Carrie Johnson

Carrie Johnson covers the Justice Department for NPR.

She has spent the last decade and a half chronicling legal affairs in the nation's capital and beyond. Johnson worked at the Washington Post from 2000 to 2010, when 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.

Johnson's work has won 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. She lives in Washington but always is planning her next exotic trip.



Tue June 14, 2011

Hearing To Examine Terrorist Recruitment In Prisons

U.S. Representative Peter King of New York, Chairman of the Committee on Homeland Security, uses his gavel to begin the first in a series of hearings on radicalization in the American Muslim community on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC, March 10, 2011. The hearings have gotten heat from civil liberties groups who say there is not enough evidence.
Saul Loeb AFP/Getty Images

The House Homeland Security Committee will hold a hearing Wednesday that looks at terrorist recruitment inside the walls of American jails and prisons. The last time New York Congressman Peter King (R) examined radicalization among Muslims, he generated a huge backlash from religious and civil rights groups.

But people who study prisons said the number of criminals who turn to extremism behind bars is small but worrisome. And they all point to the same case to open the conversation.

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Sun June 12, 2011

Policing The Police: U.S. Steps Up Enforcement

Demonstrators march in the National Day of Protest to Stop Police Brutality, in Los Angeles in 2009.
David McNew Getty Images

The U.S. Justice Department is stepping up its scrutiny of troubled police departments. Federal civil rights lawyers are investigating 15 departments from Arizona to New Jersey, asking whether officers are discriminating against minorities or using too much force.

When it comes to federal oversight of local police, there's only one place to start: the brutal attack on Rodney King. A Los Angeles police chief admitted King had been hit with batons more than 50 times, kicked at least seven times and shocked with a stun gun.

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Sun June 12, 2011

Politics Unavoidable In John Edwards Indictment

As legal experts debate the strength of the campaign finance case against former North Carolina Sen. John Edwards, details are emerging of how the indictment came about.

Lawyers for Edwards had pressed Justice Department officials for weeks to end the two-year investigation of the once-prominent Democrat with no criminal charges, a decision that would have carried profound political fallout. It would have been a hard sell even in an ordinary prosecution, let alone one completely interwined with politics.

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Wed June 8, 2011
National Security

Terrorism Case Exposes Gaps In Refugee Screening

Iraqi refugees Waad Alwan (left) and Mohanad Hammadi (right) were arrested May 25 in Kentucky for allegedly conspiring to aid al-Qaida. If convicted on all charges, each could face life in prison.
U.S. Marshals Service AFP/Getty Images

Two Iraqi men are due in court in Kentucky on Wednesday to face charges that they tried to send missiles to al-Qaida. The men moved to the U.S. as part of a program to resettle thousands of refugees from Iraq. But national security experts say their presence here has exposed an alarming gap in the screening process.

Waad Alwan arrived in Bowling Green, Ky., two years ago to build a new life. But when he applied to a refugee program for Iraqis, Homeland Security officials didn't know the military had lifted his fingerprints from a bomb designed to hurt U.S. troops in Iraq.

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Thu June 2, 2011
It's All Politics

White House Counsel Bauer Exits, Replaced By Career Prosecutor

President Obama's top lawyer, Bob Bauer, is leaving the White House to return to his law firm, Perkins and Coie.

Bauer isn't leaving Obama's orbit completely, however. He will advise Mr. Obama's reelection campaign and serve as the president's personal lawyer.

He'll be replaced by a veteran prosecutor, Kathleen Ruemmler. She has spent most of her career at the Justice Department.

She started out handling drug and crime cases in Washington D.C. then then took on a leading role in the prosecution of former Enron executives.

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