I was no James Bond with a license to kill, but I did work with the British intelligence services and for the CIA. I had guns pointed at me, death threats issued, a price placed on my head.
In 1971, Rod Barton applied for a junior scientist role in the Australian Department of Defence. Little did he know what it entailed: as the Cold War intensified, Barton was inducted into the murky world of espionage.
For the next few decades, Barton lived a life straight from an adventure novel. In war-torn Mogashidu, he disarmed militia, while sleeping in rat-infested barracks. As a UN weapons inspector, he flew to Baghdad on special missions, interviewing top scientists to uncover an illegal weapons program, and raced to chemical firms across Europe, tracking materials sold to the Iraqis.
After 9/11, Barton became senior advisor to Hans Blix, seeking the truth on Iraq’s WMDs. His clashes with the CIA over what he saw – and what he didn’t find – reveal the terrible politicisation of the War on Terror. It prompted him to step from the shadows and share a truth about Iraqi prisoners – and to tussle with the Australian government.
This is an extraordinary behind-the-scenes account of a world marked by risk, secrecy and individual acts of courage. The Life of a Spy will introduce you to a man of principle in a time of chaos, and take you to the frontlines of politics and war.
‘No Australian intelligence officer in recent times has been closer to the centre of world affairs than Barton, or better placed to observe the intense political pressures applied, from all sides, on those searching for Saddam Hussein’s elusive weapons of mass destruction.’ —Robert Manne