The Informant

Title: The Informant: A True Story
Published by: Broadway Books
Release Date: July 3, 2001
Pages: 656
ISBN13: 978-0767903271
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From an award-winning New York Times investigative reporter comes an outrageous story of greed, corruption, and conspiracy—which left the FBI and Justice Department counting on the cooperation of one man...

It was one of the FBI's biggest secrets: a senior executive with America's most politically powerful corporation, Archer Daniels Midland, had become a confidential government witness, secretly recording a vast criminal conspiracy spanning five continents. Mark Whitacre, the promising golden boy of ADM, had put his career and family at risk to wear a wire and deceive his friends and colleagues. Using Whitacre and a small team of agents to tap into the secrets at ADM, the FBI discovered the company's scheme to steal millions of dollars from its own customers. But as the FBI and federal prosecutors closed in on ADM, using stakeouts, wiretaps, and secret recordings of illegal meetings around the world, they suddenly found that everything was not all that it appeared. At the same time Whitacre was cooperating with the Feds while playing the role of loyal company man, he had his own agenda he kept hidden from everyone around him—his wife, his lawyer, even the FBI agents who had come to trust him with the case they had put their careers on the line for. Whitacre became sucked into his own world of James Bond antics, imperiling the criminal case and creating a web of deceit that left the FBI and prosecutors uncertain where the lies stopped and the truth began. In this gripping account unfolds one of the most captivating and bizarre tales in the history of the FBI and corporate America.

Meticulously researched and richly told by New York Times senior writer Kurt Eichenwald, The Informant re-creates the drama of the story, beginning with the secret recordings, stakeouts, and interviews with suspects and witnesses to the power struggles within ADM and its board—including the high-profile chairman Dwayne Andreas, F. Ross Johnson, and Brian Mulroney—to the big-gun Washington lawyers hired by ADM and on up through the ranks of the Justice Department to FBI Director Louis Freeh and Attorney General Janet Reno.

A page-turning real-life thriller that features deadpan FBI agents, crooked executives, idealistic lawyers, and shady witnesses with an addiction to intrigue, The Informant tells an important and compelling story of power and betrayal in America.


"RANKS WITH A Civil Action AS ONE OF THE BEST NONFICTION BOOKS OF THE LAST DECADE...A story that time and again had me turning to my wife and saying things like "No way!'' and "You've got to read this."
The New York Times Book Review

"A DILLY OF A BOOK...reads like John Grisham on acid, and once begun, you can't put it down."
—Liz Smith, in her syndicated column

The Dallas Morning News

"A spellbinding account, as much of a page-turner as a Grisham novel..”
Washington Monthly

“Jaw-dropping….there is no substitute for the kind of thorough narrative Eichenwald has assembled.”
The Boston Globe

"THE MOST RIVETING TALE OF RECENT YEARS...A NEAR MASTERPIECE...thrilling, far-reaching and significant...a fast-paced, accessible, race car of a book."

"SUSPENSEFUL...a book that can double as an attractive movie proposal."
The Washington Post

"READS LIKE AN ED MCBAIN CRIME NOVEL...within a few pages the reader is hooked. I knew how the story ended, but I still couldn't put the book down."
New York Times daily review

"A compelling narrative...a business book for Grisham readers."
The Chicago Tribune

"A thriller, filled with espionage double crosses and deceit, where nothing is quite what it first seems."

"A real page-turner."
—Ira Glass, host, This American Life

"A gripping book."
—Arianna Huffington, Los Angeles Times

"GRIPPING...The Informant is a remarkable work and a compelling read...You will race through it in anger and astonishment...It's hard to imagine that this story could have a more thorough chronicler than Eichenwald...The intensity of reportage seems at times almost superhuman."

"A GRIPPING READ...Eichenwald constructs one of the most compelling business narratives since Barbarians at the Gate. The Informant offers an inside picture of a part of the corporate world that outsiders almost never see—one full of covert meetings, secret codes, and industrial espionage. Usually the pulp of airport fiction, here such shadowy doings become the stuff of sound investigative nonfiction... A great cops-and-robbers drama—leavened by occasional touches of screwball comedy...This is box-office material, and Eichenwald has written a book that reads a lot like a screenplay."
Business Week

"In this true account that has more spy action than some Tom Clancy novels we get double-crossing, dirty dealing, lying, conniving and wiretapping... The Informant is more deceitful and more spellbinding than many works of fiction."

"More plot twists than a John Grisham novel."
— (official review)

"As vivid and tense as a John Grisham novel, as pictorial as Mission Impossible IIThe Informant resembles a fine Chinese puzzle, always hiding one more layer. The plot snaps out a you like a half-starved viper.
—Barnes& (official review)

"The Informant is epic in scope, a tale of human foibles-of greed, deceit,and arrogance-and also of the search for truth. Eichenwald has told it masterfully, with the narrative drive of a novel. I guarantee it'll keep you reading late into the night."
—Jonathan Harr, A Civil Action

"The Informant is superb reporting in the service of a great story, one with the drama and suspense of a Le Carre novel. Set squarely in the American heartland, delving into the inner sanctum of a global corporation, it explores the shifting boundaries of truth and deception, loyalty and betrayal. It is a remarkable achievement."
—James B. Stewart, Den of Thieves and Blind Eye

"The twists and turns of this nonfiction work leave many thrillers in the dust. Eichenwald's spare prose and journalistic eye for detail make the pages fly."
—David Baldacci, Absolute Power and Saving Faith

"I would say The Informant reads like Grisham, only nobody ever could have invented these characters. A tale this riveting and this strange could only have been built from truth."
—Sherry Sontag, coauthor, Blind Man's Bluff