Episode 025: Terry Hake – Operation Greylord, Judicial Corruption (Part 2)


This episode of FBI Retired Case File Review is the second half of a two-part episode with former FBI agent Terry Hake. Terry continues his account of working undercover as a crooked defense attorney in the largest public corruption investigation in America. When the investigation—code named Operation Greylord—was initiated, Terry was a young Assistant State’s Attorney fed up with corruption in the Cook County, Illinois court system. During the investigation, he was hired by the FBI, first as a project development specialist and then as a special agent. In this episode, he also explains why, after being an employee for only seven years, he resigned from the FBI and instead continued his 23-year career in federal law enforcement at several other non-Bureau agencies.

Terry wore a concealed recording device for three-and-a-half years fully aware that he could have been jeopardizing his reputation and law career in doing so. At the conclusion of the undercover operation, Terry testified in 23 trials over a 10-year period and eighty-three judges, lawyers, court personnel and policeman were convicted for accepting bribes to fix court cases.

Terry’s recently released book—Operation Greylord: The True Story of an Untrained Undercover Agent and America’s Biggest Corruption Bust—provides a detailed narrative of his role in the undercover case.

Terrence Hake

Special Agent (Former)

2/2/81 – 2/1/88






Operation Greylord

Linked below are several newspaper articles and a video about Operation Greylord, along with an overview of the case found on the FBI website:

Investigations of Public Corruption Rooting Crookedness Out of Government

22 More Indicted In Greylord

Operation Greylord Winds Down

Operation Greylord Documentary (Video)

This is the “mini” recording device Terry used to record his conversations with judges, other lawyers, and bagmen during Operation Greylord. It was approximately the size of a thick iPhone. Interesting trivia: Nagra means “[it] will record” in Polish.












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Terry was sworn in as a special agent in a garage while still working undercover with Operation Greylord.









Terry’s true crime book Operation Greylord: The True Story of an Untrained Undercover Agent and America’s Biggest Corruption Bust can be purchased here and at other local and online bookstores.
















Jerri Williams

View posts by Jerri Williams
Jerri Williams, a retired FBI agent, author and podcaster, jokes that she writes about the FBI to relive her glory days. After 26 years with the Bureau specializing in major economic fraud and corruption investigations, she calls on her professional encounters with scams and schemers to write police procedurals inspired by true crime FBI cases in her Philadelphia FBI Corruption Squad crime fiction series featuring flawed female FBI agent Kari Wheeler. Jerri’s FBI for Armchair Detectives nonfiction series enables readers to discover who the FBI is and what the FBI does by debunking misconceptions about the FBI in books, TV, and movies. Her books are available as ebooks, paperbacks, and audiobooks wherever books are sold. She’s also the host of FBI Retired Case File Review, a true crime podcast with more than 200 episodes available for free subscription on all popular podcast apps.

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