James Bamford (born September 24, 1946) is an American bestselling author and journalist who writes about United States intelligence agencies. He was raised in Natick, Massachusetts, spent three years in the United States Navy as an intelligence analyst during the Vietnam War, and used the GI Bill to earn his law degree from Suffolk University Law School in Boston.
Mr. Bamford's first book, The Puzzle Palace (1982), was the first book published about the National Security Agency (NSA). The book was researched through extensive use of the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). As a super-secret agency, the NSA was quite concerned about their unveiling to the world and accordingly, the government acted to stop publication. He published Body of Secrets (also about the NSA, 2001), and A Pretext for War (2004). Bamford lectures nationally and was a distinguished visiting professor at the University of California, Berkeley. He also spent nearly a decade as the Washington Investigative Producer for ABC's World News Tonight.
In 2006, he received the National Magazine Award for Reporting, the top prize in magazine writing.