M. Todd Bennett

Professor, Director of Graduate Studies
Ph.D., University of Georgia

Office: Brewster A-319

Email: bennettm@ecu.edu

Phone: 252-328-1033



M. Todd Bennett’s research examines the history of U.S. intelligence, national security policy, and the right to know. He is the author, most recently, of Neither Confirm nor Deny: How the Glomar Mission Shielded the CIA from Transparency (Columbia University Press, 2022). Based on recently declassified files, the book follows the voyage of the Hughes Glomar Explorer, an advanced ship ostensibly owned by billionaire Howard Hughes that was at the center of a top-secret CIA effort to retrieve a sunken Soviet submarine from the bottom of the Pacific Ocean. The Glomar mission ranks among the most ambitious ventures in intelligence history. But it also played a pivotal role in helping the CIA ward off oversight amid a push for transparency and accountability in the 1970s. And Neither Confirm nor Deny reframes the operation’s history to offer an alternative perspective on the seventies, a decade known for expansive openness, as well as the persistent tension between the demands of democracy and the need for secrecy in foreign policy.

Bennett has contributed to the Washington PostDiplomatic History, and the Journal of American History, among other publications. The National Endowment for the Humanities named him a Public Scholar in 2017–2018. He teaches courses on 20th century American history and foreign relations history.

Before joining ECU’s faculty, Bennett served with the U.S. Department of State, where he directed the Europe and Global Issues Division of the Office of the Historian and edited or co-edited several volumes in the Foreign Relations of the United States series, the official documentary record of U.S. foreign policy. He taught at George Washington University, the Corcoran College of Art and Design, and the University of Nevada—Reno.

Selected Publications:


Neither Confirm nor Deny: How the Glomar Mission Shielded the CIA from Transparency. New York: Columbia University Press, 2022, https://cup.columbia.edu/book/neither-confirm-nor-deny/9780231193474.

 One World, Big Screen: Hollywood, the Allies, and World War II. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2012, https://uncpress.org/book/9781469628301/one-world-big-screen/.

Documentary Collections

National Security Policy, 1973-1976. Vol. XXXV of Foreign Relations of the United States (FRUS), 1969-1976. Washington, DC: US Government Printing Office, 2014, https://history.state.gov/historicaldocuments/frus1969-76v35.

Organization and Management of Foreign Policy; Public Diplomacy, 1973-1976. Vol. XXXVIII, pt. 2, of FRUS, 1969-1976. Washington, DC: USGPO, 2014, http://history.state.gov/historicaldocuments/frus1969-76v38p2.

National Security Policy, 1969-1972. Vol. XXXIV of FRUS, 1969-1976. Washington, DC: USGPO, 2011, http://history.state.gov/historicaldocuments/frus1969-76v34

Selected Articles and Chapters

“Détente in Deep Water: The CIA Mission to Salvage a Sunken Soviet Submarine and US-USSR Relations, 1969–1975,” Intelligence and National Security 33 (2018): 196–210.

“Transparency Is the Best Way to Combat Russian Propaganda,” Washington Post, January 23, 2018, https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/made-by-history/wp/2018/01/23/transparency-is-the-best-way-to-combat-russian-propaganda/.

“The Spirits of ’76: Diplomacy Commemorating America’s Bicentennial in 1976.” Diplomatic History 40 (September 2016): 695-721.

“Teaching the Cold War Using the Foreign Relations of the United States Series.” In Understanding and Teaching the Cold War, ed. Matthew Masur. Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 2016.

“Global Culture and World War II.” In A Companion to World War II, ed. Thomas W. Zeiler with Daniel M. DuBois, 754-772. Hoboken, NJ: Wiley-Blackwell, 2012.

“Culture, Power, and Mission to Moscow: Film and Soviet-American Relations during the Second World War.” Journal of American History 88 (September 2001): 489-518.

Courses Offered:

HIST 1051: American History Since 1877
HIST 2444: History of Sports in Western Society
HIST 3200: Diplomatic History of the United States
HIST 3240: The Age of Franklin Roosevelt, 1919-1945
HIST 3245: The United States Since 1945
HIST 6050: The Great Depression, New Deal, and World War II
HIST 6055: The United States Since 1945
HIST 6181: Diplomatic History of the United States Since 1898