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Pre-Order Gray Day: My Undercover Mission to Expose America’s First Cyberspy by Eric ONeill

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Eric ONeill wrote an autobiography about how he caught Russian spy Robert Hanssen for the FBI

Pre-Order Gray Day: My Undercover Mission to Expose America’s First Cyberspy by Eric ONeill

Gray Day: My Undercover Mission to Expose America's First Cyber Spy by Eric O'Neill

My friend Eric ONeill finally wrote a first-person book, Gray Day: My Undercover Mission to ExposeAmerica’s First Cyberspy,  about his time as an FBI agent and how he took down a mole in the FBI who was feeding secrets to the Russians from 1979 to 2001. Today is the 18th year anniversary of the day "Hanssen was arrested on February 18, 2001, at Foxstone Park near his home in Vienna, Virginia, charged with selling American secrets to Russia for $1.4 million in cash and diamonds over a 22-year period" ending "possibly the worst intelligence disaster in US history."

While Eric and I used to be chums, I'll just call us friends now. He's a charming, brilliant, friendly, and extremely confident man who was the subject of the 2007 movie about his intrigue for the FBI, Breach, with Chris Cooper as Robert Hanssen, Ryan Phillippe as Eric O'Neill, and the painfully beautiful Laura Linney as Katherine "Kate" Burroughs.

Here's the announcement that Eric sent via email to his friends and family (I got approval from him to share this)

Family and Friends,

I wrote a book!

My book is titled Gray Day: My Undercover Mission to ExposeAmerica’s First Cyberspy.  My official publication date is March 26, 2019 by Crown Books.  The book is available now, and I am hoping that you will pre-order a copy and spread the word wide and far.  Please forward this email. I’m very proud of this, my first book, and I hope you will help make it a success. 

I chose today to make a formal announcement because February 18 marks the 18th anniversary of Robert Hanssen’s arrest.  You may recall that my final big case at the FBI was to work undercover in room 9930 at FBI Headquarters to catch the spy.  Gray Day is the story of how we caught Hanssen, written from my first person narrative perspective.  I tell a thrilling story of what it took to catch the famed Russian spy and what the case took from me.  I was a newlywed when I accepted the undercover role.  The difficulties Juliana and overcame in the first few months of our marriage are a key theme in the book.

Imbedded in the spy story is a cautionary tale of how the United States allowed Russia to become dominant in cyberespionage--and how we might begin to catch up.  If you are wondering why I’ve been saying that “there are no hackers, there are only spies” for the last ten years, this book explains my theory neatly. If you’d like to learn more about cybersecurity and cyberattacks, but and want to learn while immersed in what critics have called “a tension-packed stew of power, paranoia, and psychological manipulation,” this is the book for you. 

Gray Day is available directly from the links at Crown’s website – or from anywhere books are sold.  I even recorded the audiobook if that is your thing.

I will be on tour the week of the book release (March 25 until the 31st). There will be a launch party at the SpyScape museum in NYC on the 26th and I’ll be hosting a book signing at Politics and Prose in Washington DC on the 31st.  We are also finalizing an event at the brand new Spy Museum once it officially opens.  Please let me know if you would like to come to any of these events.

All my best into the coming year,



Praise for Gray Day:

Eric Michael O'Neill is an American former FBI counter-terrorism and counterintelligence operative. He worked and was entitled as an Investigative Specialist with the Special Surveillance Group“If Robert Ludlum spitballed an espionage story with a Russian hacker, they might have conjured up with something as wild and riveting as GRAY DAY. Except that this yarn, incredibly, is true. An enthralling spy tale that feels ever more relevant with each passing day.” 
–Dave Howard, author of Chasing Phil: The Adventures of Two Undercover Agents with the World’s Most Charming Con Man
“What job could possibly be twisty, mind-bending, and demanding than being an undercover spy in one of the FBI’s own cybersecurity units?  With resolute doggedness, shrewd psychological instincts, and the sheer guts to make critical split-second decisions, rookie agent Eric O’Neill helped to turn the tables on his own boss—one of the most dangerous traitors of our time.  In GRAY DAY he weaves together his personal and professional stories with all the skills of a seasoned novelist.  The result is a thrilling, page-turning brew worthy of Hollywood—only better because it’s real.”
–Elisabeth Elo, author of Finding Katarina M
Gray Day is both a real-live tension packed thriller, and a persuasive argument for traditional intelligence work in the information age.”
–Bruce Schneier, New York Times bestselling author of Data and Goliath and Click Here to Kill Everybody
Gray Day is a fascinating read about catching infamous spymaster Robert Hanssen, who turned over classified materials to the Russians. You can’t help but root for Eric as he tells his story of spying on the spymaster. I recommend this gripping book to all audiences, especially computer geeks and those interested in cybersecurity.”
–Kevin Mitnick, New York Times bestselling author of Ghost in the Wires and The Art of Invisiblity

“An adrenaline-laced memoir…as compulsively readable as any thriller. O’Neill has a knack for ratcheting up tension so that foregone historical conclusions, such as Hanssen’s capture, feel like white-knuckle cliffhangers…O’Neill’s page-turner deglamorizes undercover work while conveying the uncertainty, stress, and excitement that accompany a successful investigation.”
–Publishers Weekly

“O’Neill’s narrative…is valuable in its exploration of the psychology of the traitor and his motivations as well as how spies like Hanssen so often enjoy success for as long as they do until finally caught: ‘Amateurs may hack machines, but professionals hack people.’ Fans of spy fiction and true crime will find plenty to enjoy in O’Neill’s account.”
–Kirkus Reviews

About the Book

A cybersecurity expert and former FBI “ghost” tells the thrilling story of how he helped take down notorious FBI mole Robert Hanssen, the first Russian cyber spy.

Eric O’Neill was only twenty-six when he was tapped for the case of a lifetime: a one-on-one undercover investigation of the FBI’s top target, a man suspected of spying for the Russians for nearly two decades, giving up nuclear secrets, compromising intelligence, and betraying US assets. With zero training in face-to-face investigation, Eric found himself in a windowless, high-security office in the newly formed Information Assurance Section, tasked officially with helping the FBI secure its outdated computer system against hackers and spies–and unofficially with collecting evidence against his new boss, Robert Hanssen, an exacting and rage-prone veteran agent with a disturbing fondness for handguns. In the months that follow, Eric’s self-esteem and young marriage unravel under the pressure of life in Room 9930, and he questions the very purpose of his mission. But as Hanssen outmaneuvers an intelligence community struggling to keep up with the new reality of cybersecurity, he also teaches Eric the game of spycraft. Eric will just have to learn to outplay his teacher if he wants to win.

A tension-packed stew of power, paranoia, and psychological manipulation, Gray Day is also a cautionary tale of how the United States allowed Russia to become dominant in cyberespionage–and how we might begin to catch up.

Gray Day: My Undercover Mission to Expose America's First Cyber Spy Hardcover – March 26, 2019by Eric O'Neill

Feb 18, 2019 11:55 AM