Winner 2011

Toxic Secrets

CBS News 5, KPHO

In late 2010, Army veteran Steve House contacted the investigative news unit of CBS News 5. House was dying and wanted to give an account of his actions while stationed at an Army base in South Korea more than thirty years earlier. He and fellow soldiers had been ordered to bury drums of Agent Orange. Like House, others in the unit were ill. They attributed their sickness to Agent Orange and were concerned about how the chemicals they buried might have affected those living near the site in Korea. Over a period of nine months, the CBS News 5 team contacted those other veterans, corroborated House‘s account and obtained military records through Freedom of Information requests. They then traveled to Camp Carroll in South Korea to investigate what had happened there in 1978, what had happened since and what the military response might be. Despite opposition and resistance, the team, led by reporter Tammy Leitner and accompanied by Steve House, presented their findings to military personnel in Korea and elsewhere. Their reports led to international coverage of the issue, especially in Korean media outlets. The U.S. Army commissioned a multi-million dollar study of the claims first brought forward by House. For extensive investigative reporting that revealed significant events almost lost, a Peabody Award is presented to Toxic Secrets.


Executive Producers: Kathleen Clark, David Paredes. Investigative Reporter: Tammy Leitner