- Explore more great deals on thousands of titles in our Deals in Books store.
Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Spies for Hire: The Secret World of Intelligence Outsourcing Hardcover – Bargain Price, May 6, 2008
|New from||Used from|
All Books, All the Time
Read author interviews, book reviews, editors picks, and more at the Amazon Book Review. Read it now
Customers who bought this item also bought
What other items do customers buy after viewing this item?
Special offers and product promotions
From Publishers Weekly
Even James Bond is temping these days. According to investigative journalist Shorrock, the CIA and other intelligence agencies now have more contractors working for them than they do spies of their own. Often former staff hired back at double or triple their former government salaries, these private contractors do everything from fighting in Afghanistan to interrogating prisoners, aiming spy satellites and supervising secret agents. Shorrock gives a comprehensive—at times eye-glazing—rundown of the players in the industry, and his book is valuable for its detailed panorama of 21st-century intelligence work. He uncovers serious abuses—contractor CACI International figured prominently in the Abu Ghraib outrages—and nagging concerns about corrupt ties between intelligence officials and private corporations, industry lobbying for a national surveillance state, the withering of the intelligence agencies' in-house capacities and the displacement of an ethos of public service by a profit motive. However, the bulk of the outsourcing Shorrock unearths is rather pedestrian, involving the management of mundane IT systems and various administrative services, and this exposé insinuates more skullduggery than it demonstrates. (May)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
"Tim Shorrock is walking, and mapping, a startling fault line of these crazy days: the way government is outsourcing its most basic functions at a time of peril. Replacing public service with private transactions -- often shadowy and unaccountable -- is what helped bring down Rome. Without fierce scrutiny, and the kind of sharp-eyed disclosures this book provides, it can bring down America. A must read." -- Ron Suskind, author of The One Percent Doctrine
"Spies for Hire is an excellent roadmap to the daunting new terrain of U.S. intelligence, in which the explosive growth of intelligence contracting threatens to overwhelm any possibility of independent oversight. In this groundbreaking work, Tim Shorrock explores who has benefitted, who has paid, and why it matters to us all." -- Steven Aftergood, Project on Government Secrecy, Federation of American Scientists
"Tim Shorrock is a digger, and he has penetrated a secret and fascinating world to write a telling and readable book." -- Evan Thomas, editor at large of Newsweek, author of Sea of Thunder
"Tim Shorrock's well-researched and convincing book reveals how the intelligence community now subcontracts out most of its work -- 70 percent -- to private-sector companies that inevitably have their own agendas, which may or may not accord with the national interest. By laying out very specifically how all this works, Shorrock has provided a very important service to the country." -- Burton Hersh, author of The Old Boys: The American Elite and the Origins of the CIA
Top customer reviews
However, with all this research he makes some poor conclusions. He implies that companies have armies of cleared employees just floating out in the ether. In fact, all of those cleared employees must be working on US government work, or else they would not have clearances. He all but states that private industry drives government decision making. There may be some degree of influence, but to say for example that private industry helped send the country to war in Iraq is just wrong (the president and his senior leadership deserve "credit" for that). And while the intelligence community budget is large and has grown exponentially since 9/11, the author makes no effort to distinguish between big ticket items such as satellites and spy planes and the personnel who support them or analyze what these expensive toys put out. To say that a majority of the intel budget goes to private industry might be true, but that is because government doesn't actually build most things anymore (and hasn't since at least WWII), Lockheed, Boeing, Raytheon et al have most of that capability now.
This is a thought provoking though frustrating work. The author should have done is homework on procurement and the differences between how different "INTs" operate.
At any rate, this is an important work, and my views of Shorrock's book are almost isomorphic with those contained in the reviews by Steele and "Retired Reader."
With respect to the issue of private corporations being restricted to not breaking the law (either international, US, or any any other country's), one must realise that the gathering of covert HUMINT essentially ALWAYS involves breaking someone's laws. If a contractor is expressly forbidden to do this or is to be held accountable for such trangressions, then contractors cannot perform positive intelligence gathering functions. Unfortunately, at the present time the CIA and all other agencies involved in covert intelligence gathering are clearly incapable of fulfilling their missions in this regard without using private contractors. Regardless of the reasons for this lack of in-agency capability, to eliminate private contractors as the author seems to desire, would be to put America's security at grave risk.
There are solutions to this problem, but the author seems more intent on promoting his leftist agenda than in addressing the issues with the clear goal of improving America's intelligence. Yes, the use of private contractors has gone too far, but what level of private contracting and for what functions would be appropriate? And how do we get to that appropriate level? Alas, these questions were missing in this book, and unfortunately I have not found them yet in any other.
Lastly, allow me to register my disappointment with the reaction to this book. To date, there have been only six reviews and judging from the ratings pro and con on the reviews, I would estimate that the number of readers of the reviews are not more than forty. That's pretty insignificant when one considers the importance of the book's topic, and shows the lack of public interest in this subject. Something is terribly wrong with the US reading public when banal books like those by Friedman and Zakaria promoting the U.S.'s submission to international organizations and globalism receive thousands of reviews and ratings and books on the condition of the CIA and intelligence out-sourcing draw almost no interest.
Most recent customer reviews
complexity of info. presented
Clearly written for lay person......