James Bamford is an American bestselling author and journalist widely noted for his writing about United States intelligence agencies, especially the highly secretive National Security Agency. His most recent book, The Shadow Factory: The Ultra-Secret NSA From 9/11 to The Eavesdropping on America, became a New York Times bestseller and was named by The Washington Post as one of "The Best Books of 2008." It is the third in a trilogy by Bamford on the NSA, following The Puzzle Palace (1982) and Body of Secrets (2001), also New York Times bestsellers. The Puzzle Palace was the first book ever written about the NSA. Following its release Bamford spent nearly a decade as the Washington Investigative Producer for ABC's World News Tonight with Peter Jennings where he won a number of journalism awards for his coverage of national security issues. In 2005, Bamford released A Pretext for War: 9/11, Iraq and The Abuse of America’s Intelligence Agencies, an examination of the intelligence community from the attacks of September 11 to the war in Iraq and was also distinguished as a Washington Post bestseller.
Bamford has also taught at the University of California, Berkeley as a distinguished visiting professor and has written for the New York Times Magazine, the Atlantic, Harpers, and many other publications. In 2006, he won the National Magazine Award for Reporting for his piece "The Man Who Sold The War," published in Rolling Stone. He also writes and produces documentaries for PBS, including The Spy Factory, based of his most recent book, which was nominated for an Academy Award in 2010. A native of Massachusetts, Bamford served in the U.S. Navy during the Vietnam War, and he later used the GI Bill to earn his law degree.