Eric O'Neill: Former FBI Agent, Author of Gray Day and the Subject of Universal Studios’ feature film, Breach
In this week’s riveting episode, Marcus has a fascinating discussion with Eric O’Neill, former FBI counter-terrorism and counterintelligence operative. Eric played a major role in the arrest, conviction, and imprisonment of one of the most notorious spies in U.S. history - FBI agent Robert Hanssen - who was spying on behalf of the Soviet Union and Russia. Eric’s first-hand accounts of some of his day-to-day activities are events that movies are made of. He has written about his experiences in Gray Day: My Undercover Mission to Expose America's First Cyber Spy. Eric is also a public speaker and security expert who lectures internationally about espionage and national security, cybersecurity, fraud, corporate diligence and defense, hacking, and other topics.
In this episode you will hear:
- My job at the FBI was to go undercover. I never came out of cover.
- There were foreign intelligence officers (spies) who sometimes were some of our own who were spying for other countries.
- My father told me “You have to chase your dreams, whatever they might be.”
- I’m going to stop spies & terrorists before they kill our citizens.
- I was at Quantico [Marine Corps Training Base]. You earn it and you feel like you earned it.
- When my wife and I were dating and people would ask me what I do, I would say “I work for the Justice Department as a Geo-Political Analyst.” That would immediately end the inquiry.
- There was an instance where a high-level spy was about to be arrested, and disappear, which told us there was a mole in our intelligence community.
- The FBI went on a 22-year manhunt for a guy code-named Gray Suit, the biggest spy in U.S. history.
- Each time you go after somebody who might be the target you’re after, you give them a derivative code name.
- What made Robert Hanssen such a successful spy, is that he was a hacker. He learned how to break into computer systems.
- When the FBI had not given him the role he wanted, he volunteered his services to the Russians and gave up 2 of our top spies in Russia for no money to prove he had access. One of them was executed, and the other was sentenced to hard labor.
- Analysts are the cream of the crop in figuring out how to catch spies.
- Hanssen was the best, most notorious spy in US history. He was the Michael Jordan of the spy world. Nobody did the damage he did.
- I was always a bit of a hacker – fascinated by computer systems. Breaking security, not to steal, but so I could understand how to make them stronger.
- My mother holds the record for the most time watching the movie “Breach.”
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