Better than any book typed this quickly has a right to be ... a concise yet substantive account of how the F.B.I. works, at a moment when its procedures and impartiality are under attack. It’s an unambiguous indictment of Trump’s moral behavior ... a rapid-fire G-man memoir ... patriotic and oddly stirring. It has moments of opacity, where you feel he is holding back at crucial moments, but it is filled with disturbingly piquant details ... if McCabe has made mistakes, his basic decency shines through in this memoir.
Definitely worth the read. The Threat is not just another exercise in score-settling, although there is plenty of that ... should leave the reader worried that our cold civil war is taking its toll on the US and its institutions.
A startling portrait that suggests that the Trump administration’s reputation for baseness and dysfunction has, if anything, been understated and too narrowly attributed to the president ... insightful and occasionally provocative ... overall, the book isn’t the comprehensive account McCabe was presumably capable of delivering. He seems reluctant to reveal details about his role in conflicts at key moments, rarely shedding meaningful new light on areas of the Trump-Russia-FBI timeline established by Mueller, news organizations and previous authors ... McCabe is a keen observer of detail, particularly when it comes to the president’s pettiness ... One of the most frustrating aspects of The Threat is that it steers around scenes where McCabe might have provided more detail or insight.
... [McCabe provides] extensive and detailed descriptions... of the crisis atmosphere in the FBI and the larger Justice Department following Comey's firing ... But [McCabe's] book is about far more than [Comey's firing], as he remained at the FBI for another 10 months after Comey's departure and was in frequent conflict with the president ... reading through McCabe's 262-page memoir suggests McCabe's critics may wish to proceed with caution. Any attempt to make him a pariah or impugn his integrity will need to deal with his extraordinary degree of preparation for what is about to come his way ... Later [McCabe] recounts how the bureau's focus shifted after the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, and how its resources were reallocated to that threat ... But we have had more than a few books on these subjects, and McCabe eventually returns to the threat he clearly wants to alert the nation to nowMcCabe's portrait of the Trump administration and of the president himself is as alarming as any we have seen so far — including those of journalists such as Bob Woodward and former staff such as Cliff Sims.
The Threat is filled with examples, some familiar, some new, of Mr. Trump’s breaches of propriety and historical norms, lies, mean-spirited behavior and, most important, his interference with investigations, indictments and prosecutions by the Justice Department and Special Counsel Robert Mueller ... Some readers, no doubt, will dismiss The Threat as an exercise in score settling ... That said, The Threat should be judged by the credibility (and, where possible, corroboration) of the analysis ... And Mr. McCabe provides evidence to support his assertion that the president is 'actively pushing' an agenda that encourages his supporters to identify themselves as 'the real Americans,' stigmatize others and seek to lock them up, and accept as 'facts' only information that is presented by their media outlets ... Mr. McCabe 'would love to imagine a future in which we have righted the ship.' But other than endorsing traditional values — obedience to the Constitution, fairness, compassion, individual and institutional integrity, accountability, public service and diversity — he comes up empty.
But this is so much more than the airing of a personal vendetta (though it’s also that). McCabe brings readers along as he gets the urge to join the FBI and undergoes the intense training, and then he offers an almost 'you-are-there' account of the stress that working cases like the Boston Marathon bombing puts on an agent ... Most important, this book is a primer on how the FBI works and why its independence is an essential part of the American justice system ... McCabe’s pride in process seems almost quaint, considering the times, but the case he makes for maintaining norms is both solid and thoughtful. Significantly, he doesn’t hesitate to acknowledge mistakes, like the Comey press conference on the Clinton emails.
We see in [Mccabe's] book the difference between the act-at-any-moment, constantly-facing-lethal-danger hero that McCabe imagines himself to be and the reality of a politicized FBI marked by the very bureaucratic snafus (such as the 'improper' release of information to the media) that actually led to his demise as acting director ... McCabe describes the agency’s counterterrorism division’s approach as one akin to a boy on a beach encountering a shiny pebble, then another, and yet another, while putting them all in his pocket. The FBI after 9/11 picked up one, then another, and then yet another suspect and put them all in detention. The metaphor, like all of McCabe’s clever and occasionally smarmy ripostes, hides a cruel reality. The pebbles in that case weren’t unfeeling stones but actual people, their shininess less tangible threat and more the fact of being Muslim or from South Asia or the Middle East. The lives of these 'pebbles,' who bore the cost of the FBI not knowing what it did not know about terrorism, were devastated by the long near two decades of being targeted and harassed. That fact, of course, is left out of , as is any consideration of the architecture of the Islamophobia on which Trump erected his electoral victory.
[A] polished combination career retrospective, manifesto about the FBI's value, and rebuttal to Donald Trump's smears ... laced with sharp, amusing characterizations and pleasingly idiosyncratic turns of phrase. McCabe comes off as levelheaded and principled; while his views about the 'danger' posed by digital privacy protections may put off some readers, fans of police procedurals will love his descriptions of FBI culture, and critics of the current administration will find his denouncements satisfying. This is one of the better Trump-related tell-alls.