American Hustle is a captivating cinematic take-off on the FBI’s undercover Abscam investigation into political corruption. Leslie – who broke the story in The New York Times in 1980 and produced numerous exclusives on the FBI’s activities – writes about the movie and the actual operation in the latest issue of the University of Chicago Magazine. Click here to read the piece: The University of Chicago Magazine: American Hustle and Me.
Through links below, you can access a number of Leslie’s original stories on the controversial sting operation aimed at corruption in Congress. The rest of her extensive Abscam coverage is available online through the archives of The New York Times.
Click here for Leslie’s analysis of the case in The New York Times Magazine of July 25, 1982.
New York Times: “At the Heart of the Abscam Debate”
Click here for the first piece that made Abscam headlines across the nation in 1980.
New York Times: “High Officials are Termed Subjects of a Bribery Investigation by the FBI”
Click here to read about the conflict that raged among Federal prosecutors over the FBI’s Abscam tactics and the question of entrapment.
New York Times: “Entrapment Issue Splits Prosecutors In Abscam Actions”
Click here for an exclusive account of how a wily con man used inside knowledge of Abscam to run a private sting, bilking thousands of dollars from private citizens.
New York Times: “Informer for FBI Suspected of Using Abscam in Swindles”
Click here to read criticism of the FBI’s Abscam informant, Mel Weinberg, as presented to the Senate Select Committee that held hearings on undercover operations in 1982.
New York Times: “F.B.I. Is Criticized on Its Informant”
Click here to read how comedy and danger were mingled in the actual Abscam operation, which relied on the use of a bogus Arab sheik, not unlike the movie version.
New York Times: “In Abscam Inquiry, Comedy And Danger Were Mingled”