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Dr Frank Foley

Lecturer in International Relations


Department of War Studies

King's College London
London WC2R 2LS
Email: frank.foley(at)
Tel: +44 (0)20 7848 1675
Fax: +44 (0)20 7848 2026

Office Hours:  Wednesdays 12.15-13.15 or by appointment







I am a Lecturer in International Relations at the Department of War Studies and Deputy Director of its Centre for Defence Studies. My main interests are counterterrorism, human rights, intelligence and police agencies, and I conduct field research on these topics in the UK, US, France and Spain.

Prior to this post, I held post-doctoral fellowships at Stanford University’s Center for International Security and Co-operation (CISAC); at the Department of War Studies; and at the Centre for Political and Constitutional Studies in Madrid. In 2010 I received a “Terrorism Research Award” from the US National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism (START).

I hold a PhD in Political Science (2008) from the European University Institute in Florence and an M.Phil in the History of Political Thought from the University of Cambridge. I conducted research on the Northern Ireland conflict at the University of Ulster during 2004 and worked as a journalist in Brussels between 2001 and 2003.

Research Interests

Counterterrorism: I am interested in why states respond to terrorism as they do, and the consequences of counterterrorist policy for the state, for individual citizens and for militant networks. My first book – Countering Terrorism in Britain and France: Institutions, Norms and the Shadow of the Past (Cambridge University Press, 2013) – is a comparative analysis of British and French counterterrorist policies, legislation and operations. Drawing on institutional and constructivist theories, it argues that western states’ different institutions and norms in the field of security are shaping their responses to Islamist terrorism, leading to divergent approaches to a common problem.  The book has been reviewed in European Political Science as part of a review exchange with Professor Stuart Croft; it has also been reviewed in the Spectator, Perspectives on Politics, and Political Studies Review.

Human Rights: My research in this area seeks to identify the conditions under which the security agencies of liberal democracies violate human rights, particularly in the context of counterterrorist campaigns. This includes a comparative project on how the global anti-torture norm is interpreted and implemented in different national and organisational contexts.

Intelligence and Law Enforcement: This research focuses on the respective roles of intelligence and law enforcement agencies in counterterrorism and the relationship between them on national security investigations. It includes a project that analyses the co-ordination of counterterrorist police and intelligence agencies within the United States, Britain and France, drawing on organisation theory to explain why some countries achieve higher levels of inter-agency co-operation than others.


Please see for downloadable articles, and my entry in the Research Portal for a full list of publications.


I convene two modules: 

4SSW1008 Conflict and Diplomacy (BA in IR)

7SSWM082 Political Violence, Counterterrorism and Human Rights (MA)

I also teach on the Intelligence MA core course, 7SSWM142 Intelligence in Peace and War

PhD Supervision

I am interested in supervising PhD and MA students who wish to study topics that fall into these broad subject areas:

  • Counterterrorism (including policy, law and operations)
  • Human rights, especially in the context of security policy
  • Intelligence and/or law enforcement in international security
  • The organisation of intelligence and policing
  • Terrorism and Political Violence

All project proposals on these subjects are welcome; proposals to conduct comparative research in these areas would be of particular interest.

Expertise and Public Engagement

I comment on terrorism, counterterrorism, torture and other issues for a variety of national and international media, including the BBC News Channel, BBC Radio 5 Live, France 24, Voice of America, Radio France Internationale, Arise TV, and the Sun. My book has also been covered in the Telegraph and the Spectator online.

Committed to engaging policy makers, I have briefed governments and security practitioners on my research findings, including British and French counterterrorist officials and Department of Defense staff at the Pentagon in Washington DC.

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