The fascinating story of a young American amateur who helped the FBI bust a Russian spy in New York—sold in ten countries and in a major deal to 20th Century Fox.
For three nerve-wracking years, Naveed Jamali spied on America for the Russians, trading thumb drives of sensitive technical data for envelopes of cash, selling out his own beloved country across noisy restaurant tables and in quiet parking lots. Or so the Russians believed. In fact, this young American civilian was a covert double agent working with the FBI. The Cold War wasn’t really over. It had just gone high-tech.
How to Catch a Russian Spy is the one-of-a-kind story of how one young man’s post-college adventure became a real-life US counter-intelligence coup. He had no previous counter-espionage experience. Everything he knew about undercover work, he’d learned from Miami Vice and Magnum P.I. reruns and movies like Ronin, Spy Game, and anything with Bond or Bourne in the title. And yet, hoping to gain experience to become a Navy intelligence officer, he convinced the FBI and the Russians they could trust him. With charm, cunning, and a big load of naiveté, he matched wits with a veteran Russian military-intelligence officer who was recruiting spies on American soil, out-maneuvering the Russian spy and his secret-hungry superiors. Along the way, Jamali and his FBI handlers cast a rare light on espionage activities at the Russian Mission to the United Nations in New York and earned a solid US win in the escalating hostilities between Moscow and Washington.
Now, Jamali reveals the whole engaging story behind his double-agent adventure—from coded signals on Craigslist to the Russian spy’s propensity for Hooters’ Buffalo wings. Cinematic, news-breaking, and wildly entertaining, How to Catch a Russian Spy is an armchair spy fantasy brought to life. Film rights sold to 20th Century Fox for director Marc Webb (The Amazing Spider-Man, 500 Days of Summer).
“Suspenseful and often uproarious…How to Catch a Russian Spy offers a rare opportunity to share in the intensity, fear and adrenaline rush of working as a double agent, trying to take down a cagey and skilled operative for the world’s most notorious and ruthless gangster regime. Without any formal training, Jamali soon discovers he has all the essential tools of a good undercover: intuition,curiosity, and a jazz-like ability to improvise on the spot. Indeed, by going ‘off-script’ – both in the way he veers from his parents’ conventional-life expectations and by always keeping his adversary guessing – Jamali has given us one gem of a comic counter-espionage yarn.”
—Douglas Century, New York Times bestselling coauthor of Under and Alone and Takedown
“A gripping true tale of high-level espionage in which the author, Naveed Jamali, impressively displays tradecraft belying his amateur status. His stories of teaming with FBI agent handlers to doublecross Russian spies are nothing short of sensational.”
—Robert K. Wittman, former Senior Investigator of the FBI National Art Crime Team and New York Times bestselling author of Priceless and The Devil’s Diary
“So celebrated in American pop culture are the tactics of espionage that even a motivated amateur – with a talent for improvisation and a taste for Hollywood flair – can take on a real-life Russian intelligence operative, and best him at his own game.What’s most charming about this page-turning account is Naveed’s honesty about his missteps, and the joy he takes in designing deceptions that actually work. Readers will smile right along with him.”
—Lindsay Moran, bestselling author of Blowing My Cover: My Life as a CIA Spy
After his successful run as a civilian double agent, Naveed Jamali
accepted a reserve commission in the US Navy. He has spent more than a decade in technology management at a senior level. He continues to advise and speak on matters of security, counter-intelligence, and understanding the motivation to spy. A life-long New Yorker, Naveed lives in New York City with his wife and two sons. He has no intention of travelling to Russia any time soon.
is the coauthor of three New York Times bestsellers, a columnist for Newsday, and a popular television and radio commentator.