36 Quotes from The Threat book by Andrew G. McCabe

Hello friends. This post is a collection of quotes from the New York Times bestseller book - The Threat: How the FBI Protects America in the Age of Terror and Trump by Andrew G. McCabe.

The Threat has been described as a dramatic and candid account of the author's career, and an impassioned defense of the FBI's agents, and of the institution's integrity and independence in protecting America and upholding our Constitution.


The J. Edgar Hoover building represents the instrumental aspects of justice, the Robert F. Kennedy building represents the ideal. - The Threat, Chapter 1

In situations of massive reorientation, you never show concern or make hasty judgments. You accept the facts that have been disclosed. You keep your feelings about those facts to yourself. In the moment, you act like a professional. - The Threat, Chapter 1

I knew that loyalty tests were important to him. [...] And the loyalty that was demanded was personal loyalty, not loyalty to an office or a set of ideals. - The Threat, Chapter 1

It’s a disconcerting experience to attempt a conversation with him because he talks the whole time. He asks questions but then immediately starts to say something else. Almost everything he says he subsequently rephrases two or three times, as if he’s stuck in some holding pattern waiting for an impulse to arrive that kicks off the next thing he wants to say. It all adds up to a bizarre encounter. - The Threat, Chapter 1

Before I left, Mike Pence stepped forward and shook my hand, and he said something nice. Mike Pence always says something nice. Whatever else might be said about the vice president, I will say this: Every time I have met him, he has conducted himself as a gentleman. And manners count for a lot. - The Threat, Chapter 1

To see the full force of the FBI deployed, as I did on 9/11, as I did after the Benghazi attack, as I did after the Boston Marathon bombing, and as I did in countless ways from the perch of deputy director, is to be astonished by this institution’s mastery. - The Threat, Chapter 1

The role of (FBI) agents is to say, Here are the facts, here is what we found. Not, This guy’s good and that guy’s bad, but rather: This guy’s dead, that guy had a gun, here’s a list of phone calls that guy made, and here’s a money transfer from this one to that one the day before the death. That’s the agent’s role. That’s the job that I have loved. - The Threat, Chapter 1

It is a point of urgency for Americans to understand what the FBI really does, and why it matters, so that the citizens of this country can join together for the common good, to protect our common interests and our common concerns against very real and rising threats by those in foreign governments, and in our own, who intend to unravel the rule of law in the United States. - The Threat, Chapter 1

I wasn't just acclimating to a place, I was joining a life. I felt like every quirky, inconvenient thing about this experience was necessary and important, and, in a way, even cool. - The Threat, Chapter 2

A decision that you can't articulate is probably a wrong decision. - The Threat, Chapter 2

In the New York field office - the biggest of the Bureau's field offices, with about eleven hundred agents and as many staff - you're limited only by your imagination and energy. If you're willing to work your tail off, even a new agent can take down the top guy in a crime family. - The Threat, Chapter 2

The combination of crime, computers, and the Kremlin has in recent years taken aim at electoral politics - at American democracy itself. - The Threat, Chapter 2

Kerr taught us to be prepared, always do our best to get things right, and not take it out on ourselves if things didn't go our way. The only sin was to do nothing at all. - The Threat, Chapter 2

There is no effective distinction, in Russia, between organized crime and government [...] Everyone lives under protection. The transformation has been systemic. It cannot be attributed exclusively to the actions of any one individual. But under the presidency of Vladimir Putin, the cohabitation of crime and government became the norm. Crime is the central and most stable force in Russian society. - The Threat, Chapter 2

Cross-examination is one of Mueller's most basic forms of human interaction, and it's the vehicle for one of his most basic traits: curiosity. He loved to get down into the details and fire off questions one after another in a firm, clear, resonant, courtroom voice. - The Threat, Chapter 3

In the dance of collection and disruption, the art is sensing a delicate balance: the time when you've collected enough to understand the immediate threat - the subject you're following or investigating - and also to understand the broader potential impact of that person and the person's involvements. When you feel you’ve hit that point, you've got to be able to disrupt. - The Threat, Chapter 3

If we got thirty thousand leads in a month, so what? In those days, when agents got a counterterrorism lead, we would muscle it, hammer it, throw people and eyes and effort at every line of every spreadsheet, never sleep or stop or take days off, because we were t-crossing, i-dotting, shoe-leather-destroying beasts. - The Threat, Chapter 3

We're that good, we're that strong, that is who we are - we do hard stuff better than anybody. If FBI agents have to take each stalk of hay off that stack, inspect it individually, and replace it precisely where it was before, we will goddamn do that. - The Threat, Chapter 3

A big pack of investigators can be like a bunch of very young kids playing soccer: Everybody chases the ball. In any game where everybody chases the ball, you can be sure that almost everybody is ignoring important stuff that needs doing. So in every crisis, you have to keep a kind of balance about the situation, and an inward distance, despite the fact that your mind is blowing up at all the crazy things that are happening. Effective response to chaos involves keeping meticulous order. - The Threat, Chapter 4

At the heart of every good interrogation or interview is a relationship, one in which the interviewee begins to trust the interviewer and decides that talking is in his or her best interest. - The Threat, Chapter 4

What I learned, in my appearances on the Hill, was that the goal of every trip up there was survival. There was no convincing anyone of anything. Everyone walks into the room with predrafted talking points and questions. Success is coming out with a sound bite that will advance an agenda. A congressional hearing is not fact-finding. It's theater. As the witness, you have one goal: Get out alive. - The Threat, Chapter 4

Mueller protected the FBI from congressional partisanship by following the standard rules for dealing with radiation: minimize your exposure time, don't get too close to the fissile material, keep something in between you and the danger. Time, distance, and shielding. - The Threat, Chapter 5

Coordinating a crisis response on this scale, involving all these resources, requires prior experience of similar events. The job is teachable in only one way - by going through it. Crisis learning can't be taught by a book. No link chart or algorithm could account for all its variables. Crisis learning happens only in relationship: by being part of the group whose job is to manage such urgent, gigantically intricate, high-stakes responses. - The Threat, Chapter 5

Praise in public, discipline in private - that's the best course most of the time. - The Threat, Chapter 5

Authority was an important part of my experience as a special agent of the FBI. An orientation to authority is unfashionable. Many people see authority as inherently suspect, even alien to their experience. I take a different view. I value authority, and I believe we all need it. It is a necessary element of meaningful civic life. I am not talking about egocentric authority, authority for its own sake - the punitive force of compulsion, exerted to gratify the individual who exercises it. I am talking about legitimate, contemplative authority, which serves as a pillar of any institution or community - authority exercised within a system built on respect and accountability. This kind of authority can deliver a warning. It can discriminate between right and wrong. It can discern. It can punish. It can praise. Authority is activated by a crisis. And it must be earned, as Mueller had earned his. It keeps us solid when things are falling apart. - The Threat, Chapter 5

Counterterrorism involves risk. It involves trade-offs. Go too far in one direction - toward the all-seeing eye of a national-security state on a permanent war footing - and you undermine the rights and liberties we cherish as a nation. I wish the trade-off did not exist, but it does. - The Threat, Chapter 5

Anyone who believes that unfaltering transparency goes with the job of director of the FBI knows nothing about how power is exercised, much less how institutions of government function. - The Threat, Chapter 6

For law enforcement, a sufficiently fractured public conversation can pose a mortal threat. When a population loses any sense of a shared story - when each segment of a population believes that only its own perceptions are valid - then that population can become ungovernable. - The Threat, Chapter 6

I realized that the president and his administration were not just inexperienced, not just unfamiliar with the established norms of democratic government. They wished to manipulate the functions of government mainly for their own interests. - The Threat, Chapter 6

The commitment of an FBI agent is to the Constitution and the American people, not to one administration. - The Threat, Chapter 6

There are so many news outlets now, and the competition for clicks is so intense, that any sufficiently outrageous statement made online by anyone with even the faintest patina of authority, and sometimes even without it, will be talked about, shared, and reported on, regardless of whether it has a basis in fact. - The Threat, Chapter 8

The attorney general ordered my firing on March 16 - twenty-six hours before my planned retirement. I received word, as Comey had, by watching the TV news. - The Threat, Chapter 8

Donald Trump [...] has shown the citizens of this country that he does not know what democracy means. He demonstrates no understanding or appreciation of our form of government. He takes no action to protect it. Has any president done more to undermine democracy than this one? - The Threat, Chapter 8

Since the 2016 election, it has become commonplace to note how polarized the country has become. Disagreements that fracture public life have grown to the point where people on either side of the political divide can no longer even agree on what the facts are. People accept as fact only the information they get from their own selected news outlets. - The Threat, Chapter 8

I hope that Americans will return to faith in one of our country’s best traditions: answering the call of duty. Answering the call of duty is a tradition of both personal and professional excellence. And entire institutions, also, can embody and answer the call of duty. The FBI was built to do just that. It’s the quality that made me want to be an FBI agent instead of a lawyer. - The Threat, Chapter 8

As the political atmosphere of our time continues to poison the intelligence community with politically motivated attacks, my fear is that people who are trying to decide whether to take a high-paying career in the private sector or to embrace a tough, maybe dangerous, and demanding career in the public sector are going to turn their backs on public service. We have got to start cherishing public service in a way that’s going to continue to attract the people we need. - The Threat, Chapter 8

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