Secrets Spilled in Private Spy Case

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Thanks to a $2 million lawsuit, we're getting the first peek ever into the world of Washington's private eyes. These are firms that not only act like mini CIAs but also work with the feds and even rogue nations to dig up secrets and lies. The case features a prominent author and TV pundit on terrorism issues, Neil Livingstone, who recently quit the firm he founded to start another. Now he's being sued by his old investigative outfit, GlobalOptions, which thinks Livingstone is stealing customers for his new gig, ExecutiveAction. He denies the charge. It's a complicated case, and some of the details are eye-popping. Consider the clients the two discuss: a firm owned by the daughter of Uzbekistan's strongman president; one secretively dubbed "Project M"; and the feuding family of Sumner Redstone, chair of Viacom. Then there's the money involved. Livingstone's salary at GlobalOptions was $260,000. And in less than two months this year alone, Livingstone says, he paid his ex-firm $1,415,000 for helping him on some cases. No wonder neither side chose to talk.