Born in London, Nigel West was educated at universities in England and France. While still an undergraduate he worked as a researcher for the authors Ronald Seth and Richard Deacon, who both specialised in security and intelligence issues.
He has concentrated on security and intelligence issues and his controversial books invariably hit the headlines. He was injuncted by the Attorney-General in 1982 and was served a Public Interest Immunity Certificate signed by the Home Secretary in 1987. He was voted ‘The Experts’ Expert’ by a panel of other spy writers in the Observer in November 1989 and The Sunday Times has commented:
His information is so precise that many people believe he is the unofficial historian of the secret services. West’s sources are undoubtedly excellent. His books are peppered with deliberate clues to potential front-page stories.
Nigel often speaks at intelligence seminars and has lectured at both the KGB headquarters in Dzerzhinsky Square and at the CIA headquarters in Langley, where he once lectured on counter-intelligence to an audience that included the Soviet spy Aldrich Ames. For twelve years he taught members of the intelligence community at the Counter-Intelligence Centre in Washington DC
In 1984 he tracked down the wartime double agent GARBO, who was reported to have died in Africa in 1949. In fact West traced him to Venezuela, and they collaborated on GARBO, published in 1985. He was also the first person to identify and interview the mistress of Admiral Canaris, the German intelligence chief, and he was responsible for the exposure of Leo Long and Edward Scott as Soviet spies.
In 2003 Nigel West was awarded the US Association of Former Intelligence Officers’ first Lifetime Literature Achievement Award. In 2012 he was appointed a judge of the St Ermin’s Intelligence Book of the Year award. He is on the editorial boards of the International Journal of Intelligence and Counterintelligence and World War II Quarterly.
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