James Bamford was raised in Natick, Massachusetts, and spent three years in the Navy before attending law school in Boston on the G.I Bill. After graduation, intrigued by the machinations of the Watergate scandal, he gravitated toward journalism. However, rather than pursue a newspaper career he decided instead to write a book.
That book was The Puzzle Palace: A Report on NSA, America's Most Secret Agency. Published in 1982, it was the first book ever written about the National Security Agency and it became an immediate bestseller. 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 national security issues. In 1997, as the media profession began turning away from international news coverage and focusing almost exclusively on Monica Lewinsky and other domestic political scandals, Bamford left ABC to work on a new full-length book about the NSA. This became Body of Secrets: Anatomy of the Ultra-Secret National Security Agency. Initially published in April 2001 to rave reviews, it also became a national bestseller.
Currently, Bamford is a distinguished visiting professor at the Richard and Rhoda Goldman School of Public Policy at the University of California at Berkeley. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications, including cover stories for the New York Times Magazine, The Washington Post Magazine, and the Los Angeles Times Magazine. He is based in Washington, D.C. His next project deals with the intelligence aspects of the events of September 11.
Investigative journalist and author James Bamford shared his research into the National Security Agency (NSA) and our reasons for going to war with Iraq. Bamford said he had been threatened with prosecution by the NSA for not relinquishing a previously declassified document released to him under the Freedom of Information Act.