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New Report Reveals the Extent Iran and China Use Private Detectives to Spy on Dissidents in America


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The Foreign Desk

Elliot Nazar

November 16, 2022

In new report published by the New York Times revealed how the governments of Iran and China have been using private detectives to spy on dissidents in America.

According to the report, 71-year-old Michael Mc Keever, a private investigator in New York, received a request to track down a debtor who had fled from Dubai and was believed to be in Brooklyn. McKeever was assigned to watch a house and photograph the people coming and going. “Kindly be discreet as they are on the lookout,” he was told.

However, when McKeever started his task, the FBI warned him that his clients were “bad people and are up to no good.”

The private investigator would later learn that he had been used by Iranian intelligence agents in a suspected plot to kidnap Masih Alinejad, a prominent Iranian journalist living in New York who has openly criticized Iran’s human rights abuses, discrimination against women, and imprisonment and torture of political opponents.

According to the former head of the FBI’s counterintelligence and cyber division in New York, James E. Dennehy, the agency was “afraid they were going to look to snatch and grab her, bring her home and probably kill her.” 

Throughout the U.S., investigators are hired by a new kind of client — authoritarian governments like Iran and China attempting to surveil, harass, threaten, and even repatriate dissidents living lawfully on American soil, law enforcement officials said.


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