Margot Williams is a NPR News Investigations database correspondent. Along with her reporting, Williams works behind the scenes compiling, mining and analyzing data for investigative reports, ferreting for information, and connecting the dots.
Since joining NPR in October 2010, Williams has helped examine the massive trove of secret documents about the Guantanamo Bay detainees. Williams and NPR collaborated with The New York Times to provide an assessment of the reports which were leaked to the anti-secrecy website WikiLeaks. In addition, Williams worked with NPR Justice Correspondent Carrie Johnson to investigate the U.S. Bureau of Prisons Communications Management Unit for convicted terrorists. The NPR Investigation identified 86 of the more than 100 men for the first time; most are Muslims and have lived in the special units often called "Guantanamo North."
For five years prior to NPR, Williams worked as the database research editor and on the computer assisted reporting team at The New York Times. She spent 14 years at The Washington Post in several different positions including: research editor, library director, metro news resource director, and wrote for The Post's "Networkings" column. From 1998-90, Williams was the library director for the Poughkeepsie Journal.
Over the course of her career Williams has received a number of accolades and honors. In 2004, she was awarded first place for Explanatory Journalism on Major League Baseball from the Associated Press Sports Editors. Williams worked on the team that earned the 2001 Pulitzer Prize for National Affairs for The Washington Post's coverage of 9/11 aftermath and terrorism. She contributed to The Post's 1999 Pulitzer Prize Public Service Award for work on the investigative project "Deadly Force". In 1999, she was awarded Best of Show from the Maryland-Delaware-DC Press Association. Williams was awarded first place in Business/Economics from the Maryland-Delaware-DC Press Association in 1989.
A frequent speaker and educator at journalism conferences, seminars and graduate programs, Williams has participated in Global Investigative Journalism, Investigative Reporters & Editor and the Poynter Institute, among many others. Williams first book, Cuba from Columbus to Castro, was released in 1981 by Simon & Schuster. Most recently, in 1999, she co-wrote with Nora Paul, Great Scouts! CyberGuides for Subject Searching on the Web, published by Cyberage books.
Williams earned a Master of Science degree in library and information science from Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, NY, and a Bachelor of Arts degree in Asian studies from The City College of New York.
John Walker Lindh was a middle-class kid in Northern California who converted to Islam, traveled the world, and was captured by U.S. authorities in Afghanistan after Sept. 11, allegedly fighting alongside the Taliban. Now, he's suing the government over religious rights at a secret prison facility.
At the special communications management units (CMUs), their conversations are monitored 24 hours a day.
Designed for terrorists and other prisoners who get 24-hour monitoring, the constitutionality of the secretive prisons has been challenged by two inmates.
Reports about what life is like inside the military prison for terrorism suspects at Guantanamo Bay are not uncommon. But very little is reported about two units for convicted terrorists and other inmates who get 24-hour surveillance, right here in the U.S.