Glenn Greenwald’s Site Loses Top Editor

Britta Pedersen/picture-alliance/dpa/AP Images

The fledgling website led by Glenn Greenwald and a fleet of other top national security writers has lost its top editor.

Vanity Fair’s Sarah Ellison first reported over Twitter on Thursday that John Cook will be returning to Gawker to run investigations for the gossip site.

Neither Cook nor Gawker responded to TPM’s request for comment by publication.

Cook had been editor-in-chief at Gawker before he was hired earlier this year by Pierre Omidyar, the billionaire eBay founder, to serve as editor-in-chief of First Look’s flagship digital magazine, The Intercept. The move teamed Cook up with Greenwald, who reported extensively on the Edward Snowden revelations.

After the hire was announced, Greenwald praised Cook’s “outsider mentality” and “demonstrated ability to attract large audiences.”

Greenwald confirmed the departure in a blog post on Thursday while noting that Cook “spent the year tripling our staff size and significantly increasing our daily journalistic output.”

Cook said his decision to leave The Intercept at year’s end “was a painful one to make,” but he said he feels “comfortable leaving in the knowledge that it is now perfectly situated to become a powerful journalistic force under new editorial leadership.”

It would be the second major loss in less than a month for Omidyar’s embattled startup following Matt Taibbi’s stormy departure from First Look. Like Cook, Taibbi had been hired earlier this year to serve as editor of a digital magazine for the startup.

The status of that magazine, which was going to be called Racket, is unclear.

Cook collaborated with Greenwald, Jeremy Scahill and Laura Poitras on a riveting piece last month that explained some of the circumstances surrounding Taibbi’s decision to leave First Look.

This post has been updated.

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