In Operation Shakespeare, investigative journalist John Shiffman traces a high-risk undercover operation launched by an elite undercover Homeland Security unit created to stop the Iranians, Russians, Chinese, Pakistanis, and North Koreans from acquiring sophisticated American-made electronics capable of guiding missiles, jamming radar, and triggering countless weapons - from wireless IEDs to nuclear bombs. The U.S. agents must outwit not only enemy brokers but also American manufacturers and global bankers who are too willing to put profit over national security. The three-year sting climaxes when the U.S. agents lure the Iranian broker to a former Soviet republic with the promise of American-made radar, fighter-jet, and missile components, then secretly drag him back to the United States, where he is held in secret for two years. The laptop the Iranian carries into the sting provides the CIA with a virtual road map to Tehran's clandestine effort to obtain U.S. military technology.
©2014 John Shiffman (P)2014 Tantor
This is a well-told and highly relevant exploration of the shadowy world of black market arms trading, focussing on one particular case. It was so well written, it puts the issue of stealing high-tech military secrets and hardware front and center as an important issue of our time. The technical details are easy to handle, set amongst the rich characters and riveting storyline. Apparently, it is going to be adapted into a movie, but I highly recommend reading it anyway, as the minor characters and rich contextual details won't make it into that format. Most exciting, scary and fascinating book I've read for ages. It fits well with Manhunt: the Ten Year Search for Bin Laden by Peter Bergen, as they both cover enormously relevant recent history through recounting the capture of one individual. Excellent storytelling of real, but covert, events.
While the core story here is about a sting operation related to arms sales, the author provides additional information about how US defense contractors frequently break American law by knowingly selling arms to the bad guys.
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