Ken Klippenstein

Ken Klippenstein (born February 1, 1988[1][2]) is an American journalist who formerly worked at The Intercept.[3][4] Prior to joining The Intercept, Klippenstein was the D.C. Correspondent at The Nation[5][6][7] and previously a senior investigative reporter for the online news program The Young Turks.[8] His work has also appeared in The Daily Beast, Salon, and other publications.[9] His reporting focuses on U.S. federal and national security matters, as well as corporate controversies.[10]

Ken Klippenstein
Klippenstein in 2021
Klippenstein in 2021
BornKenneth Jacob Klippenstein
(1988-02-01) February 1, 1988 (age 36)
EducationWheaton College (BA)

Early life and education


He is the son of Stephen J. Klippenstein, a theoretical chemist for the Department of Energy at the Argonne National Laboratory.[11][12][better source needed] Klippenstein's mother's family immigrated from El Salvador as undocumented migrants to the United States.[13]

Klippenstein graduated from Wheaton College in 2010 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in English literature.[14][15]



Klippenstein's early journalism career began in Madison, Wisconsin.[16] His work with The Young Turks started as early as 2018.[17] In 2020, Klippenstein joined The Nation as their D.C. correspondent.[18] On April 30th, 2024, Klippenstein announced on his Substack newsletter that he was resigning from The Intercept and would primarily work on Substack.[4]

Use of the Freedom of Information Act


Klippenstein is a self-described "FOIA nerd"; much of his journalism draws on information he has uncovered from records requested at state and national levels of the US government.[19]

His articles also frequently include information from leaked documents.[20] He obtained leaked documents from the PR firm Qorvis, which implicated the company pitching the private company Caliburn on a propaganda video in order to improve the reputation of Caliburn's Homestead, a Florida shelter for "unaccompanied alien children".[21][22] In an April 2020 article, Klippenstein reported on a leaked document showing that the Pentagon had warned the White House in 2017 about the risk of shortages and ill-preparation for a pandemic brought on by a novel coronavirus such as SARS-CoV-2.[23][24] Klippenstein, along with Talia Lavin and Noelle Llamas, successfully sued the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.[25] In December, 2020, he filed two new FOIA lawsuits: one against the U.S. Department of Justice[26] and the other against U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, U.S. Department of State, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Defense Intelligence Agency, Office of Intelligence and Analysis, U.S. Department of Energy, Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency.[27]

During the George Floyd protests, Klippenstein's reporting uncovered documents regarding federal policing of the protests. Specifically, Klippenstein obtained an FBI document that stated the Washington Field Office "has no intelligence indicating Antifa involvement/presence" during DC-area protests in contradiction to Attorney General William Barr and other officials' assertions that Antifa were specifically responsible for instigating violence.[28] He also reported that contacts working at the Department of Homeland Security were disgruntled about orders to generate internal intelligence reports on journalists covering protests in Portland, Oregon as well as participating activists.[29][30]

Later, he co-authored with Lee Fang an article published by The Intercept in October 2022 regarding leaked documents exposing Department of Homeland Security's plans to secretly police disinformation online.[31][32] In response, Klippenstein was interviewed on Useful Idiots, where he expressed concern about what he saw as a major media failure regarding intelligence information oversight in a situation with no one in control as things drift toward disaster.[33]

On August 9, 2023, Klippenstein authored an article published on The Intercept regarding information Klippenstein obtained via FOIA requests about "[t]he star witness of Congress’s UFO hearings, David Grusch," and Grusch's history relating to PTSD, depression, suicidal thoughts, and alcohol use.[34] On August 10, 2023, during an interview with Breaking Points, Klippenstein stated that he spoke with both "DoD people and intelligence people" while working on his article; Klippenstein described his sources as "mid-level people," who are "experienced, but didn't quite have the political chops generally to quite make it to the top."[35]

Online pranks


According to The Daily Beast, Klippenstein "has a history of pranking unknowing targets on Twitter."[36] Klippenstein has occasionally been the subject of reporting, as well, due to him pranking individuals from across the political spectrum. Following a Twitter flame war with Tesla CEO Elon Musk, he attracted Musk's attention by sharing a Vogue photograph from the 2014 Vanity Fair Oscars afterparty showing Musk with Ghislaine Maxwell, a long-time associate of the late convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein, who had been convicted of sex trafficking.[37] Musk, who as of June 3, 2020, had 35.5 million Twitter followers,[38] publicly posted that Klippenstein was a "douche-about-town."[39] On January 9, 2024, he and other journalists were abruptly banned from X, the platform formerly known as Twitter and which Musk now owns. No explanation was given.[40] Klippenstein and the other journalists were later reinstated following media coverage of the incident.[41]

In July 2019, Klippenstein was covered in the media after a Twitter incident in which he was retweeted by Iowa Congressman Steve King just before changing his Twitter display name to "Steve King is a white supremacist".[42][43][44] In March 2021, Klippenstein pranked author Naomi Wolf by recommending she tweet an image of a fabricated anti-vaxxer quotation paired with a picture of American pornography actor Johnny Sins.[45]

On Memorial Day 2021, Klippenstein tricked political commentators Dinesh D'Souza and Matt Schlapp, as well as Florida Congressman Matt Gaetz, into retweeting a photograph of John F. Kennedy's assassin Lee Harvey Oswald, whom Klippenstein claimed was his veteran grandfather.[46] After being retweeted by Gaetz, Klippenstein changed his display name on Twitter to be "matt gaetz is a pedo". Gaetz later deleted his retweet.[47][48]


  1. ^ Klippenstein, Ken [@kenklippenstein] (February 1, 2020). "This exchange is the only birthday present I need today" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
  2. ^ Klippenstein, Ken [@kenklippenstein] (January 31, 2020). "31 year old Ken Klippenstein could get it! (Yes I'm 31)" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
  3. ^ "Top Reporter at The Intercept Quits, Slamming 'Dysfunction' at Outlet on the Way Out". mediaite. April 30, 2024.
  4. ^ a b Klippenstein, Ken. "Why I'm Resigning From The Intercept". Retrieved April 30, 2024.
  5. ^ "Author: Ken Klippenstein". The Nation. January 17, 2020. Retrieved July 31, 2020.
  6. ^ "The Nation's Ken Klippenstein: Military report predicted pandemic". Retrieved July 31, 2020.
  7. ^ "Author: The Nation Press Room". The Nation. January 15, 2020. Retrieved July 31, 2020.
  8. ^ "Talent -". The Young Turks. Retrieved July 31, 2020.
  9. ^ "Articles by Ken Klippenstein | The Nation Journalist | Muck Rack". Muck Rack. Retrieved July 31, 2020.
  10. ^ "Ken Klippenstein". The Intercept. Retrieved June 3, 2021.
  11. ^
  12. ^ "Stephen J. Klippenstein | Argonne National Laboratory".
  13. ^ Klippenstein, Ken [@kenklippenstein] (May 24, 2018). "My mom's side all immigrated here undocumented from El Salvador and can't even visit their home anymore because of how dangerous MS-13 and co have made it. Believe me, we hate them. But stripping them of humanity and hence due process endangers Central Americans who aren't MS-13" (Tweet). Retrieved May 22, 2024 – via Twitter.
  14. ^ "Alumni of Wheaton College". Retrieved July 31, 2020.
  15. ^ Thielman, Sam (October 2, 2020). "'Eventually something works, and then you just keep doing that': An interview with Ken Klippenstein". Columbia Journalism Review. Retrieved October 3, 2020.
  16. ^ Gordon, Scott (November 9, 2017). "Podcast: Ken Klippenstein's FOIA-fueled jabs at the powerful". Tone Madison. Retrieved July 31, 2020.
  17. ^ "ICE Paid Famous Motivational Speaker for 'Leadership Training'". TYT Network. June 26, 2018. Retrieved August 2, 2020.
  18. ^ "'The Nation' Names Elie Mystal Justice Correspondent and Ken Klippenstein DC Correspondent". The Nation. January 15, 2020.
  19. ^ "Requester's Voice: The Young Turks' Ken Klippenstein". Muck Rock. March 7, 2019. Retrieved July 31, 2020.
  20. ^ Cushing, Tim (January 10, 2019). "FBI Officially Has A Leak Investigation Unit". Techdirt. Retrieved July 31, 2020.
  21. ^ Iannelli, Jerry (September 9, 2019). "Government Nearly Made Propaganda Films for Homestead Migrant Camp". Miami New Times. Retrieved July 31, 2020.
  22. ^ "Guess We'll Never Get To See 'Baby Jails: The Movie' Now". Wonkette. September 9, 2019. Retrieved September 19, 2019.
  23. ^ Slotkin, Jason (April 5, 2020). "Report: Pentagon Knew Of Possible Coronavirus Threat For Years". Retrieved July 31, 2020.
  24. ^ Moreno, J. Edward (April 7, 2020). "The Nation's Ken Klippenstein: Military report predicted pandemic". The Hill. Retrieved July 31, 2020.
  25. ^ "The FOIA Project Updates". FOIA Project. Retrieved August 8, 2020.
  26. ^ "The FOIA Project Updates". FOIA Project. Retrieved January 16, 2021.
  27. ^ "The FOIA Project Updates". FOIA Project. Retrieved January 16, 2021.
  28. ^ Bump, Philip (June 4, 2020). "The Justice Department's rhetoric focuses on antifa. Its indictments don't". The Washington Post. Retrieved August 4, 2020.
  29. ^ Klar, Rebecca (August 3, 2020). "The Nation reporter says DHS agents 'upset' at administration over 'politicization of their office'". The Hill. Retrieved August 11, 2020.
  30. ^ Petti, Matthew (August 11, 2020). "The Dissent Channel: Meet the Investigative Reporter Uncovering the Dark Side of Homeland Security". The National Interest. Retrieved August 12, 2020.
  31. ^ Klippenstein, Ken; Fang, Lee (October 31, 2022). "Leaked Documents Outline DHS's Plans to Police Disinformation". The Intercept. Retrieved November 8, 2022.
  32. ^ Roubein, Rachel; Beard, McKenzie (November 3, 2022). "Republicans plan health-related probes if they win the House". The Washington Post. ISSN 0190-8286. Retrieved November 8, 2022.
  33. ^ Halper, Katie (November 4, 2022). "Leak: US Government Plans To Police 'Disinformation' – with Ken Klippenstein". Useful Idiots. Retrieved November 8, 2022.
  34. ^ "UFO Whistleblower Kept Security Clearance After Psychiatric Detention". The Intercept. August 9, 2023. Retrieved August 14, 2023.
  35. ^ "SMEAR JOB?: Journo Pressed On UFO Whistleblower Report". YouTube. August 10, 2023. Retrieved August 14, 2023.
  36. ^ "NewsNation Awkwardly Falls for Reporter's Twitter Prank". The Daily Beast. August 10, 2023. Retrieved August 11, 2023.
  37. ^ Leggett, Colin (July 4, 2020). "Elon Musk Got In A Twitter Flame War Over A Pic Of Him With Jeffrey Epstein's Associate". Narcity. Retrieved July 31, 2020.
  38. ^ "Elon Musk goes off Twitter and Twitter can't keep calm". Hindustan Times. June 3, 2020. Retrieved August 9, 2020.
  39. ^ Musk, Elon [@elonmusk] (July 3, 2020). ""Oh yeah, Klip Einstein, pseudojournalist & douche-about-town"" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
  40. ^ Gault, Matthew (January 9, 2024). "X Purges Prominent Journalists, Leftists With No Explanation". Vice. Retrieved January 9, 2024.
  41. ^ Marcin, Tim (January 9, 2024). "X / Twitter purges then reinstates journalists, podcasters, and leftist accounts critical of Elon Musk". Mashable. Retrieved January 15, 2024.
  42. ^ Siemaszko, Corky (July 5, 2019). "Rep. Steve King steps into Twitter trap". NBC News. Retrieved July 31, 2020.
  43. ^ Wu, Nicholas (July 5, 2019). "GOP Rep. Steve King deletes tweet after mistaking movie character for military veteran". USA Today. Retrieved March 14, 2021.
  44. ^ "'Eventually something works, and then you just keep doing that': An interview with Ken Klippenstein". Columbia Journalism Review. Retrieved March 14, 2021.
  45. ^ Brewis, Harriet (March 23, 2021). "Anti-vaxxer Naomi Wolf pranked into sharing fake quote from porn star". The Independent. Retrieved March 24, 2021.
  46. ^ Butler, Sinead (June 1, 2021). "Photo of JFK's killer in military uniform gets Republicans in a tangle as Candace Owens says it's photoshopped". The Independent. Retrieved June 1, 2021.
  47. ^ Anglesey, Anders (June 1, 2021). "Matt Gaetz Deletes Lee Harvey Oswald Tweet After Top Conservatives Tricked". Newsweek. Retrieved June 1, 2021.
  48. ^ Neumann, Sean (June 1, 2021). "Rep. Matt Gaetz Pranked Into Retweeting Image of JFK Assassin on Memorial Day". People. Retrieved June 1, 2021.