David E. Sanger, adjunct lecturer at the Kennedy School and a senior fellow at the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, is a national security correspondent and a senior writer at The New York Times. In a 36-year reporting career for The Times, he has been on three teams that have won Pulitzer Prizes, most recently in 2017 for international reporting. His newest book, “The Perfect Weapon: War, Sabotage and Fear in the Cyber Age,’’ published in 2018, examines the emergence of cyberconflict as the primary way large and small states are competing and undercutting each other, changing the nature of global power.
He is also the author of two previous Times best sellers on foreign policy and national security: “The Inheritance: The World Obama Confronts and the Challenges to American Power,” published in 2009, and “Confront and Conceal: Obama’s Secret Wars and Surprising Use of American Power,” published in 2012. For The Times, Mr. Sanger has served as Tokyo bureau chief, Washington economic correspondent, White House correspondent during the Clinton and Bush administrations, and chief Washington correspondent.
Mr. Sanger spent six years in Tokyo, writing about the emergence of Japan as a major American competitor, and then the country’s humbling recession. He wrote many of the first articles about North Korea’s emerging nuclear weapons program.
Returning to Washington, Mr. Sanger turned to a wide range of diplomatic and national security issues, especially issues of nuclear proliferation and the rise of cyberconflict among nations. In reporting for The Times and “Confront and Conceal,” he revealed the story of Olympic Games, the code name for the most sophisticated cyberattack in history, the American-Israeli effort to sabotage Iran’s nuclear program with the Stuxnet worm. His journalistic pursuit of the origins of Stuxnet became the subject of the documentary “Zero Days,” which made the short list of Academy Award documentaries in 2016. With his Times colleague Bill Broad, he also described, in early 2017, a parallel cybereffort against North Korea.
Mr. Sanger was a leading member of the team that investigated the causes of the Challenger disaster in 1986, which was awarded a Pulitzer in national reporting the following year. A second Pulitzer, in 1999, was awarded to a team that investigated the struggles within the Clinton administration over controlling technology exports to China. He has also won the Weintal Prize for diplomatic reporting for his coverage of the Iraq and Korea crises, the Aldo Beckman prize for coverage of the presidency, and, in two separate years, the Merriman Smith Memorial Award, for coverage of national security issues. “Nuclear Jihad,” the documentary that Mr. Sanger reported for Discovery/Times Television, won the duPont-Columbia Award for its explanation of the workings of the A. Q. Khan nuclear proliferation network. That coverage was also a finalist for a Pulitzer.
A 1982 graduate of Harvard College, Mr. Sanger was the first senior fellow in The Press and National Security at the Belfer Center. With Graham T. Allison Jr., he co-teaches Central Challenges in American National Security, Strategy and the Press at the Kennedy School of Government.