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

Anyone who believes that the break-up of the former Soviet Union has ended the need for the American intelligence network should read this book. The United States still needs its intelligence network to maintain a vigil against the type of activities author Peter Schweizer has written about. These espionage operations are being carried out against the United States by countries normally identified as allies--nations such as Japan, Germany, France, Israel, and South Korea. Friendly Spies is not cheap paperback fiction but the real story--the intelligence war on the economic battlefield--and the glimpse the author provides is quite unsettling.

Although some of the cases cited in the book involve defense-related industries, the majority involve U.S. corporations with concentrations in high-technology fields. These are not simple industrial thefts but extremely sophisticated, well-orchestrated espionage operations with the full faith and financial commitment of the foreign governments and their intelligence organizations.

After setting up the problem, the author goes on to address the obvious question: Why isn't the United States actively pursuing similar espionage activities? As Schweizer points out, the United States has not been reluctant to conduct intelligence operations when a threat to national security exists, but in the economic marketplace, such espionage operations would require major changes in the way America conducts intelligence gathering. As it is, many on Capitol Hill wish to reduce U.S. intelligence activities, not broaden them.

Schweizer also addresses issues such as morals and ethics in the business community, as well as cultural differences. He notes that nations may view activities differently.

Many espionage operations have the support of both foreign governments and their citizens. So how should the country respond to these attacks? Schweizer advocates, and rightly so, instituting laws that would make stealing technology and proprietary information a crime that would carry fines and prison sentences.

This book is convincing because Schweizer has done his homework. The book's acknowledgements read like a Who's Who of U.S. intelligence.

That is not to say that the book is without drawbacks. The lack of an index is frustrating, and although the author provided each chapter with well-researched source notes, footnotes might have tied the material together better. These are only minor problems, however, and they do not take away from the book's content. Schweizer has driven the point home, and security professionals have an obligation to ensure that his words are not ignored.

Reviewer: Michael J. Koshel is an assistant vice president-security/safety specialist with Citibank in New York City. He is a member of ASIS.

Editor's note: An article appeared in the April 11 edition of The Washington Post calling into question some of the research in this book. The author and the publisher, however, have stood by the reporting. See the July "Security Spotlight" (page 12) for details.
COPYRIGHT 1993 American Society for Industrial Security
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Copyright 1993 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Author:Koshel, Michael J.
Publication:Security Management
Article Type:Book Review
Date:Oct 1, 1993
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