School of Politics and International Relations

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Rory Cormac

Professor of International Relations, Faculty of Social Sciences



Rory Cormac is a Professor of International Relations specialising in the study of Covert Action and Secret Statecraft.

His most recent book is How to Stage A Coup and Ten Other Lessons from the World of Secret Statecraft . The CIA's in-house journal described it as "a valuable and thought-provoking work, the most thorough treatment of the topic to date." International Affairs called it "an important public service".

Alongside Richard J. Aldrich, he has researched and fronted three documentaries for Channel 4: Spying on the Royals (2017), D-Day: The King who Fooled Hitler (2019) and The Queen and the Coup (2020).

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 provided oral evidence to parliamentary inquiries on foreign interference in both the UK and Australia. He has spoken at the UK Cabinet Office, Home Office, Number 10 and Ministry of Defence, as well as the US State Department and Pentagon.

Rory is a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society, a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy, and has held Leverhulme and AHRC fellowships. Before joining Nottingham, Rory worked at the University of Warwick and King's College London.

Expertise Summary

  • Covert Action
  • Disinformation
  • Coups, Sabotage, Assassination, Electoral Interference
  • Secret Intelligence

Teaching Summary

Rory currently teaches:

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

He is a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy.

Research Summary

Rory is currently researching:

  • Covert Action and Unacknowledged Interventions
  • Subversion
  • Secrecy
  • Propaganda and Influence Operations

Recent Publications

  • RORY CORMAC, 2026. FAKERS: The Rise and Fall of the UK's Top Secret Forgery Team Oxford University Press. (In Press.)
  • RORY CORMAC, GENEVIEVE LESTER, MAGDA LONG, MARK STOUT and DAMIEN VAN PUYVELDE, eds., 2024. Covert Action: Different National Approaches to Practicing Unacknowledged Intervention Georgetown University Press. (In Press.)
  • STEPHEN LONG and RORY CORMAC, 2024. Friends Disunited: Explaining US-UK Covert Action in Albania The International History Review. 1-19
  • RORY CORMAC and RICHARD J. ALDRICH, 2023. On The Implausibility of Covert Action Denial. In: Intelligence: The Secret World of Spies 6. Oxford University Press.

PhD Supervision

I am interested in supervising students who want to work in the following areas:

  • Intelligence
  • Covert operations (propaganda, political influence, sabotage, subversion etc)

Past Research

  • Secret Intelligence and the Royal Family
  • Secret Intelligence and Prime Ministers

School of Politics and International Relations

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University of Nottingham
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Nottingham, NG7 2RD

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