Richard Norton-Taylor reveals the secrets of his forty-year career as a journalist covering the world of spies and their masters in Whitehall. Early in his career, Norton-Taylor successfully campaigned against official secrecy, gaining a reputation inside the Whitehall establishment and the outside world alike for his relentless determination to expose wrongdoing and incompetence. 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 being held to account.
Encouraged by his trusted contacts in intelligence agencies and Whitehall departments, Norton-Taylor was among the first of the few journalists consistently to attack the planned invasion of Iraq in 2003 and subsequently covered for the Guardian the devastating evidence of every witness to the Chilcot inquiry. He also 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 Intelligence 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, The State of Secrecy is an illuminating, critical and, at times, provocative account of the author’s experiences investigating the secret world.
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