Rory Cormac

Leading authority on secret intelligence and covert operations and their impact on international security

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Professor and historian of intelligence and covert action
Author of five books on secret intelligence and international security
Co-presenter of history documentaries for Channel 4
Regularly speaks for both corporate and government audiences in the UK and US

Professor Rory Cormac’s expertise lies in secret intelligence and covert operations.

A Fellow of the Royal Historical Society, Rory has written five books on secret intelligence and international security. His most recent is How to Stage a Coup (Atlantic Books, June 2022) which examines the rise of secret statecraft amongst global powers and how we should respond to it. He co-authored Spying and the Crown with Richard Aldrich (Atlantic Books, 2021).

Rory’s research has featured in most national newspapers and he regularly appears on radio and television. Alongside Richard Aldrich, he has co-presented history documentaries for Channel 4, notably The Queen and the Coup (2020). His research has also been adapted into radio documentaries, including BBC Radio 4’s MI6’s Secret Slush Fund (2017).

Rory is an experienced speaker. He regularly engages with both corporate and government audiences and has spoken at 10 Downing Street, the Cabinet Office, the Home Office, NATO and, in the US, the Pentagon and State Department. He has also appeared at the Hay, Cheltenham and Edinburgh literary festivals.

Praise for Spying and the Crown

‘Monumental … Authoritative and highly readable’ The Times

‘Authoritative and Gripping!’ The Observer

‘Excellent … comprehensive and compelling’ The Guardian

‘Intricate, ingenious and determined …  Intelligent, fair-minded and a pleasure to read’ The TLS

Praise for How to Stage a Coup

‘A compelling history of the dark arts of statecraft… Fascinating’ Jonathan Rugman

‘Rich in anecdote and detail.’ The Times

Rory can offer unparalleled insights into the following:

  • Trends in espionage and likely consequences for business and governments
  • Espionage, the secret state and the AI revolution
  • How to thrive in the space between peace and war known as the Grey Zone
  • How to manage the threat of Russian and Chinese covert political and economic warfare
  • How to build resilience to subversion and sabotage
  • The role of industry in “whole of society” approach to deter Russian and / or Chinese aggression
  • How to manage messaging in a crowded information ecosystem
  • The costs and opportunities of covert economic operations
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