A journalist who wrote an article revealing the exploitation of migrant workers building a New York University campus in Abu Dhabi, as well as a professor quoted in the story, have become targets of a private investigator working for a mysterious secret client, reports the New York Times. The investigator, Loren Berger of New York, has been making inquiries about the NYU professor, Andrew Ross, and the reporter, Ariel Kaminer, who wrote the story for the Times last year. Berger said she did not know the identity of her client.
“The university has no knowledge of this and no involvement,” John Beckman, an NYU spokesman, said in a statement. “It's reprehensible and offensive on its face, and we call on whoever is involved to desist immediately.” An embassy spokesman for the United Arab Emirates, which has a record of striking back at those critical of migrant labor conditions there, did not respond to inquiries. On Jan. 29, Berger called Susan Fraiman, a professor of English at the University of Virginia who had written critically about some of Professor Ross's academic work. Berger “said something like, 'We're looking for people to comment negatively,' ” Fraiman recalled.