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Spies for Hire: The Secret World of Intelligence Outsourcing
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Spies for Hire: The Secret World of Intelligence Outsourcing

3.66  ·  Rating details ·  158 ratings  ·  16 reviews
In Spies for Hire, investigative reporter Tim Shorrock lifts the veil off a major story the government doesn't want us to know about - the massive outsourcing of top secret intelligence activities to private-sector contractors. Starting during the Clinton administration, when intelligence budgets were cut drastically and privatization of government services became national ...more
Hardcover, 448 pages
Published May 6th 2008 by Simon & Schuster
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Jun 16, 2013 rated it really liked it
Most of us, most of the time, are sheep. Sadly, we don't realize we're being marched to the slaughterhouse until we actually reach the door. Our lack of awareness. Our lack of curiosity. Our collective apathy. Unless we evolve to be more skeptical and watchful, we will not be effective stewards over any representative republic, let alone over an actual democracy.

Many of our unsurprisingly apathetic citizens seem to believe that Shorrock is raising the alarm about something that isn't important.
Jan 20, 2015 rated it really liked it
With stories of the NSA surveillance program making the news those interested in finding out about its origins and how the expanding Intelligence-Industrial complex has built the surveillance state we’re familiar with today should give Tim Shorrock’s ‘Spies for Hire’ a read. Tracing the history of this relationship through the middle of the 1980s when more than just a handful of companies were dabbling in government intelligence contracts to the enormous push for privatization in the wake of 9/1 ...more
Oct 11, 2009 rated it did not like it
This book does not have any truly surprising conclusions, and in parts cites unreliable sources. Often it seems as if the book is saying "We have a lot of contractors working for the government! That's shocking, right? Right? Well, I think it's shocking! You should too!" In parts the author definitely adds 2+2 and gets 10. What could have been an interesting book, perhaps even with interviews with contractors who have served in the positions he is writing about, there is simply a lot of guess wo ...more
Pete Zilla
May 09, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: intelligence
A well researched outside look at the contract intel community. The author did the best with what information was available to him in the public domain but in some ways only scratched the surface. I doubt those familiar with the community will be surprised by anything in this book, but I enjoyed learning the history of these contract companies and how we got to where we are today. I do think there is far more oversight over contractors and the intel community than the author asserts, but I have ...more
Eva Lacy
Dec 09, 2019 rated it liked it
Thorough but laborious
Mark Cichonski
This book is very interesting. It lays out the facts very well. The general gist is that by subcontracting out the intelligence business, the government loses the ability to provide oversight. In addition, it allows the government to do bad things, like violate our civil rights. Besides the fact that Mr. Shorrock and myself are on opposite sides of the politial spectrum, I agree with many parts of his analysis. However, there are some underlying themes that I do not care for. One is that if you ...more
Aug 10, 2013 rated it liked it
If you were wondering how a private contractor Snowden or a lowly Private Manning could get access to top secret military or intelligence information this will help explain how our governmental alphabet soup of agencies (CIA, FBI, DIA, DEA, etc.) relies on private contractors for our intelligence gathering from cyber-spying to boots on the ground, up close and personal spying. The federal government has been woefully slow in keeping up with the advances in the use of computers and cyberspace, an ...more
Barry Eisler
Feb 24, 2011 rated it it was amazing
This is the book that Dana Priest and William Arkin forgot to credit in their big Washington Post series on Top Secret America. Shorrock got there first, deeper, and more comprehensively, and anyone who wants to understand the causes and effects of the corporatization of America's military, intelligence, and security functions should read this excellent book. ...more
Jun 26, 2009 rated it it was ok
The history is good in the book. However, if you didn't come into the book already believing that the outsourcing of the IC is, prima facie, a bad thing. If you don't believe that, however, the argument won't compel you. ...more
Mar 07, 2010 rated it it was ok
A detailed but badly written account of the state of information technology contracting in the intel community and DOD. Based on my experience Shorrock's book is directionally correct. This is a topic that should get more attention in my opinion and hopefully it will. ...more
Paul moved to LibraryThing
It's well researched and comprehensive (from the business perspective - it glosses over any technology) but written in a needlessly verbose and repetitive way. This book could be half as short without cutting any information. ...more
Jul 30, 2011 rated it liked it
Made me want to apply for intel career. Supposed to outrage, I got a "meh" out of it. ...more
Dec 01, 2009 rated it it was amazing
God damn I thought I knew everything I needed to know about Beltway Banditry but then this book came in and changed everything - a real look inside the revolving door of government contracting!
Jul 02, 2008 rated it liked it
An excellent top-level view of the outsourced intelligence industry.
May 14, 2008 marked it as to-read
As heard on "Fresh Air" on WYPR. ...more
Jeff Brailey
Aug 25, 2008 rated it it was ok
Not my cup of tea.
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Kevin Currie
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Demetrius Mercado
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Aug 23, 2013
Nicholas Nezis
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Feb 11, 2013
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Alex K.
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Nov 07, 2010
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Apr 24, 2013
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Gabor Szalai
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Marcel Brussee
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Tim Shorrock on WHYY 6/21/13 re NSA, Snowden 1 1 Jun 21, 2013 07:31AM  

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