Kaj Larsen is an American journalist working for Vice News. He worked for the Vanguard international news documentary investigative reporting show on Current TV beginning in 2005. In 2010, he became a producer and correspondent for CNN until he was laid off in 2012 after CNN abolished their investigative news departments.
Larsen was born in Santa Cruz, California. He graduated from the University of California at Santa Cruz with a degree in political science and a master's degree in public policy from the Harvard Kennedy School, where he was awarded a fellowship from the Joan Shorenstein Center on the Press, Politics and Public Policy. He was also a joint fellow at Tufts University Jebsen Center for Counter-Terrorism studies. He was a Navy SEAL for five years.
Larsen helped develop the Vanguard journalism series, which received an Emmy Award. He had himself waterboarded on TV and was the first western TV journalist in Mogadishu in over a decade. He has reported from Yemen, Cambodia, Colombia, and Haiti.
In 2010, Larsen joined CNN as a correspondent for the Special Investigations and Documentary Unit covering the drug war in Mexico, the floods in Pakistan and Wikileaks. He has appeared as a guest on ABC, NBC, MSNBC, and The Huffington Post. He was the senior correspondent and host of Current TV's The Current Election and has consulted on Aaron Sorkin's HBO fictional news program The Newsroom. As a producer Larsen worked on US Navy Pirate Hunters, a one-hour special for Spike TV, and Lockup, the MSNBC show about life in an American prison. He has received an Emmy nomination, a Peabody nomination, two Telly Awards, and several Golden Cine Awards. A two time national champion open-water swimmer, he placed third in the Escape from Alcatraz duathalon. He helped launch The Mission Continues, providing fellowships to veterans, and continues to serve on the group's board of directors.