FRIENDLY SPIES by Peter Schweizer


How America's Allies Are Using Economic Espionage to Steal Our Secrets
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 An exhaustively, if anecdotally, documented briefing on the threat posed by offshore corporations and governments that conduct intelligence-gathering campaigns against American business. Drawing on case studies and interviews with spy-masters, freelance writer Schweizer (The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, etc.) argues persuasively that foreign countries--even those otherwise aligned with the US--view commercial espionage as an acceptable aspect of transnational economic rivalry. With the cold war at an end, he warns, renegade operatives bent on enriching themselves or on avenging imagined slights may be more willing to sell out their employers. In the meantime, global traffic in trade secrets and proprietary data remains as lively as ever. Schweizer recounts, for example, how such stateside enterprises as Celanese, GE, IBM, Intel, Norton, and Texas Instruments have been victimized by overseas competitors (Hitachi, Mitsubishi, Siemens, etc.) willing to engage in practices that go against the US grain--i.e., to pay turncoats or professional snoops for inside information. The author also discloses the disturbing extent to which South Korea, France, Germany, Israel, Japan, and other of America's putative allies use the Freedom of Information Act to gain access to valuable industrial, political, scientific, and technological intelligence. Implying that the US should put agents no longer needed to contain the USSR at the partial disposal of its private sector, Schweizer recommends that Washington formulate and institute a comprehensive counterintelligence policy. While it's doubtful that an open society like ours will go to the lengths proposed here, Schweizer does offer a tellingly detailed rundown on a clear and present danger that's overdue for systematic attention. The absorbing if graceless text has photos- -not seen.

Pub Date: Feb. 25th, 1993
ISBN: 0-87113-497-7
Page count: 320pp
Publisher: Atlantic Monthly
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1st, 1993


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