A Pulitzer Prize winning investigative journalist’s journey into a billon-dollar secret industry that is shaping our world – the booming business of private spying, operatives-for-hire retained by companies, political parties and the powerful to dig up dirt on their enemies and, if need be, destroy them.
For decades, private eyes from Allan Pinkerton, who formed the first detective agency in the U.S., to Jules Kroll, who transformed the investigations business by giving it a corporate veneer, private spies were content to stand in the shadows. Now, that is all changing. High-profile stories grabbing recent headlines – the Steele Dossier, Black Cube, the Theranos scandal, Harvey Weinstein’s attacks on his accusers – all share a common thread, the involvement of private spies.Today, operatives-for-hire are influencing presidential elections, the news media, government policies and the fortunes of companies.. They are also peering into our personal lives as never before, using off-the shelf technology to listen to our phone calls, monitor our emails, and decide what we see on social media. Private spying has never been cheaper and the business has never been more lucrative—just as its power has never been more pervasive.
Spooked is a fast-paced, disturbing and, at times, hilarious tour through the shadowlands of private spying and its inhabitants, a grab-bag collection of ex-intelligence operatives, former journalists and lost souls. In this hidden world, information is currency, double-crosses are commonplace, and hacking can be standard procedure. Drawing on his journalistic expertise and unique access to sources, Barry Meier uncovers the secrets private spies want to keep hidden.
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About the Author
Barry Meier is a former New York Times reporter and a member of the Times’ team that won the 2017 Pulitzer Prize for International Reporting. He is also a two-time winner of the prestigious George Polk Award for Investigative Reporting and other professional honors. Prior to joining the Times in 1989, he worked for the Wall Street Journal and New York Newsday. He is also the author of Pain Killer and Missing Man. Meier lives in New York City.
Table of Contents
Prologue Stalking Mr. Steele 1
Chapter 1 Journalism for Rent 15
Chapter 2 "Lapdance Island" 33
Chapter 3 "OPPO" 55
Chapter 4 The London Information Exchange 71
Chapter 5 Bad Blood 85
Chapter 6 Ukraine Tomorrow 101
Chapter 7 Table Number 6 113
Chapter 8 Glenntourage 127
Chapter 9 The Pee Tape 141
Chapter 10 Outed, Episode 1 163
Chapter 11 Outed, Episode 2 181
Chapter 12 Trojan Wars 185
Chapter 13 Rock Stars 207
Chapter 14 Episode 1: "Double Agent" 223
Chapter 15 Shiny Object 233
Chapter 16 Dinner with Natalia 247
Chapter 17 The Collector 259
Note on Sources 283