Chitra Ragavan is a former veteran investigative reporter. She served as the Chief Legal Affairs Correspondent for US News and World Report. During her eight years at US News,she authored a wide range of pieces and 11 cover stories, including profiles of agency heads, spies, terrorists, war criminals, corrupt congressmen, whistleblowers, and other colorful characters.
Chitra’s investigative report, “Who Lost Iraq” documented the role of President George Bush’s National Security Adviser, Condoleezza Rice, and the National Security Council in fostering the mess in Baghdad. Chitra also wrote the cover story “Capitol Crime,” about a corrupt defense contractor who bribed a sitting U.S. congressman in exchange for millions of dollars in federal contracts. The investigative report offers a rare glimpse into the cutthroat, billion-dollar world of big-time defense contracting.
Chitra has also penned exclusive profiles of major public figures such as Attorney General John Ashcroft, FBI director Robert Mueller, and David Addington, who served as Vice President Dick Cheney’s chief of staff and former special counsel and was a principle architect of the administration’s controversial “war on terror” policies. Chitra has written five cover stories about problems confronting the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the U.S. Secret Service.
Chitra’s cover story “Triple Cross,” detailing how an alleged Chinese triple agent Katrina Leung may have compromised decades of U.S intelligence because of the FBI’s failure to rein her in, won the 2003 Sigma Delta Chi magazine investigative reporting award from the Society of Professional Journalists. Her cover “Missing,” describing how police and the feds track down missing children, won the 2002 Hope award from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.
Prior to U.S. News, Chitra was a correspondent for National Public Radio (NPR), where she covered a wide range of stories, including the Waco and Ruby Ridge scandals, the bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah building in Oklahoma City, the forensic lab problems at the FBI, and the Paula Jones and Monica Lewinsky scandals that led to the historic impeachment of President Bill Clinton. Chitra also wrote extensively about the AIDS epidemic and traveled to India for a prescient series of reports on the spread of AIDS in India. She also covered the Gingrich Revolution in Congress, the historic fight over U.S. agricultural policy reform, and the health care reform battle, during which she filed a series of exclusive reports on the massive lobbying efforts to dismantle President Clinton’s proposed health care reform legislation. Before joining NPR, Chitra served as an on-air correspondent, and a producer, for a public television affiliate in Chicago, WTTW/Channel 11, where she covered local, national, and international news and politics.
Chitra was born in India, and began her writing career in Mumbai, India, where she served as a reporter and editor at the Press Trust of India, an English-language news agency. She holds a Bachelors degree in biochemistry and biology from the University of Bombay, India, and a Masters degree in journalism from the University of Georgia, in Athens, GA.