November 19, 2004

Spies Like Us

Stories about amateur spies—regular people who spy on other regular people, and the consequences of their spying.


Host Ira Glass talks to This American Life contributing editor Jack Hitt about the time he hacked into his employer's computer and found out what he didn't want to know. (6 minutes)
Act One

The Lobbyist

When Burt Covit was programming his VCR one day, he accidentally tuned in to a channel showing the lobby of a building. He started to watch, and couldn't stop. Then a mysterious woman appeared, wearing a pill-box hat. Burt told this story on the CBC radio program Wiretap. Jonathan Goldstein, a contributing editor to This American Life, is the host of Wiretap. This story is a work of fiction, staged as a radio interview. (12 minutes)

Act Two

Life With The Haters

Writer Beth Lisick decides to try a new strategy to get her infant to sleep better, and buys a baby monitor as part of the deal. Soon, she's hearing her neighbors make drug deals over the monitor's frequency. And then she learns some other, more complicated information. (15 minutes)
Act Three

Mystery Shoppers

They are ordinary people who go undercover in coffee shops and chain stores, spying for The Man. This American Life producer Lisa Pollak reports. (12 minutes)


“Town With No Secrets” by Mark Mallman
Act Four

Stop Bugging Me

What do you do when you think your apartment is being bugged? You call the apartment de-buggers. It's a weird job; still, someone's got to do it. This American Life producer Jane Feltes goes on a counterespionage mission. (10 minutes)