John Podesta Said He Wanted Cecil the Lion Killer Extradited, Jailed

Lobbied former NYT reporter to write op-ed in favor of sending shooter back to Zimbabwe

John Podesta and the late Cecil / AP
• October 11, 2016 6:15 pm


John Podesta, the chairman of Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign, wrote that the man who killed Cecil the Lion should be extradited to Zimbabwe and jailed, according to hacked emails posted online on Tuesday.

In an August 1, 2015 email to former New York Times reporter Barry Bearak, Podesta suggested that Bearak write a column calling for Cecil the Lion's killer to be sent back to Zimbabwe to face local authorities.

Bearak had conducted award-winning international reporting for the Times. Bearak also spent time in a Zimbabwean prison while covering the country's 2008 elections and the resulting backlash against opposition forces by brutal leader Robert Mugabe.

Podesta said that experience made him the perfect person to write about Cecil the Lion.

"As the only person anyone knows who has spent time in a Zimbabwe jail, you should pen an oped calling for his killer's extradition," he wrote to Bearak.

"What an asshole," Podesta continued.

The email was posted online by Wikileaks. The director of national intelligence and the secretary of the Department of Homeland Security have accused "Russia’s senior-most officials" of hacking and leaking emails posted to Wikileaks and other sites to influence the 2016 election.

A review of Bearak's archive at the New York Times indicates he never wrote the requested op-ed.

The Clinton campaign did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Published under: John Podesta