Toby Harnden

Profiles in Havok

Feb 22 2022 • 1 hr 51 mins

Toby Harnden's latest book is First Casualty: The Untold Story of the CIA Mission to Avenge 9/11. He is a winner of the Orwell Prize for Books. A former foreign correspondent for the Sunday Times of London and the Daily Telegraph who reported from thirty-three countries, Toby specializes in terrorism and war. Born in Portsmouth, England, Harnden was imprisoned in Zimbabwe, prosecuted in Britain for protecting confidential sources, and vindicated by a $23 million public inquiry in Ireland. A dual British and US citizen, he spent a decade as a Royal Navy officer before becoming a journalist. He holds a First Class degree in modern history from Oxford and is the author of Bandit Country: The IRA & South Armagh and Dead Men Risen: An Epic Story of War and Heroism in Afghanistan. Previously based in London, Belfast, Jerusalem, Baghdad, and Washington, DC, he lives in Virginia.

After two hours, we had covered a lot about First Casualty, a little about Toby and we left a lot on the table for next time. As I said on the episode, First Casualty had the emotional impact to me of reading an old high school yearbook and remembering when I first heard about Mike Spann or ODAs on the ground partnering with the Northern Alliance. Even the memory of how America was in 2001 seems so dated. Toby captures it well and seeing the impact the next 20 years have had on some of the key players in post-9/11 Afgahnistan is instructive and moving. Toby's a great talker and I was struck by the similarities between soldiering and journalists when it comes to FOMO and the need to be where the action is. Considering how restricted US movement was in late 2020, I was feeling a little FOMO at hearing his account as the last western journalist to talk with General Dostum. Can't wait for his next adventures...

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First Casualty: The Untold Story of the CIA Mission to Avenge 9/11 by Toby Harnden

Toby Harnden author page on Amazon

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