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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1:14am

Tue November 13, 2012
National Security

The FBI's Role In The Petraeus Investigation

Originally published on Tue November 13, 2012 10:40 am

Members of Congress want to know why they didn't know more about the investigation involving former CIA Director David Petraeus, seen here testifying on Capitol Hill on Feb. 2.
Cliff Owen AP

In Washington scandals, the question is usually what the White House knew.

But in the case of former CIA Director David Petraeus, lawmakers are asking why President Obama did not know about a federal investigation that had found evidence Petraeus was having an affair.

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3:54pm

Tue November 6, 2012
It's All Politics

Republicans Keep The House; Democrats To Retain Senate

Originally published on Wed November 7, 2012 4:45 am

Democrat Elizabeth Warren takes the stage after defeating incumbent GOP Sen. Scott Brown in the Massachusetts Senate race on Tuesday.
Michael Dwyer AP

Republicans have easily maintained their hold on the House, while missteps from Tea Party favorites helped Democrats retain a majority in the Senate.

That means the two chambers of Congress remain deeply divided, with prospects for agreement on such big-ticket items as deficits, tax rates and climate change unclear.

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5:01am

Tue November 6, 2012
It's All Politics

The Battle For Congress: Senate And House Races To Watch

Originally published on Tue November 6, 2012 5:02 pm

Sen. Scott Brown, R-Mass., shakes hands with Democratic challenger Elizabeth Warren at their Oct. 1 debate in Lowell, Mass. The race is one of a handful of contests that could determine party control of the Senate.
Charles Krupa AP

For Republicans itching to regain control of the Senate, Tuesday's election presents a rare opportunity. Only 10 GOP incumbents are on the ballot, compared with nearly two dozen Democrats and independents who caucus with them.

That means the magic number for Republicans is low. They need only a net gain of three or four seats to take over the Senate — and, assuming they keep the U.S. House of Representatives, consolidate their influence on Capitol Hill. Democrats need to pick up 25 seats to seize the House, a goal that political analysts consider all but out of reach.

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3:03am

Wed October 24, 2012
Around the Nation

Tough Times For Girls In Juvenile Justice System

Originally published on Wed October 24, 2012 5:30 am

The number of boys locked up for crimes has dropped over the past decade, but the number of young women detained in jails and residential centers has moved in the other direction.

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3:32pm

Tue October 23, 2012
Law

Former CIA Agent Pleads Guilty To Leaking Info

Originally published on Wed October 24, 2012 2:18 am

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

This is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Melissa Block.

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

And I'm Audie Cornish.

A big development today in the Justice Department's crackdown on national security leaks. A former CIA agent pleaded guilty to revealing the name of a covert operative to a reporter. John Kiriakou agreed to spend two and a half years in prison.

NPR's Carrie Johnson was in the courtroom in Virginia for the plea hearing and joins us now to talk about the case. Welcome, Carrie.

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4:01pm

Mon October 22, 2012
The Two-Way

Lawmakers Demand Update On 'Fast And Furious' Personnel

Two Republican lawmakers investigating the botched gun trafficking operation known as Fast and Furious say they aren't finished yet.

In a letter obtained by NPR, Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, and Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., are demanding an update on personnel actions taken by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives after a lengthy investigation by Congress and the Justice Department inspector general.

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3:39pm

Mon October 22, 2012
The Two-Way

UPDATE: Former CIA Officer Pleads Guilty In Leak Case

Originally published on Tue October 23, 2012 10:11 am

Former CIA officer John Kiriakou (right), accompanied by his attorney, John Hundley, leaving federal court in Alexandria, Va., last January.
Jacquelyn Martin AP

Update at 11:35 a.m. ET, Oct. 23:

Former CIA officer John Kiriakou, as expected, pleaded guilty this morning to revealing an undercover operative's identity.

According to The Associated Press:

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2:24pm

Mon October 22, 2012
Law

What Happens After Jurors Get It Wrong?

Originally published on Mon October 22, 2012 6:16 pm

Juror Anita Woodruff is haunted by her decision to help convict Santae Tribble of murder.
Carrie Johnson NPR

About 300 people have been wrongfully convicted and exonerated in the U.S. thanks to DNA evidence. But overlooked in those stories are the accounts of jurors who unwittingly played a role in the injustice.

One of those stories is playing out in Washington, D.C., where two jurors who helped convict a teenager of murder in 1981 are now persuaded that they were wrong. They're dealing with their sense of responsibility by leading the fight to declare him legally innocent.

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12:51am

Fri October 19, 2012
U.S.

With A Phone Call, Truckers Can Fight Sex Trafficking

Originally published on Tue October 23, 2012 11:03 am

Errol Giwa, en route to Washington, D.C., fuels up and wipes down his windshield at the truck stop in Jessup, Md. He says in his 34 years as a truck driver, he has heard of many instances of human trafficking at truck stops but hasn't seen it with his own eyes. "If you are looking for that sort of thing, it's not hard to find on the road," Giwa says.
Brakkton Booker NPR

Eight years ago, a truck driver parked at a travel center near Detroit made a phone call that changed a life.

"I pulled into a truck stop about midnight," Willis Wolfswinkel remembered. "Getting my log book done. Had two girls knock on my door. And I waved them on 'cause I knew what they were looking for."

Something about those girls bothered Wolfswinkel. They looked young, so he called 911.

When the girls went inside another truck in the same lot, he called again. Wolfswinkel kept watching as the police arrived.

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10:56am

Wed October 10, 2012
The Two-Way

Report: Solitary Confinement For Minors Could Have Lasting Consequences

A new report warns thousands of young people held in solitary confinement each year inside adult jails and prisons could suffer lasting consequences including hallucinations and mental illness.

The study by the American Civil Liberties Union and Human Rights Watch reached out to 125 juveniles in 19 states. Many of them reported being isolated for weeks at a time, in small cells with little natural light, no access to education, and minimal opportunities to exercise.

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2:21pm

Tue September 25, 2012
All Tech Considered

National Security Experts Go Rogue For 'Drone Smackdown'

Originally published on Tue September 25, 2012 5:39 pm

Alice Beauheim, her father and Bill Love fly their homemade machines at the Drone Smackdown in Manassas, Va., on Sunday. Objections by the Federal Aviation Administration forced organizers to hold the tongue-in-cheek contest outside of Washington, D.C.
John Procter

It started as trash talk between two contributors to a national security blog. They decided to host a drone smackdown to see if one guy's machine could take down another.

Unarmed drones, of course. The kind you can put together with a toy-store model and $200 in modifications. But the game turned out to have some serious undertones.

First, a word about the location. For a moment last week, the whole drone smackdown was up in the air.

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4:17pm

Wed September 19, 2012
The Two-Way

Plans For John Hinckley's Transfer Have Been Put On Hold

Originally published on Wed September 19, 2012 4:49 pm

Plans that would allow John Hinckley to leave a mental institution and go live with his mother are on hold. His doctors say the man who tried to assassinate President Ronald Reagan is well enough to deserve more freedom.

But a key part of the treatment plan is now up in the air.

Therapists in Virginia, near the home of John Hinckley's elderly mother, say they want to withdraw from a plan to treat him several days a week.

Hinckley's longtime defense lawyers say they want to quit too, because they're not getting paid any more.

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1:04am

Wed September 19, 2012
Law

ACLU Pushes For Answers On Drone Strikes

Originally published on Wed September 19, 2012 6:28 am

A U.S. Predator drone flies through the night sky over Kandahar Air Field in Afghanistan. Drone strikes ordered by the Obama administration have killed more than a dozen al-Qaida leaders around the world.
Kirsty Wigglesworth AP

Drone strikes ordered by the Obama administration have killed more than a dozen al-Qaida leaders around the world, in places ranging from Afghanistan to Somalia. In speeches and public appearances, U.S. officials say those attacks are legal and essential to protect the nation's security.

But when civil liberties groups asked for more information about targeted killing, the CIA told them it's a secret.

On Thursday, they'll square off in front of a federal appeals court in Washington.

Pushing For Records

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1:51pm

Thu August 30, 2012
The Two-Way

Justice Department Closes Investigation Into Deaths Of Two Detainees

Originally published on Thu August 30, 2012 6:19 pm

The Justice Department has closed an investigation into the deaths of two detainees in American custody in Iraq and Afghanistan without bringing any criminal charges.

Attorney General Eric Holder said prosecutors had declined to proceed "because the admissible evidence would not be sufficient to obtain and sustain a conviction beyond a reasonable doubt."

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4:23pm

Mon August 27, 2012
Law

Judge Halts Ohio Law That Could Discount Votes

A judge has given Ohio unions a preliminary injunction stopping a new state law that could endanger provisional ballots cast in the wrong precinct, even if the cause is poll worker error.

2:01am

Mon August 27, 2012
Law

John Walker Lindh Sues For Prison Prayer Group

Originally published on Mon August 27, 2012 11:34 am

John Walker Lindh was captured in Afghanistan in 2002 after fighting with the Taliban.
File Photo AP

John Walker Lindh was a middle-class kid in Northern California who converted to Islam and went to travel the world. U.S. authorities eventually captured him in Afghanistan after Sept. 11, when he was allegedly fighting alongside the Taliban.

His story was the focus of a Law and Order episode, and a song called "John Walker's Blues" by Steve Earle.

For the past five years, Lindh has been living in a secret prison facility in Indiana with convicted terrorists, neo-Nazis and other inmates who get special monitoring.

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12:47am

Fri August 17, 2012
Law

When The Lawyer Becomes The Object Of Prosecution

Originally published on Fri August 17, 2012 9:06 am

U.S. Assistant Attorney General Lanny Breuer says Charles Daum, a longtime lawyer, betrayed his profession.
Alex Wong Getty Images

For more than 30 years, Charles Daum made a living by defending people accused of run-of-the-mill crimes. Then he met a charismatic Washington, D.C.-area man charged with distributing cocaine.

What happened next is a plot worthy of a television crime drama.

The accused drug dealer, Delante White, turned the tables and helped convict his own defense lawyer of manufacturing evidence and putting on false testimony to help the drug dealer's case.

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1:24am

Fri August 10, 2012
U.S.

Sikh Shooting Puts Focus On Hate Groups At Home

Originally published on Fri August 10, 2012 4:28 am

Rescue workers stand in front of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City after an explosion on April 19, 1995. The bombing killed 168 people.
David Longstreath AP

The slaying of six people at a Sikh temple by a gunman with ties to white supremacists has raised questions about the scope of domestic terrorism — and what law enforcement is doing to stop it.

Federal law enforcement agencies cracked down hard on homegrown extremists after the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing, which killed 168 people, including 19 children at a day care center. Many leaders went to prison, died or went bankrupt.

But in recent years, the spread of the Internet, the worsening economy and changing demographic patterns have been giving new voice to hate groups.

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3:32pm

Tue August 7, 2012
The Two-Way

Fast And Furious Whistle-blower Reaches Agreement Over Retaliation Claims

Peter Forcelli, an ATF agent who blew the whistle on management lapses in the gun trafficking scandal known as Fast and Furious, has reached an agreement with the bureau over his retaliation claims.

A lawyer for Forcelli declined to disclose the terms of the settlement because it was the product of a confidential mediation process.

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12:42pm

Mon August 6, 2012
The Two-Way

Men Convicted In Infamous 1984 D.C. Murder Lose Bid To Overturn Judgments

Originally published on Mon August 6, 2012 2:36 pm

A judge in Washington, D.C., has turned back an effort by seven men charged with a notorious 1984 murder to overturn their convictions, ruling the evidence against them remains "overwhelming" and the testimony of witnesses who changed their story are "not worthy of belief."

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