Micheal Smith, author and journalist

Michael Smith is a number one bestselling author and award winning journalist. He left school at 15 to join the British Army and after service with the Royal Artillery became a member of the army’s Intelligence Corps monitoring terrorist and Soviet Bloc communications. Smith studied Arabic before working for three years in the Middle-East collecting intelligence on terrorists operating in Syria, Iraq and Lebanon. He also took part in Britain’s secret war against communist rebels in Oman, as part of a small unit providing intelligence for the SAS. Smith then spent four years in Europe, becoming a German interpreter and producing reports on the activities of the East German armed forces.

He left the army in 1982 to join the BBC Monitoring Service, which listened in to radio and television broadcasts from around the world. It was here that he began his career in journalism. Smith left the BBC in 1990 to become a newspaper journalist. He wrote on eastern Europe for the Financial Times and the Sunday Times before joining the Daily Telegraph, where he was Defence Correspondent and covered a number of conflicts around the world.

Smith reported on the 1991 Gulf War and various conflicts in the Balkans – twice going into Kosovo under fire to meet up with the Kosovo Liberation Army during the 1999 war. He also reported extensively on the wars Afghanistan and Iraq. Smith wrote on defence and security issues for the Sunday Times and New Statesman.

He is an expert on special operations and intelligence with extremely good contacts inside Britain’s intelligence and special forces community and a track record of breaking stories previously kept top secret. This was graphically demonstrated with the so-called Downing Street Memos, which showed how President George W Bush and Tony Blair agreed to use military force to bring about regime change in Iraq in April 2002 – something that was illegal under international law – and within weeks began bombing Iraqi military installations in an attempt to provoke Saddam into a response that could be used to justified war. All this happened more than six months before votes in either Congress or the UK Parliament authorised the allied invasion.

Smith is the author of numerous books on intelligence and special operations including The Secrets of Station X: How Bletchley Park Helped Win the War, which is widely seen as the definitive history of Bletchley Park; Killer Elite: America’s Most Secret Special Operations Team; Six: The Real James Bonds; and The Debs of Bletchley Park. He is also the editor of The Secret Agent’s Bedside Reader, a collection of true and fictional espionage stories from real spies like Graham Greene, John le Carré and Somerset Maugham. His most recent book is a completely updated version of Foley: The Spy Who Saved 10,000 Jews, which led to Israeli recognition of the former MI6 officer Frank Foley as Righteous Among Nations, the same award granted to Oskar Schindler and Raoul Wallenberg. Michael Smith lives near Henley-on-Thames in Oxfordshire.