Michael Smith (newspaper reporter)


Michael Smith (newspaper reporter)

Michael Smith is a British journalist for The Sunday Times who specializes in defence and intelligence issues. He is well known for, among other things, obtaining the document known as the Downing Street memo. The memo revealed the disclosure by Sir Richard Dearlove, then the head of the British Secret Intelligence Service (MI6), that the intelligence to justify an invasion was being "fixed around the policy". The Downing Street memo was in fact just one of eight documents obtained by Smith which showed that President George W. Bush and Prime Minister Tony Blair agreed in April 2002 to invade Iraq; that they planned to "wrongfoot" Saddam Hussein to give them the excuse to do so; and that they used flights over the southern no-fly zone of Iraq to begin the air war against Iraq in May 2002, with "spikes of activity" which they hoped might provoke Iraq into reacting and giving them the excuse to go to war.

Smith won a British Press Award in 2006 for specialist of the year.[1] The award was for his work in revealing the Downing Street memo.

Smith previously worked for the BBC and the Daily Telegraph. He has also contributed to The Raw Story and New Statesman and has authored a number of books, including the UK Number 1 bestseller Station X: The Codebreakers of Bletchley Park (1998); The Spying Game: The Secret History of British Espionage (2003), which revealed details of how MI6 and members of the British Special Boat Service were operating inside Basra during the 2003 war in Iraq; and Killer Elite: The Inside Story of America's Most Secret Special Operations Team (2006). His book Foley: The Spy Who Saved 10,000 Jews (1999), led to Frank Foley, the MI6 head of station in Berlin during the 1930s being made Righteous Among The Nations, the highest award the Jewish state can award to a gentile. According to Jewish aid workers, Foley saved "tens of thousands" of Jews from the Holocaust, giving them visas and passports to which they were not entitled, going into the concentration camps to get Jews out, and in the period after Kristallnacht in November 1938, hiding five or six Jews in his home every night.

Smith was previously the Defence Correspondent at the Daily Telegraph, and prior to that was a journalist with the BBC. Before his career as a reporter, he was a member of the British Army and worked in intelligence operations. He is currently working on a major history of MI6 entitled: SIX: A History of Britain's Secret Intelligence Service. The first part, entitled: SIX: The Real James Bonds, 1909-1939, was published in paperback by Biteback in September 2011. It will be published in the US in July 2011 as MI6: The Real James Bonds, 1909-1939. He published The Secrets of Station X, a far more comprehensive account of the work of the Bletchley Park codebreakers than his previous books, in August 2011. His most recent book is Britain's "Secret War 1939-45: How Espionage, Codebreaking and Covert Operations Helped Win the War.

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