Naveed Jamali

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Naveed Jamali
Naveed A. Jamali

(1976-02-20) February 20, 1976 (age 42)
Alma materNew York University (BA, 1999)
Notable work
How to Catch a Russian Spy

Naveed Jamali (born February 20, 1976) is an American commentator on national security and former FBI asset. He works for the U.S. Department of Defense as an intelligence officer in the United States Navy Reserve. He is the author of the non-fiction book How to Catch a Russian Spy (ISBN 978-1476788821).


Jamali was born to a French mother and a Pakistani father who met attending graduate school in New York. They later opened a store in Dobbs Ferry, New York, called Books & Research, Inc., which specialized in obtaining books and documents in the pre-Internet age. Starting in 1988, they cooperated with the FBI, which was interested in Soviet (and later Russian) intelligence agents who came into the store seeking hard-to-find U.S. government documents.[1]

Jamali graduated from New York University (1999) with a degree in Political Science and Government. After 9/11, he reached out to the FBI to offer his services, as his parents were nearing retirement. He later became a double agent when a Russian GRU member named Oleg Kulikov attempted to recruit him.[1][2] The ruse lasted from 2005 to 2009, during which time Kulikov paid Jamali for what he thought were classified documents.[3] The operation ended with Jamali being "arrested" by the FBI in front of Kulikov, blowing Kulikov's cover as a diplomat in the United States.[4]

Following the operation, Jamali was sworn in to the United States Navy Reserve as an Intelligence Officer.[5] He is a contributor to MSNBC and a senior fellow at the Foreign Policy Research Institute, an American think tank.[6]

In 2015, Jamali and Ellis Henican co-wrote a book, How to Catch a Russian Spy: The True Story of an American Civilian Turned Double Agent.[1] 20th Century Fox purchased the film rights for the book; it was announced that Mark Heyman will write the screenplay with Marc Webb directing.[7]

On November 27, 2018, Jamali announced a round for the Seattle City Council, representing District 7, after the incumbent, Sally Bagshaw, announced her retirement.[8][9][10]

Personal life[edit]

Jamali is married to Ava Brent-Jamali, a biologist at Columbia University, and lives in Seattle, Washington.


  1. ^ a b c Lozada, Carlos (June 11, 2015). "How an American slacker caught a Russian spy at a New Jersey Hooters". The Washington Post. Retrieved June 3, 2017.
  2. ^ Mak, Tim (January 30, 2017). "House Intelligence Republicans Boycott Briefing From FBI's Russian Double Agent". The Daily Beast. Retrieved June 3, 2017.
  3. ^ "From Civilian To Spy: How An Average Guy Helped Bust A Russian Agent". All Things Considered. NPR. June 20, 2015. Retrieved June 3, 2017.
  4. ^ Bertrand, Natasha (April 12, 2017). "A former double agent says Russia has changed the way it recruits spies — and the FBI is playing catch-up". Business Insider. Retrieved June 3, 2017.
  5. ^ Getlen, Larry (June 14, 2015). "This ordinary Joe brought down a Russian spy at Hooters". New York Post. Retrieved June 3, 2017.
  6. ^ "Naveed Jamali". Foreign Policy Research Institute. Retrieved June 3, 2017.
  7. ^ Ford, Rebecca (February 6, 2015). "Mark Heyman to Write 'How to Catch a Russian Spy' (Exclusive)". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved June 3, 2017.
  8. ^ "Naveed Jamali on Twitter". Twitter. Retrieved 2018-11-27.
  9. ^ "Sally Bagshaw will not seek re-election to Seattle City Council". Retrieved 2018-11-27.
  10. ^ "Sally Bagshaw won't run again for Seattle City Council in 2019". The Seattle Times. 2018-11-27. Retrieved 2018-11-27.

External links[edit]