Bardach Takes the Stand, Begrudgingly

Yesterday Ann Louise Bardach, a veteran Cuba reporter, was compelled to testify in the messy federal trial of Luis Posada, an anti-Castro militant.

In a piece for Foreign Policy, Bardach explained that she wasn’t looking forward to the experience:

Although I have published widely for more than 30 years, I am rather old-school about journalism and prefer to write in the third person. I have long guarded my privacy — family, marriage, health, and the rest. I am neither a public confessor nor an appreciator of reality shows. So this will not be pleasant.

At issue are a series of conversations between Posada and Bardach which the government hopes will help show that Posada lied under oath. The interviews led to a New York Times series in 1998, which, as Bree Nordenson described in a March 2007 CJR profile of Bardach, was a quite boon for the reporter.

Her breakthrough at the Times came when she received a call from Luis Posada, a notorious anti-Castro militant who had been in hiding for many years. Bardach had met a friend of Posada’s for lunch two weeks earlier on the off chance that he might put her in touch with him. As luck would have it, Posada was looking for publicity for a series of bombings he had orchestrated in Havana in 1997, so he agreed to meet with her. “The interview with Posada was a coup,” says Jane Bussey, a veteran Miami Herald reporter who specializes in Latin American finance. “There are a lot of other reporters who would have loved to have gotten that interview.”

I wonder if those other reporters would have loved to get the interview if they knew that it would lead to years of subpoenas, legal battles, and now testimony.

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Clint Hendler is the managing editor of Mother Jones, and a former deputy editor of CJR.