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Michael Smith is a number one bestselling author and screenwriter. He left school at 15 to join the British Army and after service with the Royal Artillery became a member of the army's Intelligence Corps monitoring terrorist and Soviet Bloc communications. Smith studied Arabic at the army's own specialised training unit, before working for three years in the Middle-East collecting intelligence on terrorists operating in Syria, Iraq and the Lebanon. He also took part in Britain's secret war against communist rebels in Oman, as part of a small unit providing intelligence for British special forces. Smith then spent four years in Europe, becoming a German interpreter and producing reports on the activities of the East German armed forces.
|He left the army in 1982 to join the BBC Monitoring Service, the British equivalent of the CIA's Foreign Broadcast Information Service, where he began his career in journalism. Smith left the BBC in 1990 to become a newspaper journalist. He wrote on eastern Europe for the Financial Times and the Sunday Times before joining the Daily Telegraph, where he was Defence Correspondent and covered a number of wars and international conflicts.|
He reported on the 1991 Gulf War and various conflicts in the Balkans - twice going into Kosovo under fire to meet up with the Kosovo Liberation Army during the 1999 war. More recently, he has reported the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. He wrote on defence and security issues for the Sunday Times and New Statesman.
He is an expert on special forces and intelligence with extremely good contacts inside Britain's intelligence and special forces community and a track record of breaking stories that have previously been kept top secret. This was graphically demonstrated with the so-called Downing Street Memos, which showed how President George W Bush and Tony Blair agreed to use military force to bring about regime change in Iraq in April 2002 - something that was illegal under international law - more than six months before votes in either Congress or the UN were deemed to have authorised the allied invasion.
Smith is the author of a number of books on intelligence and special operations including The Spying Game: The Secret History of British Espionage, which revealed details of how MI6 and members of the British Special Boat Service were operating inside Basra throughout the 2003 war in Iraq. His other books include the UK number one bestseller Station X: The Codebreakers of Bletchley Park; The Emperor's Codes: Bletchley Park and the Breaking of Japan's Secret Ciphers; and Foley: The Spy Who Saved 10,000 Jews, which led to Israeli recognition of the former MI6 officer Frank Foley as Righteous Among Nations, the same award granted to Oskar Schindler and Raoul Wallenberg. Michael Smith lives near Henley-on-Thames in Oxfordshire with his wife Hayley and their children.