The Deacon Blog

A magazine staff blog with news of alumni and the WFU community

Shane Harris

Shane Harris (’98) moves to Foreign Policy

Words Awake! maestro and professor Tom Phillips (’74, MA ’78) shared the news this week that Shane Harris (’98) has left his senior writer position at Washingtonian magazine to move to Foreign Policy magazine as a senior writer.

Shane Harris ('98), author, senior writer, analyst

Shane Harris (’98), author, senior writer, analyst

In a note to Phillips and friends, Harris wrote, “I wanted to let you know about an exciting new chapter in my career. … I’ll be a senior writer at Foreign Policy magazine, where I will cover intelligence and cyber security. And of course, in light of recent events, surveillance!”

Harris no doubt will be blogging and writing nonstop about Edward Snowden, the whistleblower who leaked news of classified intelligence about domestic surveillance to The Guardian and The Washington Post. “Forget PRISM, the National Security Agency’s system to help extract data from Google, Facebook, and the like,” Harris wrote on Monday in a blog post. “The more frightening secret program unearthed by the NSA leaks is the gathering and storing of millions of phone records and phone-location information of U.S. citizens.”

Harris is the author of “The Watchers: The Rise of America’s Surveillance State,” which The Economist named as one of the best books of 2010. He was a star panelist at the Words Awake! conference at Wake Forest in March 2012. Spy-120x100Congratulations to Shane on his new job, a timely posting for commenting on the latest in ‘watching.’


Shane Harris on the Patriot Act’s renewal

The federal government’s investigative powers received a booster shot last week when Congress renewed the Patriot Act. National Public Radio’s “On the Media” turned to Shane Harris (’98), who has been writing about intelligence and national security for 10 years, to analyze the legislation.

Harris is a senior writer at Washingtonian magazine and the author of “The Watchers: The Rise of America’s Surveillance State.” Time magazine said the book “reads like a spy novel,” but Harris “lays out the U.S. government’s real-life efforts to see and hear more in the face of growing terrorist threats.”

Shane Harris ('98), author, senior writer, analyst

In the radio interview Harris summarized the three controversial provisions of the Patriot Act that allow the government to obtain multiple wiretaps when tracking a single person; obtain various business records, including hotel and rental car documents; and start surveillance on someone even if the government can’t show the person is connected to a terrorist organization or is a foreign agent or a spy. Harris was also intrigued by a senator’s accusation that there could be “secrecy within secrecy” in the way the government is interpreting the act to allow for the collection of more information.

The summer issue of Wake Forest Magazine features a Q&A with Harris called “Spy Talk.” He recalls his Wake Forest days and remembers having had “extraordinary opportunities to write, and extraordinarily forgiving instructors.” Stay tuned, alumni. The magazines should arrive in your mail early this month, and we hope to have the online edition available in the next few days.