This is How They Do It: The Threat

Originally published March 2019

Y’all remember Paul Bettany in “The DaVinci Code,” right?

I am a Silas of my own making — “Oh, another ‘Trump is literally the worst person ever!’ book is out! Sign me up!”

This, however, “The Threat” — it’s not so much “Trump is the devil incarnate.” It’s more about process and less about the person.

And it’s still more than a little revolting in its reveal of the lack of understanding on the part of the executive branch of government.

Former FBI acting director Andrew McCabe could have written a juicy tell-all about his interactions with the Trump White House. It may have secured him a more prominent role in this theater of the absurd we are currently in the midst of. Instead, McCabe’s book is more a love letter to the institution for which he toiled for more than two decades. And it’s a super insightful look into exactly how the FBI does its job, day in and day out.

Starting with his pursuit of a job at the FBI, “The Threat” is a memoir of McCabe’s career in crimefighting, starting with busting up organized crime in New York and New Jersey, through a shift in focus to anti-terrorism efforts, especially after 9/11 and up to his departure from the agency in the post-Comey era.

McCabe goes into great detail about the news cycle we’ve become accustomed to over the last 20 or so years, having played a central role in the evolving role of the FBI and how it pursues, apprehends and works with subjects of investigations, up to and including the Benghazi and Clinton email server investigations. And all of it is so much more complicated than we can ever imagine. The author flirts with a “coulda shoulda woulda” mentality but also acknowledges there’s little point in rehashing decisions made because in the intensity of the moment, all you can do is make the best decision possible with the information you have.

As for revealing tidbits of Trump’s stupidity, there’s not much beyond what’s already been revealed on the book tour/news circuit. But that really isn’t the point of this book. Instead, I have a much greater appreciation for how the FBI works and am grateful for their commitment to keeping our country safe — a spectacularly challenging manifesto given the current environment in which they operate.

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