More thrills than skills – A half-life in journalism, part 85

Over the next few weeks, is to publish, each weekday, edited extracts from the memoirs of Scottish war correspondent, Paul Harris. ‘More thrills than skills: A half-life in journalism’, is being scheduled for publication next year.

I GAVE a series of lectures on regional security and intelligence gathering techniques in the Balkans.

The lectures were given at a location north of London.

Secret and un-signposted, the facility was entered through a farmyard where battered rustics turned hay with pitchforks.

I was not introduced to the people I was addressing, although I was usually invited to have lunch with them after my presentations.

I remember one suited gent had a tie with the American flag and the initials, NSA, emblazoned on it.

“Doesn’t that stand for the National Security Agency?” I suggested.

“Yeah, I’m the boss,” came the terse response.

At that particular seminar, there was, present, the head of virtually every significant European security or intelligence agency.

Gradually, I made some interesting contacts.