Toby Harnden, an author and foreign correspondent who has reported from across the world, has been the Washington bureau chief of The Sunday Times of London since January 2013.
He was previously with the Telegraph for 17 years, based in London, Belfast, Washington, Jerusalem and Baghdad, finishing as US Editor from 2006 to 2011. Harnden was US Executive Editor of Mail Online and US Editor of The Daily Mail during the 2012 US presidential election campaign. He has reported from all 50 US states and travelled from coast to coast four times. He made several reporting trips to Afghanistan from 2006 to 2010, culminating in his second book Dead Men Risen: The Welsh Guards and the Defining Story of Britain’s War in Afghanistan, which won the 2012 Orwell Prize for books, Britain's most prestigous award for political writing.
Harnden was The Sunday Telegraph’s Chief Foreign Correspondent from 2005 to 2006. he has reported from Iraq, Afghanistan, Israel, the Palestinian Territories, Lebanon, Bahrain, Syria, Jordan, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Austria, Italy, Estonia, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, United States, Colombia and Thailand. In 2005, he was imprisoned in Zimbabwe for 14 days after being arrested and charged with ‘practicing journalism without accreditation’. He was subsequently acquitted, deported and banned from Zimbabwe.
Harnden was Middle East Correspondent of The Daily Telegraph from 2003, based in Jerusalem but travelling throughout the region. He spent much of 2004 and 2005 covering the war in Iraq. He was a "unilateral" reporter during the siege of Najaf in August 2004 and three months later was embedded with the US Army's Task Force 2-2 during the battle of Fallujah.
From 1999 to 2003, Harnden was The Daily Telegraph's Washington bureau chief. He was in Washington on September 11th 2001. He joined The Daily Telegraph in 1994 as a home news reporter before being posted to Belfast as the newspaper's Ireland Correspondent in 1996. He subsequently covered the Good Friday Agreement and the Omagh bombing of 1998 as well as numerous explosions, ceasefires, shootings, riots, marches and political crises.
The culmination of Harnden's work in Northern Ireland was the publication of Bandit Country: The IRA & South Armagh (Hodder & Stoughton 1999), which has sold more than 100,000 copies worldwide and is considered essential reading for anyone wanting to understand the Irish Troubles. Harnden was held to be in contempt of the Bloody Sunday tribunal for refusing to identify two confidential sources he had quoted in a 1999 article. He was threatened with jail but declined to break his promise to grant anonymity to his sources. The case against him was dropped in 2004 after a five-year legal battle. In 2013, the Smithwick Tribunal concluded that controversial allegations contained in Bandit Country were true. In Bandit Country, Harnden had alleged that collusion with the IRA by an Irish police had been behind the 1989 killings of Chief Superintendent Harry Breen and Superintendent Bob Buchanan, the two most senior RUC officers murdered during the Troubles. The tribunal's verdict, reached after an eight-year inquiry costing €15 million, 'absolutely vindicated' Harnden's allegations 14 years after they had been made.
Harnden was born in Portsmouth in 1966 and grew up in Marple, Cheshire and Rusholme, Manchester. After leaving St Bede’s College, Manchester in 1984, he was commissioned into the Royal Navy and attended Britannia Royal Naval College, Dartmouth. He then went up to Corpus Christi College, Oxford, where he was elected president of the Junior Common Room in 1987 and awarded a First in Modern History from Oxford University in 1988. He received a College Prize for academic work and the Miles Clauson Prize for contribution to college life. Harnden retired from the Navy in 1994 as a Lieutenant after service ashore in Rosyth and Plymouth naval bases and at sea in the assault ships HMS Fearless, and HMS Intrepid, the minesweeper HMS Itchen, the destroyers HMS Manchester and HMS Edinburgh and the frigate HMS Cornwall. During his training he was an exchange officer with the Royal Norwegian Navy, helping to transport reindeer on troop landing craft. His final naval appointment was in the Ministry of Defence as Flag Lieutenant to the Second Sea Lord.
He began in journalism as a theatre reviewer at the Edinburgh Fringe and as an obituary writer before becoming a full-time news reporter with The Daily Telegraph, based at its headquarters in London. Harnden has also worked for the Leith Leader, The Scotsman, the Western Morning News (Plymouth) and The Independent. He has been published in The Guardian, The Wall Street Journal, The Sun, Evening Standard, The Spectator, Literary Review, Naval Review, East End Life, Oxford Student, Conde Nast Traveller, Grazia, the American Spectator, Washingtonian, Soldier of Fortune, Zoo and Men's Health.
A regular broadcaster, Harnden has appeared on CNN, PBS, Fox, MSNBC, CNBC, BBC, Sky, GMTV, Channel 4 News and the Radio 4 Today programme as well as outlets in the Republic of Ireland, Canada and Australia. He has spoken at Harvard and Oxford Universities, Shrivenham Royal Military College, the British-American Business Association and the Hay, Lichfield and Dartington literary festivals.