Current Research

I am an Ernest May Fellow at the Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University, where I help to run the Applied History Project. My research explores intelligence history, grand strategy, and international relations.

I am currently undertaking two major research projects: I am general editor, with Christopher Andrew, of the multi-volume Cambridge History of Espionage and Intelligence to be published by Cambridge University Press. Over three volumes, with 90 chapters by leading scholars, this project will be a landmark study of intelligence, exploring its use and abuse in statecraft and warfare from the ancient world to the present day. Described as a prestigious and timely project by Cambridge University Press, when published in 2022 it will be the be the most authoritative collection of experts ever assembled to write about intelligence history.

I am also currently writing a book about British and US intelligence, from the Second World War, through the Cold War, to cyber warfare today. This book informs current intelligence and national security issues by understanding history. Charting the rise and fall of superpowers, it explores how British and US intelligence understood, misunderstood, and countered, their enemies— from Nazi Germany, to the Soviet Union, to the ‘War on Terror’, and cyber attacks today. This research builds on my PhD in History at Trinity College, Cambridge, and postdoctoral Junior Research Fellowship at Darwin College Cambridge, where I wrote my first book, Empire of Secrets. British intelligence, the Cold War and the Twilight of Empire (Harper-Press 2013). Highly acclaimed and translated into multiple languages, it won the Longman History-Today Book of the Year Award 2013.

While at Cambridge, I was also a lead researcher on Christopher Andrew’s unprecedented authorized centenary history of the British Security Service (MI5), Defend the Realm (Penguin 2009). This research position provided me, for six years, with privileged access to archives of MI5, the world’s longest-running security intelligence service.

I am a regular contributor, among other publications, to the Times Literary Supplement and Prospect Magazine, and my research has featured in Politico, leading newspapers on both sides of the Atlantic, and on BBC radio, among other broadcast and print media. I am also a qualified English barrister (attorney) and have worked on several high-profile litigation cases involving defence and security matters and major international regulatory investigations.

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