Bestselling author and Academy Award nominee Jeremy Scahill was in town this week to accept an honor at his alma mater, Wauwatosa East High School. Scahill was enshrined on the school’s “Wall of Inspiration” Wednesday.
In an address to the student body, Scahill quickly won favor with students by recounting a senior prank, wherein he and some friends managed to put a car inside the school.
Scahill admits to having been a poor student but said his education at Tosa East extended well beyond the classroom. “ I probably have the lowest grade point average of anyone on the wall of inspiration,” Scahill quipped in an interview with his friend and Tosa East classmate Vince Vitrano.
“I was a terrible student academically,” he continued, “but it was an incredibly important experience for me to learn about how to fight. How to fight in a good way, and to have non-negotiable principles.”
Schaill is known for his two internationally bestselling books, Blackwater: The Rise Of The World’s Most Powerful Mercenary Army, and Dirty Wars: The World Is a Battlefield. The latter was the subject of a documentary for which Scahill was nominated for an Academy Award.
He’s since co-founded an online publication called the Intercept. In his work there and as a war correspondent, Scahill often receives and publishes classified government material. Scahill believes governments have a right to keep some secrets as a matter of national security, though he argues America keeps far too many. “At a base level, we are a country that is addicted to secrecy at the government level.”
Scahill’s work is critical of powerful entities and figures on both the right and left politically, and he welcomes debate. “I get bored by reading voices from my own choir. I think it's really important to make it part of your daily media routine to understand people who are diametrically opposed to your politics.”