Here's my piece in The Irish Times on a comic irony in The Spy's Son

In one of the most bizarre twists in America’s war on terrorism, the CIA assigned veteran operations officer Harold James “Jim” Nicholson to run a counter-terrorism branch in the heart of its Virginia headquarters. This was in 1996, more than five years before the attacks of September 11, 2001, as the Central Intelligence Agency worked around the clock to draw beads on disparate cells of Middle East terrorists - groups that would later coalesce into al-Qaeda.

By all appearances, Nicholson’s installment as chief of the Other World Terrorism branch was a clever move to pit one of the agency’s rising stars, a so-called “blue flamer”, in a tilt against terrorists. But the CIA’s installment of Nicholson as chief of the highly specialised counter-terrorism unit came under the most extraordinary of circumstances: He was secretly under investigation for espionage.

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