Elaine Shannon is a bestselling author and veteran journalist specializing in national security, organized crime, and terrorism.
From 1976 to 2008, Shannon was a correspondent for Time Magazine and Newsweek, covering national security, terrorism, foreign policy, and organized crime. She wrote more than 1,000 articles for the magazines, concentrating on the rise of Osama Bin Laden and militant Islam, the September 11, 2001 attacks, wars in Afghanistan, Iraq and Lebanon, and the Iran and North Korean nuclear programs. She left Time to become an independent writer, traveling to Afghanistan and other stops along the international heroin-and-arms highway.
Her 1988 book Desperados: Latin Drug Lords, US Lawmen, and the War America Can't Win, was a New York Times bestseller and the basis for the 1989 Emmy-winning NBC miniseries, Drug Wars: The Camarena Story, produced by Michael Mann, and the Emmy-nominated 1992 NBC miniseries, Drug Wars: The Cocaine Cartel, also produced by Michael Mann. Her other books include No Heroes -- Inside the FBI's Secret Counter-Terror Force, with Danny O. Coulson, founder of the FBI's Hostage Rescue Team, and The Spy Next Door: The Extraordinary Secret Life of Robert Philip Hanssen, the Most Damaging FBI agent in US History, with Ann Blackman, published in January 2002.
Shannon has worked as a consultant for numerous other film and documentary projects, including Inside Man (2006), The Kingdom (2007) and Public Enemies (2008). She has received a Nieman fellowship to Harvard University, one of journalism’s highest honors. She has received the New York State Bar Association Award, the Inter-American Press Association IAPA-Bartolome Mitre Award and the Women in Communications Clarion prize. In 2017, she was inducted into the Vanderbilt University Media Hall of Fame.
Shannon lives in Washington with her husband, Dan Morgan, a former Washington Post correspondent author of three books, including the best-selling Merchants of Grain (Viking Penguin 1979).