Spooked: The Trump Dossier, Black Cube, and the Rise of Private Spies

Barry Meier. Harper, $28.99 (336p) ISBN 978-0-06-295068-0
Journalist Meier (Pain Killer) delivers an intriguing yet overstuffed account of the modern-day private investigative industry and its role in the Harvey Weinstein case and other recent scandals. Over the past decade, Meier writes, corporate spying—fueled by new surveillance technologies and changes in the media landscape—has grown into a billion-dollar industry where “the big money is made not by exposing the truth but by papering it over or concealing it” and operatives regularly use tactics that are “illegal, unethical, or just plain unsavory.” He details, for example, how an Israeli firm, Black Cube, sent an agent to befriend Harvey Weinstein accuser Rose McGowan in order to get information that Weinstein’s lawyers could use against her. Meier also profiles Fusion GPS founder Glenn Simpson and former MI6 agent Christopher Steele, and recounts their “increasingly frantic” efforts in the run-up to the 2016 election to get journalists to report on allegations from Steele’s anonymous sources that the Russian government had compromising material on Donald Trump and was colluding with his campaign. Though Meier adds color and depth to the political saga, its connection to trends within corporate espionage slips out of focus. Still, this is an illuminating look at a shadowy industry. Agent: Farley Chase, Chase Literary. (Mar.)
Reviewed on : 01/05/2021
Release date: 09/01/2020
Genre: Nonfiction
Ebook - 352 pages - 978-0-06-295070-3
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Audio book sample courtesy of HarperAudio
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