The Threat: How the FBI Protects America in the Age of Terror and Trump, by Andrew G. McCabe (St. Martin’s Press, New York, NY, 2019, 274 pages).
Book Review by Dennis Moore
March 18, 2019 (San Diego) - Andrew G. McCabe, former Deputy Director of the FBI, has written an incisive and titillating story of America at the crossroads of history, an America that seems to be under siege by the President himself. To put this book in historical perspective, McCabe states: “The Federal Bureau of Investigation’s official mission is ‘to protect the American people and support the Constitution of the United States.”’
To read this book, it does not seem as if the mission statement of the FBI is being allowed. The author lays that at the feet of the President of the United States, Donald Trump.
On March 16, 2018, just twenty-six hours before his retirement from the organization he had served with distinction for more than two decades, Andrew G. McCabe was fired from his position as deputy director of the FBI. President Trump celebrated on Twitter: “Andrew McCabe FIRED, a great day for the hard working men and women of the FBI – A great day for Democracy.”
The Threat recounts in compelling detail the time between Donald Trump’s November 2016 election and McCabe’s firing, set against a page-turning narrative spanning two decades when the FBI’s mission shifted to a new goal: preventing terrorist attacks on Americans. But as McCabe shows, right now the greatest threat to the United States comes from within, as President Trump and his administration ignore the law, attack democratic institutions, degrade human rights, and undermine the U.S. Constitution that protects every citizen.
Important, revealing, and powerfully argued, The Threat tells the true story of what the FBI is, how it works, and why it will endure as an institution of integrity that protects America.
McCabe gives valuable insight in his book on the current state of affairs in America, as well as the workings of the FBI, as he states in The Threat: “I spent the afternoon and evening with my senior staff trying to assess and control the damage that might be done by the texts between Strzok and Page, and trying to figure out where to reassign Strzok, who had been working for Mueller’s special-counsel investigation, but who for obvious reasons we had to remove from the team. I was angry about the poor judgment that Strzok and Page had shown, and I was saddened to consider the disparagement they would now be subjected to. Strzok was a gifted investigator. Page was a gifted lawyer. I respected and trusted them both.”
A particularly revealing and poignant passage in this well written book by McCabe comes in a face to face meeting between him and President Trump, when McCabe was being interviewed in the President’s office in consideration for the replacement of FBI Director James Comey. This was after Trump had fired Comey.
McCabe states: “The president began to talk about how upset he was that Jim Comey had flown home on his government plane from Los Angeles. He wanted to know how that happened. At this, the president flew off the handle. That’s not right! I don’t approve of that! That’s wrong! He reiterated his point five or seven times.”
In this same meeting with the President, McCabe talks of an exchange between him and the president about his wife. The author states: “Finally, toward the very end of the conversation, he said, How is your wife? I said, She’s fine. He said, When she lost her election, that must have been tough to lose. I replied, I guess it’s tough to tough to lose anything. But she’s rededicated herself to her career and her job and taking care of kids in the emergency room. That’s what she does. He said, Yeah, and there was a tone in his voice that sounded like a sneer. He said, That must’ve been really tough. To lose. To be a loser.”
There is talk and discussion in this book about the invoking of the 25th Amendment for removing President Trump, and Rod Rosenstein offering to wear a “wire” in a clandestine way to record the President. All this sounds like a spy and espionage novel!
Perhaps most revealing and significant about this book is the fact that after FBI Director James Comey was fired by President Trump, McCabe indicates that he opened a criminal and counterintelligence investigation into if Trump had obstructed justice and if Trump had been acting as an asset for the Russian government. Judge for yourself and listen to McCabe’s interview on the radio show “Free Air” by clicking here.
Dennis Moore has been the Associate Editor of the East County Magazine in San Diego and he is the book review editor of SDWriteway, an online newsletter for writers in San Diego that has partnered with the East County Magazine. He is also the author of a book about Chicago politics. Mr. Moore can be contacted at email@example.com or you can follow him on Twitter at: @DennisMoore8.