Benjamin C. Bradlee

Journalist, Born: August 26, 1921 in Boston, MA


  • B.A. Classical Greek, Harvard College, 1942

Ben Bradlee, like many other Classicists at the time, did intelligence work doing World War II. After graduation in 1942, he joined the Office of Naval Intelligence and served as a communications officer on battleships in the Pacific Ocean, handling classified and coded cables.

After the war, Bradlee became a reporter, first with a start-up he helped launch himself, the New Hampshire Sunday News, from 1948 with the Washington Post.

As executive editor of the Post from 1965 to 1991, Bradlee joined the New York Times in the 1971 attempt to publish the Pentagon papers which detailed the history of the U.S. involvement in the Vietnam War and had been leaked to the press. Both papers successfully challenged the Nixon government's attempts to prevent publication before the Supreme Court. No less famously, Bradlee oversaw the publication of Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein's stories documenting the Watergate scandal that resulted in Pres. Nixon's resignation.


Jim Lehrer Interview with Ben Bradlee, 19 June 2006