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Douglas Farah's Biography

Douglas Farah head shot
Douglas Farah

Douglas Farah is the president of IBI Consultants and a Senior Visiting Fellow at National Defense University's Center for Strategic Research. From 1987-2004 he was a foreign correspondent and investigative reporter for the Washington Post and other publications, covering Latin America, West Africa and transnational organized crime. After leaving the Post he worked with the Consortium for the Study of Intelligence, studying armed groups and intelligence reform, before founding IBI Consultants in December 2005.

Born to missionary parents he lived in Bolivia for two decades. In 1985 he graduated with honors from the University of Kansas (B.A. in Latin American Studies and an B.S. in Journalism) and was named UPI bureau chief in El Salvador. There he covered the region’s civil wars. In 1987 he left UPI and in 1988 he won the Sigma Delta Chi Distinguished Service Award for Foreign Correspondence for a Washington Post series on right-wing death squads in El Salvador.

In 1990 The Washington Post assigned him to Bogotá, Colombia to cover the exploding drug war in the Andean region where he chronicled the rise and fall of the Pablo Escobar and the Medellin cartel and other drug wars. In 1992 The Washington Post named him bureau chief for Central America and the Caribbean. In 1995 he was awarded the Maria Moor Cabot Prize by Columbia University for outstanding coverage of Latin America.

In 1997, Farah returned to Washington as the international investigative reporter covering drug trafficking and organized crime. In 1997 he was honored by Johns Hopkins University for a Washington Post Magazine article on how the Cali cocaine cartel bought the 1994 presidential elections in Colombia.

In March 2000, Farah was named West Africa bureau chief for The Washington Post. He traveled and wrote extensively about the brutal civil wars in Sierra Leone and Liberia and the conflict diamond trade. In November 2001 Farah broke the story of al Qaeda's ties to those diamond and weapons networks. Farah and his family were evacuated from West Africa because of threats against his life, He left the Washington Post in January 2004 after two years on the investigative staff.

Books Authored by Douglas Farah

Blood From Stones is a groundbreaking examination of West Africa’s blood diamond trade and its ties to the Al Qaeda terrorist structure that orchestrated the 9-11 attacks. Merchant of Death is the investigation into how a young former Soviet intelligence officer became the world’s largest arms dealer and helped fuel wars and mayhem across Africa, Afghanistan and into Latin America.

National Defense University

Douglas Farah is a Senior Visiting Fellow at National Defense University Center for Strategic Research

National Defense University