The Life of a Spy
An Education in Truth, Lies and Power
By Rod Barton
Published by Black Inc | RRP $32.99 in paperback
Rod Barton has written an engaging and very readable account of his career as an Australian intelligence officer aka ‘spy’, a term not used within the profession.
His career, which took an unlikely trajectory, began in 1971 when he applied for a junior scientist role in the Department of Defence.
As I was reading this book, it struck me that it had all the elements of an adventure story, except that it was one man’s actual, lived experience, apart from a few name changes to protect identities.
His realisation that so-called toxic material was bee poo adds a surreal element to a story, well told, of how a career in the murky world of intelligence can unfold.
After the disastrous 2003 invasion of Iraq, the CIA engaged him as its special adviser in the hunt for Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction.
But he soon clashed with the agency over what he saw – and what he didn’t find.
Nor was he unaware of the political implications of the failure to find such weapons which had been the whole basis for the invasion.
It was this that prompted him to step from the shadows and share the truth with the world. It’s a world he has found he can never quite leave behind.
This is Rod Barton’s second book.
His first book was The Weapons Detective: The Inside Story of Australia’s Top Weapons Inspector.
VERDICT: Enthralling topic presented in a highly readable style.