The Original Undercover Boss

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Throughout American pop culture there exists a small group of celebrities who have claimed to – or been accused of – leading a double life as a spy or informant.

Chuck Barris, the creator of The Dating Game, has claimed to have been a CIA assassin. Celebrity chef Julia Child has been rumored to have worked for a CIA precursor called the Office of Strategic Services during World War II. Some to this day still believe that Greta Garbo spent time aiding British intelligence gathering within her native Sweden.

According to recent FBI files now being released, there's a new suspected celebrity spy to add to this list: George Steinbrenner.

According to Associated Press reports detailed in this ESPN article, the late New York Yankees owner (who was known simply as "The Boss") allegedly participated in two different secret investigations from 1978-1983 – with one of them being referred to as a “terrorism probe.”

You may ask yourself why the notoriously temperamental owner would take time off from firing managers to act as a spy. The ESPN article provides some context:

In a newly released 1988 FBI memo, the FBI said that it "supports the contention that George Steinbrenner has provided the FBI with valuable assistance."

Seven months later, Reagan pardoned Steinbrenner for his convictions in a case involving campaign donations to President Richard Nixon and other politicians.

It seems that the Yankees taught Steinbrenner the value of a good trade – whether it be swapping an outfielder for a starting pitcher, or a little bit of covert activity for an expunged criminal record.

Check out the ESPN article for more details.

May 10, 2011 - 10:40am
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