Read TIME magazine’s fascinating profile of the “for-profit spies” and “freelance mercenaries” who have become a more prominent part of the American political landscape in recent years, and you will find this interesting nugget:
The effort to destroy Hillary Clinton’s unofficial campaign occupies a spare third-floor suite amid a sea of cookie-cutter buildings in Arlington, Va. The sign on the door reads America Rising, the name of an opposition-research shop that tracks blunders by Democratic candidates and hawks the evidence to Republican campaigns.
Inside, the place has the vibe of an underfunded startup, with a cubicle farm of young researchers in denim. One Friday in January, the staff erupted in applause as executive director Tim Miller awarded a Hello Kitty–themed Chia Pet to the 20-something who unearthed a 2011 clip of embattled Democratic Senator Kay Hagan beaming alongside Barack Obama–a damaging visual in North Carolina, where Obama’s approval rating hovers around 40%. The hit drove negative headlines for 24 hours. “With complete information awareness,” Miller says later, “we can define and destroy Democrats in 2014 and beyond.”