School of Politics and International Relations

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Rory Cormac

Associate Professor of International Relations, Faculty of Social Sciences



Dr Rory Cormac is an Associate Professor of International Relations specialising in Secret Intelligence and Covert Action.

Rory has written four books, most recently, Disrupt and Deny: Spies, Special Forces, and the Secret Pursuit of British Foreign Policy (OUP: 2018).

Alongside Richard J. Aldrich, he has researched and fronted two documentaries for Channel 4: Spying on the Royals (2017) and D-Day: The King who Fooled Hitler (2019).

He has appeared at the Hay, Cheltenham and Edinburgh Literary Festivals, and regularly features in national and international media outlets, including most UK newspapers, BBC Breakfast, BBC 5Live, BBC Radio 4, BBC History Magazine, and, in America, NBC and National Geographic.

Rory has spoken at the UK Cabinet Office, Home Office and Ministry of Defence, as well as the US State Department and Pentagon.

In 2018, he held a Leverhulme International Academic Fellowship based at Johns Hopkins University. Between 2015 and 2017, he held an AHRC Fellowship examining British approaches to covert action, 1945-1968.

Rory is a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society and an Associate Fellow of the Higher Education Academy. Before joining Nottingham, Rory worked at the University of Warwick and King's College London.

Expertise Summary

  • Secret Intelligence
  • Covert Action
  • Prime Ministers and Intelligence
  • Intelligence Assessment and the Joint Intelligence Committee

Teaching Summary

Rory currently teaches:

  • Secret Intelligence and International Security (BA3)
  • Covert Action and Unacknowledged Interventionism (MA)

He is an Associate Fellow of the Higher Education Academy.

Research Summary

Rory is currently researching:

  • Covert Action and Unacknowledged Interventionism
  • Secret Intelligence and British Prime Ministers
  • Secret Intelligence and the British Royal Family

Recent Publications

  • 2019. D-Day: The King Who Fooled Hitler Paul Elston. Channel 4. 05/05/2019 00:00:00
  • RORY CORMAC, 2019. Techniques of Covert Propaganda:: The British Approach in the mid-1960s Intelligence and National Security. (In Press.)
  • RORY CORMAC and OLIVER DADDOW, 2018. Covert Action Failure and Fiasco Construction: William Hague’s 2011 Libyan Venture Journal of European Public Policy. 28(5), 690-707
  • RORY CORMAC, 2018. "C" and Covert Action: The Impact and Agency of Stewart Menzies in Britain’s Secret Foreign Policy. In: CHRISTOPHER MORAN, MARK STOUT, IOANNA IORDANOU and PAUL MADDRELL, eds., Spy Chiefs: Volume 1: Intelligence Leaders in the United States and United Kingdom Georgetown University Press.

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