How do you report on the secret world?
In this book, Richard Norton-Taylor reveals the secrets of his 40-year career as a journalist covering the world of spies and their masters in Whitehall. His special targets have always been the security and intelligence agencies and the Ministry of Defence, institutions that often hide behind the cloak of national security to protect themselves from embarrassment and from being held to account. Encouraged by his trusted contacts in intelligence agencies and Whitehall departments, Norton-Taylor was among the few journalists consistently to attack the invasion of Iraq in 2003 and subsequently covered the devastating evidence of the Chilcot inquiry.
Throughout his career, he enjoyed unique access to a wide array of defence sources, giving him a rare insight into the disputes among top military commanders as they struggled to fight wars in Iraq and Afghanistan with under-resourced and ill-equipped troops.
Described by a former senior GCHQ official as a "long-term thorn in the side of the intelligence establishment," and winner of numerous awards for his journalism, Norton-Taylor is one of the most respected defence and security journalists of his generation.
Provocative, and rich in anecdotes, Official Secrets is an illuminating, critical and, at times, provocative account of the author's experiences investigating the secret world.
Richard Norton-Taylor writes for The Guardian on defence and security and until recently was the paper's Security Editor. He joined The Guardian in 1973 as the newspaper's first European correspondent based in Brussels and returned to Britain in 1975 to report on issues of intelligence and security. He won the Freedom of Information Campaign Award in 1986 and in 1994, and Liberty's Human Rights Award for journalism in 2010. He currently co-edits the Guardian Defence and Security blog and is a regular broadcaster.