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James Bamford

Investigative reporter, bestselling author, and expert on the National Security Agency (NSA).

  • About James Bamford

     James Bamford is a columnist for Foreign Policy Magazine as well as a bestselling author, journalist, and documentary producer for PBS.  He is widely noted for his writing about the United States intelligence agencies, especially the highly secretive National Security Agency.  The New York Times has called him “the nation’s premier journalist on the subject of the National Security Agency,” and in a lengthy profile, The New Yorker referred to him as “the NSA’s chief chronicler.”  His most recent book, The Shadow Factory: The Ultra-Secret NSA From 9/11 to The Eavesdropping on America, became a New York Times bestseller and was named by The Washington Post as one of “The Best Books of the Year.” It is the third installment in his New York Times best selling trilogy on the NSA, following The Puzzle Palace (1982) and Body of Secrets (2001).

    Mr. Bamford has written for the New York Review of Books, New York Times Magazine, TheAtlantic, Harpers, Rolling Stone, Wired, and many other publications. In 2006, he won the National Magazine Award for Reporting, the highest honor in the magazine industry, for his writing in Rolling Stone on the war in Iraq.  He wrote the September 2014 cover story for Wired magazine based on his three days in Moscow with fugitive NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden.  His documentary The Spy Factory was nominated for an Academy Award in 2010.  He is currently working on a new documentary for PBS on cyber warfare, which is scheduled to air later this spring.

    Throughout the 1990s, Mr. Bamford served as the Washington Investigative Producer for ABC’s World News Tonight with Peter Jennings, winning a number of journalism awards for his coverage of national security issues. In 2005, he released A Pretext for War: 9/11, Iraq and The Abuse of America’s Intelligence Agencies, an examination of the intelligence community from the attacks of September 11th to the war in Iraq.

    Mr. Bamford holds a Juris Doctor degree, was awarded a Polymer fellowship at Yale Law School, and has taught at the University of California, Berkeley’s Goldman School of Public Policy as a distinguished visiting professor.



  • Speaking Topics

    The Untold Story: Edward Snowden

    For the September 2014 cover story of Wired magazine James Bamford spent three days in Moscow interviewing Edward Snowden, the most time any journalist has spent with him. He also interviewed him on camera in Moscow for a PBS documentary due to air later this year about his last job at NSA, that of a cyber warrior, the first time he has spoken publicly about that. James Bamford speaks about some of what he learned from "the most wanted man in the world," weighing in on Snowden's actions and whether the NSA's data collection is effective at combating terrorism.

    The Shadow Factory: The NSA from 9/11 to the Eavesdropping on America

    In this lecture, James Bamford — called the NSA’s “chief chronicler” by The New Yorker — will give an insider’s view and full report of the N.S.A.'s complete transformation since 9/11. Bamford's shocking details go way beyond what’s been reported in the papers about domestic wiretapping to paint a portrait of America as a surveillance state.

  • Video

  • Praise for James Bamford

    Praise for The Puzzle Palace

    “There have been glimpses inside the NSA before, but until now no one has published a comprehensive and detailed report on the agency. . . Mr. Bamford has emerged with everything except the combination to the director’s safe.”

    The New York Times Book Review

    Praise for A Pretext for War

    A damning portrait of the country’s intelligence agencies. . . . Bamford unearths new details . . . to create a vivid, unsettling narrative. . . . Highly persuasive.”

    The New York Times

    “Highly readable and well-researched. . . . Bamford does a superb job of laying out and tying together threads of the Sept. 11 intelligence failures and their ongoing aftermath, using original research, the public record and a light, fast-paced writing touch.”

    The Washington Post Book World

    Praise for Body of Secrets

    Part history, part expose, the book offers an ‘anatomy’ of the NSA, seeking to strip away the myth surrounding it. . . . [An] authoritative and engaging book

    The Wall Street Journal

    “A magnificent achievement and a compelling read for anyone interested in espionage.”

    The Baltimore Sun
  • Books by James Bamford

  • Media About James Bamford

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and Availability

  • 212 572-2013
  • James Bamford travels from Washington, DC

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