David’s projects have landed with significant impact and generated great public interest. His “Seven Deadly Drugs” [pulitzer.org] series in 2000 revealed the FDA had approved unsafe prescriptions despite warning signs and the advice of its own medical experts. That reporting led to the recall of the diabetes drug Rezulin and won a Pulitzer Prize for Investigative Reporting.
A few years later, David exposed how hundreds of NIH scientists -- including those who helped shape government-issued guidelines for treating high cholesterol and other conditions -- were being secretly compensated by the drug companies [latimes.com]. Those stories led to a ban on drug company payments to NIH officials and were recognized with the Worth Bingham Prize.
In 2008, David was first to report that the government’s lead suspect in the deadly anthrax attacks was U.S. Army microbiologist Bruce Ivins, setting the record straight after the government had erroneously blamed another scientist. David went on to write “The Mirage Man” in 2011, which documented how the FBI had consulted with Ivins for help in its search for the anthrax killer and missed obvious clues that he was the perpetrator.
In 2016, David exposed major flaws in the Pentagon’s homeland missile defense network -- and revealed $2 billion in bonuses that were paid to Boeing despite the failures [latimes.com]. Last year, he exposed the Trump administration’s gutting of anti-terrorism programs aimed at detecting weapons of mass destruction.
Willman grew up in Arcadia, Calif., and graduated in 1978 from San Jose State University with a bachelor’s degree in journalism. He began his professional career at the Pasadena Star-News, then worked for the San Jose Mercury News and in 1990 joined the Los Angeles Times. Since 1995, he has worked in Washington.
When he is not reading deep into government documents or doorstepping a potential source, David enjoys cycling, skiing, live music and watching wildlife. We also now can claim a diehard Los Angeles Dodgers fan on the Investigative Unit.
Please join us in welcoming David to the newsroom. He starts Jan. 13.