed a Freedom of Information Act request with the CIA and the Departments of Defense, Justice, and State. The ACLU is now suing the Trump administration to enforce that request, which asked for records including the legal basis and decision-making process used for the raid, as well as assessments of civilian deaths.
After the Polk Award was announced, Jeremy Scahill, a co-founding editor of The Intercept, noted that Craig’s work was unique.
“The war in Yemen — with its unspeakably catastrophic human toll — has been a scandalously under-reported story,” Scahill said. “No Western journalist has done more to document the human consequences of U.S. drone strikes and raids in Yemen than Iona Craig.