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(58,667 posts)
Mon Jun 17, 2024, 07:19 AM Jun 17

Incoming Post editor tied to self-described 'thief' who claimed role in his reporting [View all]

Source: Washington Post

Incoming Post editor tied to self-described ‘thief’ who claimed role in his reporting

Unpublished book drafts and other documents raise questions about Robert Winnett’s journalistic record just months before he is to assume a top newsroom role.

By Isaac Stanley-Becker, Sarah Ellison, Greg Miller and Aaron C. Davis
June 16, 2024 at 8:09 p.m. EDT

John Ford, a trained actor with a knack for accents, wrote in unpublished documents that he used subterfuge to assist Robert Winnett’s reporting. Ford has since sought to blow the whistle on what he sees as unethical media practices. (Kirsty O'Connor/PA Wire/PA Images)

LONDON — The alleged offense was trying to steal a soon-to-be-released copy of former prime minister Tony Blair’s memoir.
The suspect arrested by London police in 2010 was John Ford, a once-aspiring actor who has since admitted to an extensive career using deception and illegal means to obtain confidential information for Britain’s Sunday Times newspaper. Facing potential prosecution, Ford called a journalist he said he had collaborated with repeatedly — and trusted to come to his rescue.

That journalist, according to draft book chapters Ford later wrote recounting his ordeal, was Robert Winnett, a Sunday Times veteran who is set to become editor of The Washington Post later this year.

Robert Winnett, a deputy editor of the Telegraph, is poised to take over the top editorial position in The Washington Post’s core newsroom. (Telegraph Media Group)

Winnett moved quickly to connect Ford with a lawyer, discussed obtaining an untraceable phone for future communications and reassured Ford that the “remarkable omerta” of British journalism would ensure his clandestine efforts would never come to light, according to draft chapters Ford wrote in 2017 and 2018 that were shared with The Post.

Winnett, currently a deputy editor of the Telegraph, did not respond to a detailed list of questions. Ford, who previously declined to be interviewed, did not respond to questions about the draft book chapters.


Ellison reported from New York, and Davis reported from Washington. Cate Brown and Alice Crites contributed to this report.

Read more: https://www.washingtonpost.com/investigations/2024/06/16/washington-post-editor-robert-winnett/

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