The Investigator: Fifty Years of Uncovering the Truth

Overview

The Los Angeles Times once called investigative lawyer Terry Lenzner “one of the most powerful and dreaded private investigators in the world.” In his fifty-year career, Lenzner has worked with politicians, celebrities, governments, and corporations worldwide; with a steadfast commitment to the truth, he has uncovered facts that have shaped policy and influenced major legal battles.

In this captivating memoir, Lenzner speaks about his varied career and high-profile cases for the...

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The Investigator

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Overview

The Los Angeles Times once called investigative lawyer Terry Lenzner “one of the most powerful and dreaded private investigators in the world.” In his fifty-year career, Lenzner has worked with politicians, celebrities, governments, and corporations worldwide; with a steadfast commitment to the truth, he has uncovered facts that have shaped policy and influenced major legal battles.

In this captivating memoir, Lenzner speaks about his varied career and high-profile cases for the first time. At the Justice Department in 1964, he investigated the murder of three civil rights workers—an infamous event that inspired the film Mississippi Burning. He led the national Legal Services Program for the poor, prosecuted organized crime in New York, defended peace activist Philip Berrigan, and represented CIA operative Sid Gottlieb. As a counsel to the Senate Watergate Committee, Lenzner investigated Nixon’s dirty tricks and followed the money trail that led to the Watergate burglary and cover-up. He was the first person to deliver a congressional subpoena to a sitting U.S. president. He uncovered cost overruns of the Alaska oil pipeline, helped identify the Unabomber, investigated the circumstances of Princess Diana’s death, and cleared Hugo Chavez of false corruption charges. Lenzner also worked with President Clinton’s defense team during the impeachment hearings.

The Investigator is a riveting personal account: Lenzner astounds with anecdotes of scandal and intrigue, offers lessons in investigative methods, and provides an eye-opening look behind some of the most talked-about media stories and world events of our time.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
08/26/2013
One of Washington’s most in-the-know private eyes spills the beans in this canny memoir. Lenzner, a lawyer and founder of Investigative Group International, recalls his work as a Justice Department attorney hunting for the murderers of civil rights activists in Mississippi in 1964, probing the Watergate scandal for the Ervin Committee, and a slew of for-hire investigations into the identity of the Unabomber, Monica Lewinski’s background, the business dealings of Mitt Romney, and other high-profile cases. According to Lenzner, the investigator’s life is patient and dogged, a matter of tracking down legal records, sifting financial documents, building rapport with witnesses, piecing together a jigsaw puzzle of details into a coherent picture. There are few bombshells here; the biggest is his conjecture that the Watergate break-ins may have been mounted to conceal bribes paid by billionaire Howard Hughes to President Nixon. The truth Lenzner unveils, in part through shrewd thumbnails of everyone from John Dean to Kenneth Starr, is more about character and motive—the arrogant delusions that spawn and sustain malfeasance, and the resentments and idealism that spur informants and whistleblowers. The result is a low-key but absorbing study of the hidden impulses behind corruption and scandal. 16-page b&w insert. Agent: Gail Ross, Ross Yoon Agency. (Oct.)
From the Publisher
“Finally a real private eye tells how it's done. And this investigator—Terry Lenzner—plied his craft at the highest levels of power: from Nixon and Watergate and Howard Hughes, to Bill Clinton and Monica Lewinsky, John Kerry and the Swift Boaters, Princess Diana and Dodi Fayed. A fascinating work of history, absorbing and fun to read.”
—Lesley Stahl

“I stayed up until the wee hours reading this fascinating book. Lenzner played an important behind-the-scenes role in most of the great dramas of the second half of the 20th Century, from Selma to Watergate to the CIA hearings to the Clinton impeachment. He's a great storyteller and shrewd judge of character who tells us—finally—where so many of the important bodies are buried.”
—Jonathan Alter, author of The Center Holds: Obama and His Enemies
 
“Terry Lenzner's is an exemplary life of brilliance, pragmatism and derring-do. His memoir reveals an astonishing involvement in every sector of US life from Big Oil to High Art. An absorbing account of dedicated public service, cunning intrigue and Beltway politics.”
—Monroe E. Price, Director, Center for Global Communications Studies Annenberg School for Communication

“If you want to read riveting, true-story crime-busting tales this is your book. Terry Lenzner has uncovered the truth while investigating everything from political shenanigans to movie star misdeeds and international intrigue. His stints in the Justice Department during the civil rights era and the famous Senate Watergate Committee are just some of the history-making moments where he’s played a key role as the pre-eminent private investigator of our time.”
—Cokie Roberts, political commentator, NPR and ABC News

“Terry Lenzner is unique in combining his life as a brilliant, dogged, energetic, creative, no-holds-barred investigator with a deep and abiding commitment to human and civil rights and liberties.”
—Victor S. Navasky, author of National Book Award winning Naming Names and former editor of The Nation

“Terry Lenzner is a linebacker for truth. He has an instinct for sniffing out deception and the courage to tackle it. He is professional in ways that put lawyers to shame.”
—Charles Nesson, William F. Weld Professor of Law at Harvard Law School and founder of the Berkman Center for Internet & Society

"At one point, lawyer Lenzner was called one of the most powerful and dreaded private investigators in the world. His famous clients have included politicians and celebrities, governments and corporations....Yet what strikes the reader is how insightful Lenzer is, and how humble he seems....He lists the qualities that make a good investigator, such as curiosity, persistence, intuition, and imagination. A compelling memoir about a fascinating life."
Booklist

“One of Washington’s most in-the-know private eyes spills the beans in this canny memoir.... The truth Lenzner unveils, in part through shrewd thumbnails of everyone from John Dean to Kenneth Starr, is more about character and motive—the arrogant delusions that spawn and sustain malfeasance, and the resentments and idealism that spur informants and whistleblowers. The result is a low-key but absorbing study of the hidden impulses behind corruption and scandal.”—Publishers Weekly
 
“Lenzner deplores the hyperpartisan tenor of today’s Washington D.C., where “all that matters is the spin”…. He’s his own man, interested only in ethically gathering and analyzing facts and dedicated solely to uncovering the truth. A spirited recounting of a highly unusual life in the law.”—Kirkus

“What can we say about Terry Lenzner, a curious hybrid of Harvard-trained lawyer and dirt-digging Washington private eye? The Investigator [covers] a remarkable 50-year career with periods of both light and shadow....a time capsule of adventuresome sleuthing [that] traces the contours of U.S. political history.”
—Richard Leiby, The Washington Post

“In his dynamite new memoir, The Investigator, Terry Lenzner combines intriguing stories like these with an up-close history of America over the past half century. As a government lawyer, private attorney, and successful investigator, Lenzner was involved in a mind-boggling number of historic events—from the Mississippi Burning murders to Watergate, from the Alaskan Oil Pipeline inquiry to prosecuting the New York mob, from investigating Princess Diana’s death to the impeachment of President Clinton....Ultimately, The Investigator is about the meaning of truth, and how it has devolved in America over the past 40 years from a conclusion based on facts to something much more subjective.”
—Jake Whitney, The Daily Beast

“Mr. Lenzner has enjoyed a varied career that stretches from the civil-rights movement to the present day. Zelig-like, he keeps popping up at the various intersection points of politics, journalism and the law. Detailed yet accessible, The Investigator presents a breezy tour of postwar America by a relentless pursuer of concealed facts, a hired gun whose services can be purchased but whose allegiances cannot....he can be refreshingly iconoclastic in his views of the people and events he has observed up close....So decisive have been his victories that those who have encountered him are divisible into two groups: those who thanked God he was on their side and those who rued that he wasn't.”
—James Rosen, The Wall Street Journal

“[Terry Lenzner's] The Investigator reads like a Forrest-Gump-style catalogue of cases that have caught the public eye—from the murders of three civil rights workers in Mississippi, to the Harrisburg 7's federal case for antiwar activism, to Watergate, the Unabomber, Monica Lewinsky and the death of Princess Diana....Impressively, this seasoned investigator is also a fine writer. His story opens compellingly, giving background while simultaneously jumping right into the action....an absorbing and intelligent sampling of American history, told in puzzles and—sometimes—solutions.”
—Julia Jenkins, Shelf Awareness, STARRED REVIEW

“Books by Washington insiders often promise a great deal, then fail to deliver. Lenzner delivers. His memoir, The Investigator: Fifty Years of Uncovering the Truth, is loaded with details about his role investigating numerous scandals, starting with the shameful behavior of Richard Nixon that led to his departure from the White House. Lenzner is candid about the heroes and villains he has encountered, and candid about himself.”—Steve Weinberg, Minneapolis Star-Tribune

Library Journal
10/15/2013
For over 50 years, PI and lawyer Lenzner investigated everything from Watergate to Princess Di's death. He was a friend of Donald Rumsfeld's and a defender of the Berrigan brothers. His memoir covers a wide range of major news stories, offering his unique perspective and some insider information. Lenzner makes his commitment to finding the truth plain; librarians may find him to be something of a kindred spirit when he writes passionately about gathering information without prejudice. His straight-talking recollection of his work on important cases is leavened with just enough gossip (Nixon was off-putting! Steven Seagal blathered on about judo!) to draw in even the most apolitical reader. Watergate gets the most complete treatment, and readers may be left wishing he had been as thorough in other areas, but they will likely forgive him. Lenzner spent his career bouncing around Washington, DC, taking jobs that interested him, but his distaste for the corrupting influence of money, particularly in campaign finance, threads through several of his stories, as does his commitment to unbiased research and fact-finding. VERDICT Lenzner's insider take will appeal to political junkies and casual news watchers alike. This one will circulate.—Kate Sheehan, Waterbury, CT
Kirkus Reviews
2013-09-15
The founder and chairman of Investigative Group International looks back on a professional career filled with glittering names and important cases. Lenzner deplores the hyperpartisan tenor of today's Washington, D.C., where "all that matters is the spin." Fearful, perhaps, that he's become too closely identified in recent years with this unseemly scrum due to his investigative work on behalf of the Clintons, he repeatedly assures readers that he's his own man, interested only in ethically gathering and analyzing facts and dedicated solely to uncovering the truth. Thus, he has monitored anti-war demonstrators on behalf of the Department of Justice and defended peace activist Philip Berrigan; represented the CIA's notorious "Dr. Death," Sid Gottlieb, who administered LSD to unwitting subjects; refused to work for Daniel Ellsberg or under Ted Kennedy's grandiose nephew. Lenzner has investigated the United Way's shady president, William Aramony, the New Republic's notorious plagiarist and fabulist, Stephen Glass, and the oil companies who overcharged Alaska for building the pipeline. For pressing his case too forcefully, he's been fired by Donald Rumsfeld from the Office of Economic Opportunity, as well as by Mohamed Al-Fayed, who let him go when he reported no evidence to support the billionaire's bizarre theory that the royal family had murdered son Dodi and Princess Diana. Lenzner's investigations have helped to identify the Unabomber, to recover magician David Copperfield's equipment confiscated in Russia, and to ease racial tensions in Boston's housing projects. The author's best stories emerge from his DOJ work during Freedom Summer and his sleuthing for the Senate Watergate Committee. Mentored by the likes of John Doar, Sam Dash, Robert Morgenthau and Edward Bennett Williams, Lenzner explains how his private practice evolved and how he came to assemble and rely on a cadre of ex-reporters and law enforcement officers to conduct wide-ranging interviews, scour public records and prepare lawsuits based on solid information. A spirited recounting of a highly unusual life in the law.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780399160554
  • Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 10/8/2013
  • Pages: 384
  • Sales rank: 1,467,679
  • Product dimensions: 6.40 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 1.30 (d)

Meet the Author

Terry Lenzner is the founder and chairman of Investigative Group International (IGI), and the former assistant chief counsel to the Senate Watergate Committee. Prior to establishing IGI, Lenzner also served as a Justice Department attorney with the Civil Rights Division, a federal prosecutor in the Southern District of New York, and in private practice.

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