Economics/Class Relations

Inside an FBI spy hunter’s double life

January 27, 2023
Hello, Insiders. We’ve been exploring homeownership in the remote-work era, including the surge of people moving to Florida, the rise of Zoomtowns, and the state of real-estate investing. But today, I want to take a look at the buzziest sector in real-estate: proptech.

Many of the tech startups and big firms that digitize buying and selling homes are struggling. In the frothy days of 2021, investors pumped $32 billion into proptech. But the harsh reality set in: The same pandemic that had brought opportunity triggered supply shortages and inflation, and interest rates soared.

What this means: Opendoor has cut jobs. Its CEO said the company’s algorithm couldn’t predict the market shifting so quickly. Compass is reeling from a horrible year, from financial losses to tech troubles to mass layoffs. At least 58 companies in proptech and other real-estate sectors have shed jobs — see our rolling list.

I’ll be sharing your real-estate notes tomorrow. But let’s get to today’s stories.

— Nicholas Carlson

If this was forwarded to you, sign up here.
The latest
  • Five police officers have been charged with murder in Tyre Nichols’ death. Here’s what’s going on.
  • BuzzFeed plans to use OpenAI to write stories. The company’s stock skyrocketed more than 200% on the news. What to know. Plus, we asked ChatGPT to write a BuzzFeed-style listicle — see how it went.
  • Kevin McCarthy lashed out at reporters when asked why he hadn’t punished George Santos. Here’s what happened.
The big story
Michael M. Santiago, Frédéric Soltan, Kirill Kudryavtsev/GettyImages; Arif Qazi/Insider;
Inside the extramarital affair and cash-fueled double life of an FBI spy hunter charged with taking Russian money.

Charles F. McGonigal was no ordinary FBI agent. He led the WikiLeaks investigation into Chelsea Manning. He even played a role in opening the probe into the Trump campaign’s Russia contacts.

And in his final job at the FBI, it was his responsibility to find enemy spies and recruit his own. But Insider’s Mattathias Schwartz has breathtaking exclusive reporting on the dangerous double life McGonigal is accused of leading during this role — both professionally and through an extramarital affair — right under the noses of some of the sharpest cops in America.

McGonigal now faces criminal charges: money laundering, making false statements in mandatory disclosures to the FBI, and taking money from someone representing a Russian oligarch who he had once himself investigated.

“Charlie McGonigal knew everybody in the national security and law-enforcement world,” his ex-lover told Insider. “He fooled them all.”


Top reads

Claire Turrell


  • “I’m a general manager on a $450 million cruise ship.” Alessandro Menegazzi is a manager on the Regent Seven Seas Explorer. He told Insider what it’s like to work, live, and travel the world aboard a “floating five-star hotel.” Find out more.
  • An ex-Googler of 11 years and his wife were axed by the tech giant. The couple were victims of Friday’s mass cull. Ashish Kalsi said he and his wife stared at each other in “disbelief” that morning as their daughter slept. More here.
  • Jeff Bezos’ partner, Lauren Sánchez, said she was rejected as a flight attendant because of her weight. The media personality said that’s why she ended up becoming a pilot. Read the full story.
  • “I’ve worked remotely from 15 different countries.” Rhiannon Cook has worked in Kenya, Thailand, Italy, and a dozen other countries. The lessons she’s learned, and what she’d never do again.
  • Now may be a great time to score your dream home. Mortgage rates are dipping lower and desperate sellers are willing to accept most offers. Why now may be the time to act.
  • New Mexico is leading the fight against America’s childcare crisis. New Mexico has become the first state to dedicate permanent funding for childcare. Experts say the rest of the US can learn a lot from the “Land of Enchantment.” Get the full story.
  • McDonald’s president slammed a proposal to raise wages for fast-food workers. Joe Erlinger, who made about $7.4 million last year, said the proposal to pay workers $22 an hour was “costly and job-destroying.” More here.
Take a look
Laura Casado/Insider
“I stayed at the worst-rated hotel in New York City.” Insider’s Laura Casado spent a night at the Bowery Grand Hotel in downtown Manhattan. With prices starting from $53 a night, let’s just say you get what you pay for. See inside one of NYC’s cheapest hotels.
Watch this

Sometimes, that car or motorcycle stunt you see in a movie isn’t what it appears to be. Thanks to the movie magic enabled by companies like NAC Effects, rigs and gimbals are used to fake vehicle stunts — and often look better than real action. Experts told us how they pull it off.


Can’t get enough of Insider?

This edition was curated by Nicholas Carlson and edited by Hallam Bullock, Lisa Ryan, Dave Smith, Nathan Rennolds, and Kevin Kaplan. Get in touch:


Leave a Reply