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Amir Hekmati waves after arriving on a private flight in Flint, Mich., Jan. 21, 2016.

AP Photo / Paul Sancya

Washington-based national security writer Eric Tucker broke the news that a former Iran detainee, Amir Hekmati, a U.S. citizen, Marine and Iraq war veteran whose 2016 release had been widely lauded during the Obama administration, had been denied compensation as a result of suspicions he had gone to Iran to sell secrets, not to visit his grandmother.

The exclusive solved the mystery of why the Justice Department had refused to pay Hekmati $20 million in compensation for years of imprisonment that included brutal torture. Tucker read through hundreds of pages of documents filed in the obscure Court of Federal Claims to piece together the narrative, which was accompanied by photos and a video from Washington video journalist Nathan Ellgren, which had roughly 2,000 views on YouTube.