[em]New York Times[/em] Raids [em]L.A. Times[/em] for Mazzetti

The New York Times plugged one of the holes in its Washington bureau this week by hiring Pentagon reporter Mark Mazzetti away from the Los Angeles Times.

“It was an agonizing decision because this place is fantastic, but I’m looking forward to the opportunity,” Mazzetti, 31, said by phone March 10.

Mazzetti had been with the L.A. Times for about two years. Before that, he covered defense at U.S. News and World Report. He got started in journalistm as an intern in the Economist‘s Washington bureau.

The New York Times, which has been under a hiring freeze since last year, made an exception for the Washington bureau. The D.C. outpost has seen its reporting ranks heavily depleted, with the departures of Jeff Gerth and Todd Purdum, the retirement of David Rosenbaum (who was later murdered), and the promotion of Douglas Jehl and Richard Stevenson to editing posts. Mazzetti is scheduled to start at the Times next month.

–Gabriel Sherman