I believe that public policymaking can— must — be informed by the study of history. When decision-makers understand historical analogies, similarities, and differences—the “rhymes” of history that Mark Twain wrote about—they are likely to better informed about choices they face. Helping to run the Applied History Project at Harvard’s Kennedy School, I engage widely with the public and policymakers. Through commentary, and by contributing to broadcast programs on radio, television and through social media, my work brings historical perspectives to present-day intelligence and national security affairs.

Print & Digital Commentary

Research-based analysis of the history of intelligence and international affairs. Specializing in the secret histories of great power conflicts and their impact on global security today.

“Soviet Espionage Under the Cover of Diplomacy” The Cipher Brief (March 16 2022)

“Can intelligence tell how far Putin will go?” War on the Rocks (February 28 2022)

“False Flag Invasions are a Russian Speciality” Foreign Policy (February 4 2022)

With Christopher Andrew “Traitorous Blake Motivated by Cold War Convictions” Engelsberg Ideas (Jan 15 2021)

“What Spies Really Think About John le Carré” Foreign Policy (Dec 26 2020)

“China Will Use Huawei to Spy Because So Would You” Foreign Policy (July 14 2020)

“Britain Is Botching This Cold War Just Like the Last One” Foreign Policy (July 29 2020)

“The Deadly Fallout of Disinformation” The Washington Post (July 8 2020)

“Spies Are Fighting a Shadow War Against the Coronavirus” Foreign Policy (April 3 2020)

“Bodyguard of Lies: British Intelligence and D-Day” The Cipher Brief (June 6 2019)

“The Spies Who Came in from the Continent” Foreign Policy (Spring 2019)

“Trump May Not Have Been Found Guilty of Collusion—But He’s Not off the Hook Yet” Prospect (March 29 2019)

“Russia has a long history of eliminating ‘enemies of the state'” Washington Post (March 13 2018)

“Trump, Nunes and the Politicisation of Intelligence” Prospect (Feb 7 2018)

“Coat Bomb and Explosive Prosthesis: British Intel Files Reveal How the Zionist Stern Gang Terrorized London” Haaretz (Dec 2 2017)

“Dreaming spies: the inside story of the KGB at Oxford” Prospect (Dec 1 2017)

“The unbelievable story of how the CIA helped to foil a Russian spy ring in London” Politico (Nov 27 2017)

“Has Trump just experienced the beginning of Watergate 2.0?” Prospect (Nov 1 2017)

“‘Lies, Plain and Simple’: How James Comey Became Trump’s Meddlesome Priest” Prospect (June 9 2017)

“The Manchester Attack Revealed Crucial Differences in How the British and American Press Operate” Prospect (May 30 2017)

“That Time the Soviets Bugged Congress, and Other Spy Tales” Politico (May 22 2017)

“America’s Leaker-in-chief: Trump and Russia” Prospect (May 19 2017)

“Trump Risks Making Stalin’s Disastrous Mistake On Intelligence Analysis” Huffington Post (May 4 2017)

“Spies, Lies and Wiretaps” Prospect (March 27 2017)

“Michael Flynn’s Downfall: The Russia House” Prospect (January 16 2017)

“Is Trump’s Rage at US Intelligence Unprecedented?” Prospect (January 12 2017)

“Why Obama Was Smart to Kick Out Russian Spies” Politico (January 7 2017)

“‘Active Measures’: A History of Russian Interference in US Elections” Prospect (December 23 2016)

Interviews & Film

I am currently producing a documentary film on the controversial KGB assassination of Stepan Bandera, the liberation fighter and originator of Ukrainian nationalism.

My research has been featured in The Harvard Crimson, Belfer Center Newsletter, Harvard Gazette (February 2019), The Times, Sunday Times, and quoted in the Washington Post and The Atlantic, Politico, as well as other outlets.

I consult for, and feature in, a new show about intelligence from the makers of the highly successful Netflix show, SpycraftBig Media TV.

Podcasts & Radio

I am currently working with the BBC & Audible for a radio series on Russian deep-cover illegals.

“From Russia with Love” The Times Radio (July 17 2020)

“What was the KGB?” Stuff You Should Know Podcast (July 7 2020)

“Coronavirus: Intelligence Failure” Dan Snow’s History Hit (May 26 2020)

“Spying: Hiding in Plain Sight” Trailblazers (Walter Isaacson’s podcast) (March 11 2020)

“Getting Smart on Pandemics: Intelligence in the Wake of COVID-19” War on the Rocks (April 17 2020)

“Russian Interference in Elections” Dan Snow’s History Hit (November 1 2018)

“Calder Walton on Office Hours Podcast” Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard Kennedy School (October 3 2018)

“Disinformation: A User’s Guide” Archive on Four BBC Radio 4 (March 17 2018)

“The KGB: Secrets and Lies” The Forum BBC World Service (March 28 2017)

“Out in the Cold” BBC Radio 4 Document (July 14 2015)