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Try as she might, Amanda Ripley can’t find a smoking gun to disparage competitive-intelligence professionals (colorfully labeled “corporate spies” and “spooks” throughout her article, “Rent-a-Spook,” 7/31). So instead, the piece is filled with dark innuendo about those professionals who help businesses to legally and ethically track the competition. Ripley, in fact, admits that likening the work of CI professionals to that of investigative journalists is “an apt comparison,” but adds, “…until you consider the motivations. Journalists are ostensibly working to inform the public. Private intelligence types are working to increase their clients’ profits.” There you have it: CI professionals, by collecting legally available information and turning it into analysis that helps businesses to compete more effectively, are aiding and abetting the free-enterprise system and (in City Paper argot) “plying their shadowy trade in the name of profit.”

Do the owners of City Paper, I wonder, share the same aversion to competitiveness and profitability?

Managing Editor

Competitive Intelligence Review

Alexandria, Va.