UCL Institute of the Americas


US Intelligence and its British-Canadian Partners in the Cold War and Beyond

16 January 2023, 6:00 pm–7:45 pm

Event poster showing the event and series titles and images relevant to the topic

This event is free.

Event Information

Open to



Sold out




UCL Institute of the Americas


IAS Forum, G17 Ground Floor
South Wing, Wilkins Building
Gower Street
United Kingdom

SoundCloud Widget Placeholderhttps://soundcloud.com/ucl-americas/us-intelligence-and-its-british-cana...


This panel will focus on three crucial topics regarding US intelligence in the Cold War: covert action, counterterrorism, and the issues arising out of the US Congressional Senate investigations into intelligence agencies in the late 1970s, known as the Church Committee. It will also examine some of these issues through the lens of the United States’ relationship with Canada and the UK, both crucial partners in the Five Eyes intelligence sharing agreement since 1941.


Professor Rory Cormac: “Covert Action and the Anglo-American "Special Relationship"

Dr Steve Hewitt: “Cold War Counterterrorism: The Emergence of the Post-Cold War Security Landscape in the 1970s.”

Dr Dafydd Townley: “The Church Committee and the Growth of Intelligence Studies.”

Event poster showing the event and series titles

This event is organised by UCL Institute of the Americas, with the generous support of the IAS Octagon Small Grants Fund.

IAS Octagon Small Grants

About the Speakers

Professor Rory Cormac

Professor of International Relations at University of Nottingham

Professor Rory Cormac is the author of several books on intelligence. His research focuses on covert action and secret intelligence and the Royal Family and intelligence. In 2021 his co-authored book (with Professor Richard Aldrich): The Secret Royals: Spying and the Crown, from Victoria to Diana, was the Daily Mail book of the Year, and the Sunday Times best-selling book of 2021. The paperback version was also named by The Times as one of the best paperbacks of 2022.

His most recent book, How To Stage A Coup:  And Ten Other Lessons from the World of Secret Statecraft, was published in June 2022, to wide acclaim. He is also author of Disrupt and Deny: Spies, Special Forces, and the Secret Pursuit of British Foreign Policy, and The Black Door: Spies, Secret Intelligence and British Prime Ministers (with Richard J. Aldrich).

Professor Cormac’s work has also featured in the Channel 4 historical documentaries: Spying on the Royals (2017), D-Day: The King who Fooled Hitler (2019) and The Queen and the Coup (2020). He is frequently featured on BBC radio and has spoken at the Henley, Cheltenham and Gibraltar Literary Festivals.

Dr Steve Hewitt

Senior Lecturer in American and Canadian Studies at University of Birmingham

Dr Steve Hewitt has published widely on the subject of Canadian, as well as US intelligence. His work focuses on Canadian and US intelligence, with a specific focus on the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and the organisation’s spying on Canadian universities, counter-terrorism, and the threat to civil liberties from state and private surveillance. His most recent book (co-authored with Christabelle Sethna) is titled: Just watch us: RCMP surveillance of the women's liberation movement in Cold War Canada. He is also author of the books Snitch: A History of the Modern Intelligence Informer, and The British War on Terror: Terrorism and Counterterrorism on the Home Front since 9-11. Dr Hewitt is a frequent commentator on television and radio on the subject of terrorism and intelligence. He is currently working on a project examining Canadian state surveillance of women’s organisations from the1960s to the 1980s.

Dr Dafydd Townley

Teaching Fellow in International Security at University of Portsmouth

Dr Dafydd Townley is a Teaching Fellow in International Security at the University of Portsmouth, and part of its Military Education Team. His research includes a focus on the influences on US national security policy, US intelligence, and the use of cybersecurity as a tool for diplomacy. His article Too responsible to run for president: Frank Church and the 1976 presidential election was published in the Journal of Intelligence History in June 2022. His first monograph (based on his PhD thesis) is titled The Year of Intelligence in the United States: Public Opinion, National Security, and the 1975 Church Committee and was published in 2021. The book examines the role and impact of public opinion on national security policy, through the lens of the US congressional investigations into US intelligence agencies in the late 1970s. Dr Townley is also the author of a chapter titled: The Watergate Scandal, in The Federal Bureau of Investigation: History, Powers, and Controversies of the FBI, a two-volume reference work published in May 2022. He is also a frequent speaker at conferences on US politics and intelligence.