Friendly Spies: How America's Allies Are Using Economic Espionage to Steal Our Secrets

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Friendly Spies: How America's Allies Are Using Economic Espionage to Steal Our Secrets

By Peter Schweizer
Atlantic Monthly Press, 1993
342 pp. $22.00
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Economic espionage? It is impossible not to fall back on a version of that hackneyed line from the film Casablanca: "I am shocked, shocked to find that there is gambling going on here." Of course America's allies spy on its government, firms, and private citizens. The United States returns the compliment, although the federal government's legalistic punctilio about sharing such information with industry exceeds that of most if not all other countries. As in the case of all intelligence literature, one wonders how many of the details mustered by the author would hold up to scholarly inquiry. Furthermore, many of the stories here are old hat. And in some cases Schweizer's outrage seems rather forced, implying dastardliness in the perfectly normal (if unlovely) activities of governments scrounging for information. Even so, he has written an engrossing, sobering, and generally plausible book. Commercial espionage is big business, and that alone makes this book one of the most valuable works thus far on intelligence after the Cold War.

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