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Grey is the new black: covert action and implausible deniability (2018)
Journal Article
Cormac, R., & Aldrich, R. J. (2018). Grey is the new black: covert action and implausible deniability. International Affairs, 94(3), (477–494). doi:10.1093/ia/iiy067. ISSN 0020-5850

For generations scholars have defined covert action as plausibly deniable interventions in the affairs of others; the sponsor’s hand is neither apparent nor acknowledged. We challenge this orthodoxy. Turning the spotlight away from covert action and... Read More

Covert action failure and fiasco construction: William Hague’s 2011 Libyan venture (2017)
Journal Article
Cormac, R., & Daddow, O. J. (in press). Covert action failure and fiasco construction: William Hague’s 2011 Libyan venture. Journal of European Public Policy, doi:10.1080/13501763.2017.1291709. ISSN 1350-1763

In 2011 William Hague, then British Foreign Secretary, authorized a Special Forces team to enter Libya and attempt to contact rebels opposed to Muammar Gaddafi in the unfolding civil war. However, its members were detained by the rebels, questioned a... Read More

The Information Research Department, unattributable propaganda, and Northern Ireland: promising salvation but ending in failure? (2016)
Journal Article
Cormac, R. (2016). The Information Research Department, unattributable propaganda, and Northern Ireland: promising salvation but ending in failure?. English Historical Review, 131(552), doi:10.1093/ehr/cew342. ISSN 0013-8266

This article examines the role of the IRD (Information Research Department) in Northern Ireland during the first half of the 1970s. After discussing British conceptualisations of propaganda, it offers a detailed account of IRD activity, including how... Read More

Disruption and deniable interventionism: explaining the appeal of covert action and special forces in contemporary British policy (2016)
Journal Article
Cormac, R. (2017). Disruption and deniable interventionism: explaining the appeal of covert action and special forces in contemporary British policy. International Relations, 31(2), doi:10.1177/0047117816659532. ISSN 0047-1178

The United Kingdom has long engaged in covert action. It continues to do so today. Owing to the secrecy involved, however, such activity has consistently been excluded from debates about Britain’s global role, foreign and security policy, and militar... Read More

A modern-day requirement for co-ordinated covert action (2016)
Journal Article
Cormac, R., Goodman, M. S., & Tom, H. (in press). A modern-day requirement for co-ordinated covert action. RUSI Journal, 161(2), doi:10.1080/03071847.2016.1174478. ISSN 0307-1847

Covert action can be an important weapon in a state’s arsenal. It is, however, inherently controversial and risky. Rory Cormac, Michael S Goodman and Tom Holman argue that when considering covert action, Whitehall should look to lessons from the rece... Read More

The pinprick approach: Whitehall’s top-secret anti-communist committee and the evolution of British covert action strategy (2014)
Journal Article
Cormac, R. (in press). The pinprick approach: Whitehall’s top-secret anti-communist committee and the evolution of British covert action strategy. Journal of Cold War Studies, 16(3), doi:10.1162/JCWS_a_00469. ISSN 1520-3972

This article examines Great Britain’s approach to covert action during the formative years of British Cold War intelligence operations, 1950–1951. Rather than shy away from such activity in the wake of the failure in Albania in the late 1940s, the Br... Read More