If Duane Clarridge’s antics sound like something from a paperback thriller, maybe it’s because he’s given his reports to author and frequent Glenn Beck guest Brad Thor, as well as Fox News’ former Marine Oliver North. After leaving the CIA more than two decades ago, Clarridge runs a private network of spies in Afghanistan and Pakistan, distributing reports that are an amalgam of uncorroborated fact and rumor. At one point, he had the ear of the Pentagon. Clarridge got a contract with the Pentagon in 2009 after a senior Defense Department official, now the subject of a criminal investigation, rebranded Clarridge’s activities as “atmospheric information” to get around a Pentagon ban on hiring private contractors as spies. He’s tried to discredit Ahmed Waliki Karzai and he once planned to collect beard trimmings from Afghan President Hamid Karzai in an attempt to prove he was a heroin addict and then blackmail him into compliance. The U.S. has or is working with both Karzais; Clarridge’s plots aren’t always in line with U.S. foreign policy. Clarridge has a long history of operating in the murky areas of foreign policy, notably in 1991, when he was indicted for lying to Congress about his role in the Iran-Contra scandal, though he was pardoned by President George H.W. Bush.