Reviewed by Michael Fruitman
[Disclosure: The author worked on the campaign of Andrew McCabe’s wife, Dr. Jill McCabe, for Virginia Senate in 2015.]
Between the world of chaos and the world of order stands the rule of law. Every person in the United States, from a murderer to the president, is subject to the rule of law. . . . Yet now the rule of law is under attack, including from the president himself. Organized crime networks from other countries target the United States. Hacker steal our data, violate our privacy, and undermine our institutions. . . . Our own government officials use the power of public office to undermine legal authority and to denigrate law enforcement.
This is Andrew McCabe in The Threat. He goes on to cite the FBI’s mission–to protect the American people from these threats–and is careful to paint with a narrow brush, saying “This book is one agent’ story–my own.”
Clearly, his story is different from that of most FBI agents. Rising in his 22-year career to the position of deputy director, McCabe was summarily fired on March 16, 2018–just 26 hours before his officially scheduled retirement, throwing into jeopardy his retirement benefits–to Trump’s delight. The pretense for his dismissal was an inspector general (IG) report citing his “lack of candor on four separate occasions.” McCabe does not delve into his response to his firing, citing an ongoing legal process; he does disclose that he has filed suit, challenging the firing, the IG’s process and findings, and how his termination was handled by the Department of Justice.
As the book’s subtitle suggests, McCabe spends most of his narrative exploring the inner workings of the FBI, as revealed in cases on which he worked–from Russian organized crime to the Boston marathon bombing, from Benghazi to the activities of the Clinton Foundation and Hillary Clinton’s email.
As with former FBI Director (and his former boss) James Comey’s book, McCabe’s story looks behind the curtain at the workings of the FBI as seen through his eyes. Especially when covering the 16 months between Trump’s election and McCabe’s firing, we see how the shifting FBI goals over the past 20 years, to protecting against terrorist attacks on Americans, are affected by the chaotic and unorthodox ways in which the presidency is conducted. In the author’s insider view, the greatest threat to the United States now comes from within as the White House “ignores laws, attacks democratic institutions, degrades human rights, and undermines the U.S. Constitution.”
Of course, readers must judge for themselves to what extent McCabe’s conclusions stem from bias, given what happened to him. But to this reviewer, at least, the narrative and conclusions withstand scrutiny.