Crispin Black

Crispin Black

Crispin is an independent intelligence consultant. He is retained by the BBC as an expert in terrorism and intelligence and was extensively involved in their coverage of both 7 and 21-7. He is the author of 7-7 The London Bombs - What Went Wrong? - a critical examination of the failures in intelligence and security leading up to the July 2005 bombs in which he makes suggestions for wide-ranging reform and improvement. He also writes periodically for the Independent on Sunday and appears on other TV channels from time to time including NBC, ARD, Sky and Channel 4. After the London Bombings of 2005 Jon Snow called him "One of the very best in the field."


On passing out from the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst, Crispin started his career as a second lieutenant in the Falklands War and finished over twenty years later as a lieutenant colonel in the Cabinet Office preparing intelligence briefings for Number 10, the Joint Intelligence Committee and COBRA (Cabinet Office Briefing Room A - the government's highest level crisis response machinery) where he was on duty on the night 11-12 September 2001. In between he did three emergency tours of Northern Ireland including a stint as intelligence officer in the Republican stronghold of West Belfast. His trials and tribulations and those of his soldiers during two years on counter-terrorist operations in the early 1990s were the subject of a popular BBC documentary by Molly Dineen "In the Company of Men". He also served with the British Army of the Rhine and the United Nations Forces in Cyprus.

After graduation from the Army Staff College he specialized in intelligence and in 1996 was awarded the MBE for his role in the Defence Intelligence Staff during the crisis in Former Yugoslavia. He has degrees from both London and Cambridge - where he spent a year on a defence fellowship - and has lectured at both universities.

While in the Cabinet Office he was dispatched to advise the Macedonian government on the structure of their intelligence assessment machinery. In September this year he was asked to provide independent assessment of the UK's counter-terror capability to the Danish Parliament's Intelligence and Security Committee.

Crispin's special areas of interest and expertise are decision making and assessment in the face of uncertainty.

He is married with two small daughters and lives in London. He has one brother who is an attorney in Las Vegas.