Carrie Johnson

Carrie Johnson is a Justice Correspondent for the Washington Desk.

She covers a wide variety of stories about justice issues, law enforcement and legal affairs for NPR's flagship programs Morning Edition and All Things Considered, as well as the Newscasts and NPR.org.

While in this role, Johnson has chronicled major challenges to the landmark voting rights law, a botched law enforcement operation targeting gun traffickers along the Southwest border, and the Obama administration's deadly drone program for suspected terrorists overseas.

Prior to coming to NPR in 2010, Johnson worked at the Washington Post for 10 years, where she closely observed the FBI, the Justice Department and criminal trials of the former leaders of Enron, HealthSouth and Tyco. Earlier in her career, she wrote about courts for the weekly publication Legal Times.

Outside of her role at NPR, Johnson regularly moderates or appears on legal panels for the American Bar Association, the American Constitution Society, the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, and others. She's talked about her work on CNN, MSNBC, Fox News, PBS, and other outlets.

Her work has been honored with awards from the Society for Professional Journalists and the Society of American Business Editors and Writers. She has been a finalist for the Loeb award for financial journalism and for the Pulitzer Prize in breaking news for team coverage of the massacre at Fort Hood, Texas.

Johnson is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Madison and Benedictine University in Illinois.

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NPR Story
11:06 am
Wed August 21, 2013

Bradley Manning Sentenced To 35 Years For Leaks

Originally published on Wed August 21, 2013 12:03 pm

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

This is MORNING EDITION, from NPR News. Good morning. I'm David Greene.

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

And I'm Renee Montagne.

Army Private Bradley Manning was sentenced this morning to 35 years in a military prison. The intelligence analyst shared hundreds of thousands of documents with the website WikiLeaks in what prosecutors call the biggest leak of classified information in U.S. history. The 25-year-old Manning stood at attention as his sentence was handed down in a courtroom in Fort Meade, Maryland.

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Law
4:22 am
Wed August 7, 2013

With Holder In The Lead, Sentencing Reform Gains Momentum

Attorney General Eric Holder is calling for significant changes to the way the nation deals with convicted criminals. And he's not alone.
Evan Vucci AP

Originally published on Wed August 7, 2013 11:21 am

Sit down with the attorney general to ask him about his priorities, as NPR did earlier this year, and he'll talk about voting rights and national security. But if you listen a bit longer, Eric Holder gets to this: "I think there are too many people in jail for too long, and for not necessarily good reasons."

This is the nation's top law enforcement officer calling for a sea change in the criminal justice system. And he's not alone.

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Politics
4:54 pm
Thu August 1, 2013

New ATF Head Is Its First Senate-Confirmed Leader In 7 Years

Originally published on Thu August 1, 2013 5:48 pm

After a long delay, the Senate has finally confirmed B. Todd Jones to be the first permanent director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Firearms, Tobacco and Explosives. Who is he and what took so long?

Law
4:26 pm
Tue July 30, 2013

Bradley Manning Acquitted Of Most Serious Charge

Originally published on Tue July 30, 2013 5:32 pm

A military judge has acquitted Army Pvt. Bradley Manning of the most serious charge against him — aiding the enemy — but found him guilty of 19 criminal charges including violation of the Espionage Act and theft of government property. Manning was accused of the biggest leak of classified information in U.S. history after he passed thousands of war documents and diplomatic cables to the website WikiLeaks.

Law
5:43 pm
Thu July 25, 2013

Holder: DOJ Wants To Oversee Texas' Voting Laws Again

Attorney General Eric Holder has announced an aggressive new strategy in response to a Supreme Court ruling last month overturning a key part of the landmark 1965 Voting Rights Act. The Justice Department is starting in Texas, where it is asking a court to force the state to get federal approval before making any election changes - using a different part of the law.

The Two-Way
2:21 pm
Fri July 19, 2013

U.S. Judge 'Troubled' By Government Drone-Strike Policy

A federal judge considering a constitutional challenge to drone strikes that killed three U.S. citizens in Yemen says she's "troubled" by the idea that the courts have no role to play in what's essentially a political dispute.

Over nearly two hours of arguments in her standing-room-only Washington, D.C. courtroom, Judge Rosemary Collyer repeatedly pressed the Obama administration about its claim to a broad right to use lethal force against Americans engaged in conflict overseas, demanding more than once that government lawyers put a "fence" around their position.

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The Two-Way
1:56 pm
Thu July 18, 2013

Justice's Rules Mean Reporter Need Not Testify, Lawyer Says

The seal of the Central Intelligence Agency. The case that prosecutors want journalist James Risen to testify in involves an alleged leak of information by a former CIA agent.
Greg E. Mathieson Sr. MAI/Landov

Originally published on Thu July 18, 2013 8:48 pm

A lawyer for New York Times reporter James Risen is citing new Justice Department guidelines about when to subpoena journalists to support his argument that Risen is covered by a common-law reporter's privilege and need not testify about a former CIA agent who allegedly served as his source.

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Law
4:42 am
Wed July 17, 2013

Holder: It's Time To Examine 'Stand Your Ground' Laws

Originally published on Wed July 17, 2013 5:08 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

Attorney General Eric Holder says it is time to take a hard look at so-called Stand Your Ground laws. These are laws that allow people to use deadly force to defend themselves, if they believe they're under attack. Holder delivered that call to action yesterday in a speech to the NAACP in Orlando, Fla., a short distance away from where unarmed, black teen Trayvon Martin was shot and killed last year. NPR's Carrie Johnson reports.

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Around the Nation
4:17 pm
Mon July 15, 2013

Holder: Travyon Martin Killing 'Tragic, Unnecessary'

Originally published on Mon July 15, 2013 6:13 pm

Attorney General Eric Holder spoke to a prominent African-American sorority of the "tragic, unnecessary shooting death of Trayvon Martin" on Monday, saying the Justice Department is still investigating the matter. "We are resolved, as you are, to combat violence involving or directed at young people," he told members of Delta Sigma Theta in Washington, D.C.

Politics
4:54 pm
Tue July 9, 2013

FBI Confirmation Hearing Reopens Debate Over Surveillance

Originally published on Tue July 9, 2013 6:00 pm

James Comey, the president's choice for FBI director, had a relatively easy time fielding questions Tuesday at his confirmation hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee. Lawmakers wanted to know about surveillance, waterboarding and other controversial issues, but they posed their questions gently.

Law
11:29 am
Wed July 3, 2013

Ex-FISA Court Judge Reflects: After 9/11, 'Bloodcurdling' Briefings

Originally published on Thu July 18, 2013 4:52 pm

Over 25 years as a federal judge, Royce Lamberth has touched some of the biggest and most contentious issues in the country. He led the secret Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court after the Sept. 11 attacks, reviewed petitions from detainees at the Guantanamo prison, and gave a boost to Native Americans suing the federal government.

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Law
5:08 am
Tue June 25, 2013

Justices Rule In Favor Of Employers In Discrimination Cases

Originally published on Tue June 25, 2013 11:10 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

And the Supreme Court was actually already having a busy week. Yesterday it handed down rulings in two other notable cases, both dealing with worker's rights. The justices split five to four along ideological lines to make it harder for employees to win discrimination lawsuits. The court raised new hurdles for plaintiffs who say they were victims of bias and then faced retaliation for raising the issue. NPR's Carrie Johnson has more.

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National Security
3:03 am
Fri June 21, 2013

Obama's Pick To Lead FBI Adds New Layer To Privacy Debate

Jim Comey, then deputy attorney general, testifies during a House Judiciary Committee hearing in 2005.
Joe Raedle Getty Images

Originally published on Fri June 21, 2013 4:34 am

President Obama will formally nominate Jim Comey to be the country's next FBI director on Friday.

Comey, a registered Republican and longtime federal prosecutor, is best-known for raising alarms inside the Bush White House about a secret electronic surveillance program. That issue has taken on new resonance after disclosures about the Obama administration's dragnet collection of American phone records.

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National Security
4:34 am
Thu June 20, 2013

Director Mueller Told Senate Panel FBI Uses Drones

Originally published on Thu June 20, 2013 7:07 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

On a Thursday, it's MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm Steve Inskeep.

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

And I'm Renee Montagne. Good Morning.

In one of his final appearances on Capitol Hill, normally media-shy FBI Director Robert Mueller made some news. Mueller, who's retiring in September, acknowledged that the FBI has started to deploy unarmed drones in the U.S. Still, he played down how often agents use those drones.

NPR's Carrie Johnson has more.

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The Two-Way
9:20 am
Sat June 15, 2013

Source: Obama Considering Releasing NSA Court Order

Originally published on Sat June 15, 2013 4:00 pm

NPR has learned that the Obama administration, under pressure to lift a cloak of secrecy, is considering whether to declassify a court order that gives the National Security Agency the power to gather phone call record information on millions of Americans.

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Law
5:16 pm
Tue June 11, 2013

ACLU Sues Feds Over Surveillance Program

Originally published on Tue June 11, 2013 6:20 pm

The American Civil Liberties Union is suing the federal government over the National Security Agency's phone and Internet surveillance program.

Law
2:54 am
Thu June 6, 2013

Holder On The Hot Seat Over Leak Investigations

Attorney General Eric Holder testifies on May 15 before the House Judiciary Committee.
Brendan Smialowski AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu June 6, 2013 5:52 am

Attorney General Eric Holder has been a lightning rod for the president's fiercest critics during his four years in office. Lately, he's been back on the hot seat with a crisis of his own making: the Justice Department's aggressive stance toward reporters in national security leak cases.

Holder heads to the Senate on Thursday, where lawmakers are sure to demand an explanation.

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The Two-Way
6:21 pm
Tue June 4, 2013

Defense: Too Many Documents 'Classifed' In Rosen Leak Case

The lawyer for Stephen Jin-Woo Kim, a former State Department contractor charged with leaking top-secret information to Fox News, has accused the intelligence community of impeding his defense by slapping the "classified" label on hundreds of irrelevant and harmless documents.

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Law
3:35 am
Mon June 3, 2013

Intent To Harm At Center Of Bradley Manning's Trial

Protesters march during a rally in support of Army Pfc. Bradley Manning outside Fort Meade, Md., on Saturday. Manning, who is scheduled to face a court-martial beginning Monday, is accused of sending hundreds of thousands of classified records to WikiLeaks while working as an intelligence analyst in Baghdad.
Patrick Semansky AP

Originally published on Mon June 3, 2013 10:23 am

In the three years since his arrest, Bradley Manning, the slight Army private first class with close-cropped blond hair and thick military glasses, has become less of a character than a cause.

"Bradley Manning is a very polarizing figure. People either think that he is a hero or they think he's a traitor," says Elizabeth Goitein, who co-directs the liberty and national security program at the Brennan Center for Justice. "I actually think that he's somewhere in between."

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Around the Nation
4:47 pm
Thu May 30, 2013

FBI Pick Rekindles Debate On Post-9/11 Security Measures

Originally published on Thu May 30, 2013 5:21 pm

Word that the White House plans to nominate former Justice Department official James Comey to lead the FBI has rekindled a debate about the balance between security and liberty. Comey, a Republican, served in the George W. Bush administration after the Sept. 11 attacks.

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