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David Rohde

Several months ago word went around the journalistic community that a New York Times reporter named David Rohde had been kidnapped by the Taliban. I emailed a listserv I’m on and asked people not to report the kidnapping out of fear that publicity would jeopardize his release. Then, while at an airport waiting for a flight, I very stupidly posted something that generically urged people not to say or write anything about the kidnapped reporter, whom I didn’t name, after seeing that a blog had named him. While on the flight I thought I might have made a mistake, and when I landed I saw that I had a voicemail from a Times editor who asked me to take down my post. I complied, and I still regret my mistake.

Today the Times reports that Rohde, spectacularly, has made his way to freedom. It’s an amazing, amazing thing. So many things made Rohde’s kidnapping horrendous, but among them is that this wasn’t his first experience with kidnapping. While reporting in Bosnia for the Christian Science Monitor in (I believe) 1995, Rohde was taken captive, and Richard Holbrooke personally negotiated his release. 

Here’s a statement from Secretary Clinton: 

I am pleased and greatly relieved by the news that New York Times reporter David Rohde is safe and will be reunited soon with his wife and family. Throughout this ordeal, our prayers have been with David, Kristen and their family as we provided resources and assistance from the State Department. I would like to thank the governments of Pakistan and Afghanistan for their assistance in ensuring his safe return. Journalists put themselves at risk every day to report the news in regions gripped by conflict. We rely on their vital role and I am grateful for their service.

What a huge relief. It’s been a trying day, but this is an uplifting thing to hear.

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Spencer Ackerman

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