WBUR Staff

Fred Thys

Reporter, WBUR

Fred Thys reports on politics and higher education at WBUR.

Fred broke the story that the federal government may have lied to the Supreme Court in order to obtain the landmark ruling that established the state secrets privilege.

In 1998, WBUR sent Fred to Bosnia to train journalists as part of a State Department program. It turned out to be Fred who learned from the Bosnians, even as he shared with them how American journalists work.

Prior to joining WBUR in 1998, Fred was Mexico City bureau chief for NBC News. He managed a team of producers, stringers, cameramen (they were all men), sound technicians and editors who covered Latin America. Fred’s responsibilities included directing coverage of the takeover of the Japanese embassy in Lima by Tupac Amaru guerrillas.

For two years, beginning in 1993, Fred wrote and produced news and cultural programs for CNN International from Atlanta. Prior to that, he was a field producer in CNN’s New York bureau for two years.

As CBS News’s South America reporter, based in Buenos Aires, Fred led the network’s radio and television coverage of three military rebellions in Argentina, the protests against Chile’s President Augusto Pinochet and Chile’s transition to democracy, the overthrow of Paraguay’s long-time dictator, Alfredo Stroessner, and papal visits to Peru, Argentina and Chile. Fred, his camera crew, and editor were the first U.S. television network team to get into Paraguay after the overthrow of Stroessner.

Fred has produced and reported stories from Latin America and the Middle East. He has worked in Argentina, Uruguay, Chile, Brazil, Paraguay, Peru, Ecuador, Colombia, Panama, Nicaragua, Honduras, Mexico, Cuba, Jamaica and the United Arab Emirates. He reported on the drug wars in Colombia, the growing tensions between the United States and Panamanian dictator Manuel Noriega and the U.S. invasion of Panama, the visit of Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev to Cuba, the visit of President George H. W. Bush to Brazil, Uruguay, Argentina and Chile, the devastation of Jamaica by Hurricane Gilbert, and Iranian attacks on oil tankers in the Gulf.

As a field producer for ABC New Documentaries, Fred broke the story that Argentina had U.S. and Swiss equipment in its plutonium separation and uranium enrichment plants.

Fred holds a bachelor of arts in political science from Williams College.

Recent stories

Massachusetts Republicans Expect Record Turnout For Saturday Caucuses

April 29, 2016
Republicans are expecting record turnout at Saturday’s Massachusetts caucuses to choose delegates for the Republican National Convention in Cleveland. (Evan Vucci/AP)

Even though the delegates are already allocated to Trump, Kasich, Rubio and Cruz, that’s only for the first ballot at the convention. After that, delegates become unbound, and that’s where the real race comes in.

Walsh Tries To Move On After Report Ties Him To Union Probe

April 27, 2016
Boston Mayor Marty Walsh, in a 2014 file photo (Jesse Costa/WBUR)

Federal investigators are reportedly looking into union activities in Boston.

WBUR Poll: Boston-Area Residents Say Traffic Is Getting Worse, But MBTA May Be A Solution

April 25, 2016
Traffic is a big problem in the area, and is getting worse, our poll finds. Here is a familiar sight for anyone who drives on the Southeast Expressway. (Jesse Costa/WBUR)

“You would expect since most people in the area drive that you’d hear a lot about roads,” said pollster Steve Koczela, “but the number one thing people said could be done to improve traffic was to improve the MBTA.”

Flanking Boston Marathon Finish, Psychologists Help Runners Overwhelmed By Emotions

April 19, 2016

While medical teams treated the regular marathon injuries and also helped some runners through emotional trauma.

2 Women Sue BU Music Professor For Distress, Harassment

April 12, 2016

The complaint was filed Tuesday against Eric Ruske, a professor of music in BU’s College of Fine Arts, in Suffolk Superior Court.

The SJC Battle Over Whether Attleboro’s La Salette Shrine Owes Property Taxes

April 11, 2016
The LaSalette Shrine is appearing before the Supreme Judicial Court to appeal a ruling that they must pay taxes on several pieces of their property. (Joe Difazio for WBUR)

The shrine is arguing that it should not pay taxes on several pieces of its property, including 110 acres of woods used by priests for meditation walks.

Trump Finds Support In Mass., But Would Likely Face Long Odds Here In November

April 05, 2016
Donald Trump gestures during a campaign stop at the Tsongas Center in Lowell on Jan. 4. (Charles Krupa/AP)

Massachusetts gave Donald Trump his biggest primary victory so far. But could he turn blue-collar backing into a win here in November?

Trump Shuttle’s Boston Workers Recall Lavish Start Before ‘Things Started To Go Down’

April 04, 2016
Gertrude Cowan is a former head of the flight attendants’ union for the Trump Shuttle in Boston. (Jesse Costa/WBUR)

When he bought the airline, Donald Trump refurbished the planes and spared no expense on amenities. But then the economy soured.

State Trooper Killed In Mass Pike Crash Laid To Rest In His Hometown

March 22, 2016
State troopers carry Trooper Thomas Clardy’s casket into the hearse outside St. Michael’s Church after his funeral. (Hadley Green for WBUR)

Friends, family and colleagues remembered Trooper Thomas Clardy for his wit, love of writing and dedication to his children. His friend and fellow trooper used his farewell message to lament the lack of appreciation for police officers in the U.S.

Harvard Law School Proposes Dropping Its Controversial Shield

March 04, 2016
The Harvard Law School shield is seen on a window on campus. (Joe Difazio for WBUR)

A student group demanded the change back in December because the seal is modeled after the family crest of Isaac Royall, a slave owner who helped found Harvard Law School.

Bristol County Suicide Spike Not Just ‘A Bump In The Road’

July 20, 2015

Bristol County is seeing a surge in suicides. In the past three and a half years, 171 people in the county have died by suicide.

Hundreds Mourn Surgeon Fatally Shot At Boston’s Brigham And Women’s Hospital

January 23, 2015
A woman wears a button honoring Michael Davidson at his funeral service Friday. (Jesse Costa/WBUR)

From the funeral of cardiac surgeon Dr. Michael J. Davidson, who was shot to death this week at a Boston hospital: “Surgeons are not known for their bedside manner, but Michael had it in spades,” Terri Halperin, Dr. Davidson’s widow, said during the service. “That’s why the fact that a patient’s family member would take Michael away from us makes it all the more devastating.”

When Muscular Dystrophy Is Personal — And Global

September 18, 2014

My brother first developed symptoms when he was 15, and found that he could no longer run as fast as his high school soccer teammates. Since the age of 43, he has been confined to a wheelchair or scooter, unable to walk or stand.

Listening Back To One Of The Real ‘Monuments Men’

February 12, 2014
This photo provided by The Monuments Men Foundation for the Preservation of Art of Dallas shows group members as they remove Michelangelo’s "Bruges Madonna" from the salt mine in Altaussee, Austria, on July 10, 1945. (AP/National Archives and Records Administration)

With the new George Clooney film out, we bring back a 1998 interview with one of the real Monuments Men.

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