The Sam Adams Associates for Integrity in Intelligence gathered recently in Washington, D.C., to present an award to investigative journalist Seymour (Sy) Hersh. Hersh revealed in 1969 the massacre of civilians at My Lai (Viet Nam), and exposed torture at Abu Ghraib in 2004. More recently, he challenged the truthfulness of government accounts of an alleged chemical weapons attack in Syria.
The Associates, a group of former intelligence professionals, presents the award each year to a member of the intelligence profession or related field “who exemplifies Sam Adam’s courage, persistence, and devotion to truth – no matter the consequences” (SAII).
In addition to an award dinner for Hersh, the group held a public event at American University where members and guest speakers spoke to an audience of 200 about the importance of integrity such as Hersh’s in intelligence analysis and reporting. National security whistleblowers Daniel Ellsberg and Edward Snowden appeared (via the internet) along with Sam Adams co-founder Ray McGovern and SAII members Annie Machon (emcee), Coleen Rowley, Elizabeth Murray, Anne Wright, John Kiriakou, and Todd Pierce.
Past recipients of the Sam Adams award, made annually since 2002, include William Binney, Sam Provence, Katherine Gun, Larry Wilkerson, Thomas Fingar and Jesselyn Radack, to name a few. The award takes the form of a “corner brightener” candlestick, symbolic of their efforts to enlighten decision makers and/or the public about national security matters.