Stephen Grey

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Stephen Grey (born 1968 in Rotterdam, Netherlands) is a British investigative journalist and author best known for revealing details of the CIA's program of 'extraordinary rendition.'[1] He has also reported extensively from the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Early career[edit]

Grey was educated at the British School of Brussels, St Alban's School, and Windsor Boys School, and then studied politics, philosophy, and economics at Oxford University. He was an active member of the National League of Young Liberals and was elected to their National Executive Committee in 1984. He was one of the key members of the Young Liberal Green Guard.

After training on the Eastern Daily Press in Norfolk, Grey worked successively for the Sunday Times, London, as Home Affairs Correspondent, South Asia Correspondent, European Correspondent, and as editor of the paper's investigative unit, the Insight team.[citation needed]

Investigation into CIA 'rendition'[edit]

In the summer of 2003, Grey began investigating reports of the CIA's secret system of extraordinary renditions (transfer of terror suspects to foreign jails, where many faced torture). The results of his research were first published in the New Statesman in an article headlined 'America's Gulag' in May 2004.[2] After finding how to track the movements of alleged CIA planes used for rendition, he published the first flight logs of these jets in the Sunday Times in November 2004.[3] He went on to contribute to several front-page news articles to the New York Times about rendition and security issues, as well as to Newsweek, CBS 60 Minutes, Le Monde Diplomatique, and BBC Radio 4's File on Four. He presented television documentaries on the CIA rendition program for Channel 4's Dispatches Program[4] and PBS Frontline World.[5]

In 2005 he received the Amnesty International UK Media Award for best article in a periodical,[6] for his New Statesman article.

In 2006, he received the Joe and Laurie Dine award for Best International Reporting in any medium dealing with human rights from the Overseas Press Club of America. The citation[1] described his book, Ghost Plane, as

the consummation of years of investigation, not only by the author, but, as he acknowledges, the informal global network of journalists with whom he collaborated to reveal the murky world of rendition, extraordinary rendition and proxy torture. By tracing the landings and takeoffs of clumsily concealed CIA flights, his work not only demonstrates concerned investigative journalism in action, it lifts the lid on a global gulag of prisons and torture chambers, assembled by US officials in defiance of domestic and international human rights law.

In a broadcast on the BBC World Service on 30 December 2009, reviewing the last ten years of journalism, author and campaigner Heather Brooke described Grey's investigation of the CIA rendition flights as the "journalistic scoop of the decade."[7]

Afghanistan reports[edit]

In 2009, he also published his second book, Operation Snakebite,[8] an account of the war in Helmand, Afghanistan, centring on the December 2007 operation by British, American and Afghan troops to recapture the town of Musa Qala, a battle which Grey reported as an embedded reporter for the Sunday Times of London. A Channel 4 Dispatches film reported by Grey titled "Afghanistan: Mission Impossible"[9] was short-listed for a Royal Television Society Award for independent film-maker of 2009.[10]

In 2009 and 2010, he returned to Afghanistan, reporting for, among other publications, the Sunday Times,[11] Le Monde Diplomatique,[12] and Channel 4 News.[13] The Channel 4 film reported on criticism the United States was arming 'militias' to take on the Taliban.


  • Ghost Plane: The True Story of the CIA Torture Program. New York: St. Martin's Press, 2006.
  • Operation Snakebite: The Explosive True Story of an Afghan Desert Siege. London: Viking Penguin, 2009.
  • The New Spymasters: Inside the Modern World of Espionage from the Cold War to Global Terror. New York: St. Martin's Press, 2015.


  1. ^ a b Overseas Press Club of America:2007 award winner citations
  2. ^ Stephen Grey (17 May 2004). "America's Gulag". New Statesman. Retrieved 21 September 2008.
  3. ^ 'US accused of 'torture flights', by Stephen Grey, Sunday Times, 14 November 2004 Sunday Times
  4. ^ Channel 4 Dispatches Kidnapped to Order
  5. ^ PBS Frontline World Extraordinary rendition
  6. ^ "Amnesty International UK Media Awards, Previous Winners". Amnesty International, UK. 30 July 2007. Retrieved 21 September 2008.
  7. ^ "BBC World Service – News – What was the journalistic scoop of the decade?".
  8. ^,,9780141038308,00.html?/Operation_Snakebite_Stephen_Grey
  9. ^ "Dispatches". Channel 4.
  10. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2 March 2010. Retrieved 27 February 2010.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  11. ^ Grey, Stephen (28 March 2010). "Lets go its hunting season". The Times. London.
  12. ^ "Hearts, minds and the same old warlords".
  13. ^ Channel 4 News. "Nato turns to militias in Afghanistan battle".

External links[edit]