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Dr Thomas Maguire

Dr Thomas Maguire

Junior Research Fellow

• intelligence and propaganda in foreign policy and domestic security

• security sector reform and assistance

• counter-insurgency and violent extremism

• international security liaison

• the Cold War and decolonisation


Dr Thomas Maguire is a Junior Research Fellow at Darwin College and the Department of Politics and International Studies (POLIS), University of Cambridge. Tom is also a co-convenor of the Cambridge Intelligence Seminar and teaches on the Cambridge Security Initiative’s International Security and Intelligence (ISI) specialist short-course.


He received his PhD in 2015 from the Department of Politics and International Studies (POLIS), University of Cambridge. His thesis, awarded the Lisa Smirl Prize for best thesis in his year, explored interactions between the practices of intelligence and propaganda, with an empirical focus on British and American state use of these tools in Cold War Southeast Asia. He also holds an MPhil in International Relations from POLIS and a BA (Hons) in History from Durham University.


Tom is currently conducting two projects: one examining terrorist innovation in and towards the UK since 2000, with a particular focus on attack methodologies, facilitation and financing; the other interrogating the influence of the UK on the development of state security sectors in the Global South through training and assistance since 1945. This latter project is intended to better inform understanding of, on the one hand, the UK’s post-colonial legacies and foreign policy and, on the other, contemporary debates regarding upstream conflict prevention, security sector reform and human rights.


 From 2014-15, Tom was the John Garnett Visiting Fellow within the National Security & Resilience Studies programme at the Whitehall-based Royal United Services Institute for Defence and Security Studies (RUSI), focusing on conflict, violent extremism and organised crime in East Africa. Tom has published work on a range of issues, from counter-subversion in Cold War Britain, to the linked practices of intelligence and propaganda in counter-insurgency during the Malayan Emergency, to the Somali terrorist organisation Al-Shabaab’s funding, to linkages between organised crime, threat financing and militarisation in East Africa.

Research Interests

British and American intelligence and propaganda practices in Cold War Southeast Asia.

Anglo-American relations and the impact of intelligence and propaganda on transitions from occupied territories to independent states

Key Publications

In preparation


T.J. Maguire, ‘Shades of grey: the British way of covert propaganda during the Cold War’, in preparation for Journal of Strategic Studies


T.J. Maguire, ‘Train and equip: British overseas security assistance in Cold War Southeast Asia’, in preparation for Journal of Contemporary History


T.J. Maguire and H. Franklin, ‘Creating a Commonwealth intelligence culture? Security, surveillance, and diplomacy in the founding of the Tanzanian state, 1955-1970’, in preparation for African Affairs




A. Glazzard, S. Jesperson, T.J. Maguire, E. Winterbotham, Conflict, Violent Extremism and Development: New Challenges, New Responses (Palgrave Macmillan Pivot Book, 2017)

Other Publications

A. Glazzard, S. Jesperson, T.J. Maguire, E. Winterbotham, 'Islamist Violent Extremism: A New Form of Conflict or Business as Usual?',

Stability: International Journal of Security and Development, 6, 1 (13) (2017), pp. 1-19.


T.J. Maguire, ‘Kenya’s “war on poaching”: militarised solutions to a militarised problem?’, in S. Jesperson, T. Reitano and L. Bird (eds), The War on Crime (Palgrave Macmillan, 2017)


C. Haenlein, T.J. Maguire and K. Somerville, ‘Poaching, Wildlife Trafficking and Terrorism’, in C. Haenlein and M.L.R. Smith (eds), Poaching, Wildlife Trafficking and Security in Africa: Myths and Realities (RUSI Whitehall Paper, Nov 2016)


T.J. Maguire and C. Haenlein, ‘An Illusion of Complicity: Terrorism and the Illegal Ivory Trade in East Africa’, RUSI Occasional Paper (Sep



T.J. Maguire, ‘The hydra-headed challenge of Al-Shabaab’s financing’, RUSI Newsbrief, 35, 1 (Jan 2015) C. Haenlein and T.J. Maguire, ‘Countering Poaching and Wildlife Crime: Engaging from the Ground Up’, RUSI Newsbrief, 35, 4 (Jul 2015)


T.J. Maguire, ‘Counter-subversion in early Cold War Britain: the Official Committee on Communism (Home), the Information Research Department and “state-private networks”’, Intelligence and National Security, 30, 5 (2015), pp. 637-66.


T.J. Maguire, ‘Interrogation and “psychological intelligence”: the construction of propaganda during the Malayan Emergency, 1948-1958’, in C. Andrew and S. Tobia (eds.), Interrogation in War and Conflict (Routledge, 2014), pp. 132-52.


T.J. Maguire, ‘Transnational Threats and “State-Private Networks”: IRD Counter-Subversion in Early Cold War Britain’, Inteligentsia Y Seguridad, Special Issue - The Threat From Below: How Intelligence Counters Irregular Threats, 13 (Jan-Jun 2013), pp. 61-100.