Peter Lance is a five-time Emmy-winning investigative reporter now working as a screenwriter and novelist. With a Masters Degree from Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism and a J.D. from Fordham University School of Law, Lance spent the first 15 years of his career as a print reporter and network correspondent.
He began his career as a reporter for his hometown paper, The Newport, R.I. Daily News. There, while a student at Northeastern University in Boston, he won the coveted Sevellon Brown Award from the A.P. Managing Editors Association. Lance next moved to WNET, the PBS flagship in New York, where he won his first New York area Emmy and the Ohio State Award as a producer- reporter for Channel 13′s news magazine THE 51ST STATE.
Later, while working as a writer and producer for WABC-TV Lance won his second Emmy along with the Robert F. Kennedy Journalism prize for WILLOWBROOK: THE PEOPLE VS. THE STATE OF NEW YORK, an exposé on a notorious institution for the mentally retarded. He also was awarded The National Community Service Emmy for that same documentary.
While getting his law degree, Lance worked as a Trial Preparation Assistant in the office of the District Attorney for New York County. Moving to ABC News as a field producer, Lance won his fourth Emmy for his investigation of an arson-for-profit ring in the Uptown neighborhood of Chicago: “Arson and Profit.”
In 1981 Lance became Investigative Correspondent for ABC News. For his very first investigative piece on 20/20 Lance won his fifth Emmy for “Unnecessary Surgery,” an exposé of unnecessary surgery in an Arkansas hospital. He won two more Emmy nominations in 1982 for 20/20 investigative pieces on Formaldehyde “The Danger Within” and toxic waste: “Deadly Chemicals, Deadly Oil;” a piece that also won the National Headliner Award.
Over the next five years he covered hundreds of stories worldwide for ABC NEWS 20/20, NIGHTLINE, and WORLD NEWS TONIGHT.
He was a member of the first American crew into Indochina after the end of the Vietnam War. He chased rebel insurgents through the Plaine Des Jarres in Laos and members of the Genovese Family through the toxic wastelands of New Jersey. He tracked knife-happy surgeons in the Deep South and nuclear terrorists through the twisted streets of Antwerp. Then, in 1987, he took a break from non-fiction.
Lance came to L.A. and began working as a writer and story editor for Michael Mann on two of his acclaimed NBC series: CRIME STORY and MIAMI VICE. In 1989 Lance became the co-executive producer and “show runner” on the fourth season of WISEGUY for CBS and in 1993 he co-created MISSING PERSONS, for ABC. In recent years, he has served as a writer and consulting producer on such series as JAG (NBC) and THE SENTINEL (UPN).
In 1997 Lance’s first novel FIRST DEGREE BURN became a national best seller, ranking No. 24 on The Ingram A-List The Top 50 Requested Titles in Mystery- Detective Fiction. The film-noir mystery features FDNY Fire Marshal Eddie Burke.
Later Lance adapted VEIL: THE SECRET WARS OF THE CIA, Bob Woodward’s best-seller on William Casey for HBO. For Showtime he wrote TERROR.NET, the story of Bradley Smith, the courageous Diplomatic Security agent responsible for helping to apprehend the world’s most notorious terrorists.
In the year 2000 Lance returned to investigative reporting with his best-selling non-fiction investigative biography: THE STINGRAY: Lethal Tactics of The Sole Survivor.
Following the 9/11 attacks Lance began investigating the origins of the FBI’s original probe of World Trade Center bomber Ramzi Ahmed Yousef. After visiting Yousef’s former bomb factory in the Philippines, he came away with 100′s of pages of classified documents proving that Yousef had set the 9/11 plot into motion as early as 1994. Lance then went back and examined the FBI’s original efforts to stop Yousef in 1992 as he built the first WTC device. The result is his acclaimed investigative book from Harper Collins 1000 YEARS FOR REVENGE.
Lance followed that book with COVER UP in 2004. In it he established evidence that federal officials entered into an “ends/means” decision in 1996 that buried a treasure trove of al Qaeda-related intelligence in order to preserve a series of Mafia-related cases in the Eastern District of New York (Brooklyn). Lance presented probative evidence in the book that a senior Organized Crime Supervisory Special Agent in the FBI’s New York Office (NYO) may have been in a corrupt relationship with a Colombo Family killer. It was the FBI’s desire to prevent this potential scandal from tanking the mob cases, that led, Lance determined, to the al Qaeda evidence suppression.
A year after COVER UP’s publication the Brooklyn D.A. commenced a grant jury investigation inspired, in part, by Lance’s revelations about the Supervisory Special Agent: R. Lindley DeVecchio. On March 30th, 2006 DeVecchio was indicted on four counts of second degree murder stemming from that D.A.’s investigation. After an aborted two-week trial in Brooklyn, the case against DeVecchio was dismissed with the trial judge describing the FBI’s 32 year relationship with Scarpa Sr. as “a deal with the devil.”
In TRIPLE CROSS, the third book in Lance’s 9/11 investigative trilogy, he provides stunning evidence that senior FBI and Justice Dept. officials may have obstructed justice in their failure to monitor Ali A Mohamed, Osama bin Laden’s principal spy inside the United. States. From the fall of 2007 until 2009, Patrick Fitzgerald, the U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois in Chicago waged a campaign to pulp the hardcover edition of TRIPLE CROSS and prevent the paperback edition from being published. After an exhaustive 20 month re-vetting of the book by HarperCollins it was published in June 2009 with 26 additional pages documenting Fitzgerald’s censorship efforts.
In April, 2010 Lance was appointed Research Scholar at the Orfalea Center for Global and International Studies at the University of California, Santa Barbara. Lance’s profile of former FBI undercover asset Emad Salem, “The Spy Who Came In For The Heat,” was the lead non-fiction article in Playboy magazine’s September, 2010 issue.
For the January, 2011 issue Lance reported untold story of the Pentagon’s censorship of “Operation Dark Heart,” the Afghan war memoir of Bronze Star winner Lt. Col. Anthony Shaffer. Earlier for playboy.com Lance chronicled his battle with Fitzgerald in a piece entitled “The Chilling Effect.
In the summer of 2011 Lance published a thirteen part series in The Santa Barbara News press documenting his investigation into alleged corrupt practices by the top DUI officer for the SBPD. The probe led to a grand jury mandating the installation of video in all Santa Barbara PD units and Lance’s investigation is ongoing.
Following the termination of the Lin DeVecchio murder trial, Lance continued his examination of the FBI’s relationship with Gregory Scarpa Sr. After obtaining a copy of the DeVecchio trial transcript which had been under seal, Lance uncovered new probative evidence of FBI misconduct in its more than three decade relationship with the Colombo killer. In 2012 Lance got access to more than 1,100 heretofore secret files on Scarpa Sr.’s decades-long run as an FBI Top Echelon informant. They prove that in the 12 years ex-SSA Lin DeVecchio acted as Scarpa Sr.’s FBI contacting agent, Senior, who was a hyper-violent capo with the Colombo crime family, was responsible for twenty-five separate homicides.
In April, 2012 Lance’s latest novel, a thriller about the hunt for a serial killer STRANGER 456 was published worldwide by amazon.com and in June, 2012 he wrote the Foreward to a new updated edition of the 1951 true crime classic MURDER, INC. by Burton B. Turkus and Sid Feder.
After interviewing dozens of sources and combing through more than 20,000 pages of trial transcripts, FBI 302 and 209 memos Lance’s definitive study of the Scarpa-DeVecchio relationship DEAL WITH THE DEVIL will be published by HarperCollins July 2nd, 2013. On April 8th, 2013 Tenacity Media Books will publish a new edition of Lance’s best-selling 1997 thriller from Penguin-Berkley, “First Degree Burn.”