It has been some time since I read this book which I found completely by chance in a used book store. Having an interest in the subject, I purchased it and subsequently found it to be full of information about the intelligence community and what the agents do when they leave the FBI, CIA, NSA (you fill in the blank) etc. In one paragraph on Prince Barnhard of the Netherlands, the author provides more background and insight into the powerful structures that govern the world than could be found in years of reading Time magazine. If you see this book, buy read it and do not lend it to anyone.
I, like the previous reviewer, found this book quite by accident, but it had only recently been published as a paperback. I loaned it out, it never came back, and I searched relentlessly for a hard-bound. I keep it in my safe. It is one of the most fascinating books I have ever read. I learned a great deal about the machinations behind which Vescoe, Hughes, Maheau, Nixon and many other heavy-hitters of the 50's and 60's carried out their agendas and their whims. Again. Your mission is to find it. Read it. Lock it up. If you loan it out, 'they' will get it.
Format: Mass Market Paperback
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Jim Hougan's 'Spooks' provides a well written, informative and indeed entertaining exploration of the world of "spooks". America, Hougan maintains, is "haunted" not by ethereal spooks from beyond the grave but the flesh and blood variety, from the underworld where power politics, government, big business and organised crime merge.
Hougan's subtitle addresses the 'private' use of spies. 'Private' is meant to be distinct from 'public' sector spy agencies' like the CIA, FBI etc. Of course, as Hougan demonstrates, telling 'private' from the 'public' in the spookdom is more séance than science. It is this nether region, contrary to his subtitle, that is the real focus of Hougan's book. Apart from Howard Hughes' use of detectives to tail prospective girlfriends, Hougan doesn't really spend any time on "purely private" espionage, for example, industrial espionage or marital snooping.
Hougan, who is also the author of "Secret Agenda", one of the key books of the Watergate revisionist movement, spent four years investigating and interviewing real spooks. So this is real journalism, indeed history, and not just a kennel of pet conspiracy theories.
Of course, and I am sure Hougan would agree, disentangling threads, most of which were deliberately hidden or obscured to begin with, is inherently difficult and error prone. This is perhaps the real reason why mainstream scholars reflexively reject 'conspiracy theories'. To prove or disprove them, and to have all that verified, requires too much work and there is a high probability that the investigator will return nothing more than questions. This is hardly an ideal outcome for the investigator but it is, after all, what the instigator had in mind.
Spooks, published in 197x, is constructed like a good spy novel.Read more ›
'A ground-breaking investigative survey of parapolitical America, "Spooks" was one of the first books to report on the privatization of the intelligence function: the application of intelligence practices to commercial activities, and the emergence of CIAs-for-hire in the private sector. Within this general framework, Hougan unearths great chunks of America's "secret history." The war between Jimmy Hoffa and the Kennedy family is seen to have had a public and a private side, with the latter fought by countermeasures genius Bernard Spindel against "an archipelago" of public and private intelligence agencies working for Bobby and Jack.
Calling Howard Hughes "an American Dracula," Hougan offers a blow-by- blow account of the bedside battle fought by Intertel and former CIA agent Robert Maheu for control over the drug-addicted billionaire's body and empire. Other sections of the book describe Robert Vesco's assault on Investors Overseas Services; Richard Nixon's "French connection" to industrialist Paul Louis Weiller; the efforts of paramilitary wizard Mitch WerBell and CIA superspook Lucien Conein to introduce a "final solution" to the War on Drugs; and the World War II background of Japanese and German agents who played key roles in the Lockheed bribery scandal. Packed with anecdotes, footnotes, and proper names, "Spooks" is a classic.'