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Shane Harris

Investigative journalist and author of The Watchers

  • About Shane Harris

    Shane Harris is an award-winning journalist who is currently a senior correspondent at The Washington Post where he covers national security, intelligence, and cyber security. Harris is a key member of The Washington Post’s team of reporters covering Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and the subsequent war, with a particular focus on intelligence agencies in the U.S., the United Kingdom, and Europe; Russia’s use of disinformation and propaganda; and the transformation of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky from comedian to president to global icon. He broke the story that U.S. intelligence agencies had determined in late 2021 that Russia was massing forces on the border of Ukraine in preparation for an invasion. The story led to a cascade of revelations that exposed Russia’s plans.

    Shane Harris also covers many aspects of intelligence and espionage, including the search for the source of “Havana Syndrome,” a mysterious set of symptoms plaguing intelligence officers and other U.S. personnel who have served overseas. In 2019, Harris was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize along with his colleagues at The Washington Post for coverage of the murder of Jamal Khashoggi. He broke the story that the CIA had determined that Saudi Crown Prince Mohamed bin Salman had likely ordered Khashoggi’s killing. His reporting was featured in the acclaimed documentary “The Dissident.” In 2020, Harris was part of a team at the Post that won the George Polk Award for their coverage of the events leading up to the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol and its aftermath.

    Harris’s book @War: The Rise of the Military-Internet Complex explores the frontlines of America’s new cyber war. In his critically-acclaimed previous book The Watchers he tells the story of five men who played central roles in some of the most important and controversial national security programs of the past quarter century. The Watchers won the New York Public Library’s Helen Bernstein Book Award for Excellence in Journalism, and the Economist named it one of the best books of 2010.

    Shane Harris is the winner of the 2010 Gerald R. Ford Prize for Distinguished Reporting on National Defense. His work has appeared in The New York TimesThe Wall Street Journal,  SlateTheAtlantic.comNational JournalThe Washington PostThe Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, and the U.S. Naval Institute’s Proceedings. He has provided analysis and commentary for CNN, NPR, the BBC, The History Channel, National Geographic, several foreign media organizations and many local public radio stations.

    Many of Harris’s stories are about the inner workings of the U.S. intelligence community, and particularly those individuals who’ve spent their careers on the front lines of national security. He has broken several important stories, including the transfer of the controversial Total Information Awareness program into a secret intelligence agency; foreign penetration of computer networks that control parts of the U.S. electrical grid; cyber espionage directed at American business executives and government officials; classified ties between private security companies and U.S. law enforcement; and key elements of the National Security Agency’s domestic surveillance program.

    In the course of his journalism career, Shane Harris has written about a range of other topics, including diplomacy, technology, government contracting, and the U.S. reconstruction program in Iraq. Prior to joining Washingtonian, in 2010, Harris was a staff correspondent for National Journal for five years. Before that post, he was the technology editor and a staff correspondent at Government Executive magazine, the premiere publication covering management in the federal government.

    Shane Harris also was the managing editor for Movieline magazine in Los Angeles, for which he covered the film industry and oversaw the work of the publication’s editorial staff and its website. Harris began his journalism career in 1999, as the research coordinator and a writer for Governing magazine in Washington, where he covered issues and trends affecting state and local government officials nationwide.

    Shane Harris graduated from Wake Forest University with a B.A. in Politics in 1998. He is also a fiction writer. While living in Los Angeles, he helped found and served as the artistic director of a sketch comedy troupe. Shane is a Sundance Film Festival screenwriting finalist. For his work on Chinese cyber espionage, Harris received an honorable mention from the judges of the Edgar A. Poe Award, given by the White House Correspondents’ Association for excellence in coverage of news of national or regional significance.

    Contact us for more information about booking Shane Harris for your next event. 

  • Speaking Topics

    National Security and Terrorism

    A behind-the-scenes look at America’s daily struggle to defend against terrorist attacks, told trough insightful reporting and riveting stories about those on the front-line of this expansive mission. How safe is the country today? And what risk does the government pose to individual liberty and privacy?

    The Watchers: The Rise of America’s Surveillance State

    A gripping, non-fiction spy thriller that tells the story of how a handful of people built, ran, and eventually tried to tear down a massive system of electronic surveillance in the United States. The book shows how the government’s strategy for “connecting the dots” about terrorist attacks has made it harder to catch real terrorists but easier to spy on the rest of us.

    Cyber Security

    The new frontier of national security is the Internet. Now more than ever, the government is playing a leading role in defending private computer systems from foreign spies and attackers. Shane uses his path-breaking reporting to explain the cyber threat in a clear, compelling way. Key areas of insight include: industrial espionage by hacker groups; the rise cyber warfare; America’s offensive capabilities in cyberspace; and the risk that a foreign adversary could cripple the United States’ electrical, financial, and transportation systems.

    The Politics of National Security

    A front-line view from Washington about how partisan politics are shaping our security, and usually not for the better. Shane shares insights from his years of reporting on people and power in the nation’s capital.

    The Business of National Security

    Drawing on his many years of reporting about security and government contracting, Shane explains how U.S. corporations and the government have forged an alliance for fighting wars and defending against terrorist attacks. He explains how this unusual business came to pass, as well as its inherent benefits and risks.

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  • 212 572-2013
  • Shane Harris travels from Washington, D.C.

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