Title: The Pretender
Author: Marc Ruskin
Ruskin, Marc (2017). The Pretender: My Life Undercover for the FBI. New York: Thomas Dunne
Date Posted: April 27, 2017
Reviewed in The Intelligencer
Special Agent Ruskin was one of the Bureau’s best undercover agents. During the 1990s and early 2000s, he worked numerous long and short-term cases investigating instances of fraud, public corruption, corporate maleficence, violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, narcotic trafficking, counterfeiting, and “false flag” operations.
During a long and dynamic career, Ruskin’s undercover work led to successful prosecutions of such varied defendants as international terrorists, members of La Cosa Nostra, and extortionist rabbis. Often working three or four cases at a time, Ruskin was constantly switching identities and always had to be sure that his ID, clothing, and frame of mind matched the role he was about to play.
Ruskin lays out the details of how the right agent is chosen for a UC job, how a bogus identity is carefully manufactured and “backstopped” to withstand scrutiny, and the means by which cases are painstakingly assembled over many months.
 Reviewed in The Intelligencer: Journal of U.S. Intelligence Studies (22, 3, Winter 2016-17, p. 135).