4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Fascinating Look At The FBI's Worst Spy Infiltration,
This review is from: The Bureau and the Mole: The Unmasking of Robert Hanssen, the Most Dangerous Double Agent in FBI History. (Hardcover)
One almost comical aspect of the continuing revelations concerning the network of spies and traitors operating deep within the bowels of the CIA and FBI is the way it belies our assumptions regarding security measures in this country. As is becoming clearer with recent announcements pertaining to the degree to which various had important information that might have helped to prevent the incidences occurring on September 11th, but either buried in their own files or refused to share with other agencies for a variety of self-serving purposes. We are neither well-organized nor well-disposed in regards to civil defense preparedness to guard against such terrorist acts.
So too, this excellent biography of master spy Robert Philip Hanssen, a senior official within the headquarters staff of the FBI, shows how poorly we have managed and safeguarded our national secrets. Hanssen managed to hide in plain sight as a mole for the Russians, divulging sensitive and secret information gleaned from the files of the FBU, CIA, NSA, and the Executive Branch. His actions of betrayal undermined decades of work to protect such information regarding our national defense, and finally triggered one of the longest and most intense manhunts in modern history. His capture came after a long a tortuous cat and mouse game set into motion by FBI chief Louis Freeh, who quickly came to suspect a highly placed mole within the FBI soon after taking the reins of the agency.
So it turns out, certain aspects of a secret life seemed to appeal to this bizarre but brilliant opportunist, who rose from relative poverty and obscurity after graduating from college. Yet, so dour and serious was his demeanor that he was nicknamed "Dr. Death' for his strait-laced dress style, which consisted exclusively of plain black suits, wingtips, and subdued ties. He had been questioned a number of times in connection with the suspected espionage, but was never taken seriously as a suspect until he was captured red-handed with a satchel-full of data at one of the Russian drop-spots. Author David Vise does a journeyman's job of revealing aspects of Hanssen's background, personality, and social circumstances that help the reader to better understand why and how such a man, so seemingly dedicated to the country could so handily betray it literally for decades, and all for nothing more than a fistful of money.
To briefly summarize, this is an interesting book, and one that actively seeks to find some rationale for what Hanssen did and why he continued to do so for decades before being caught. While the author tends to fawn over Mr. Freeh and the FBI a bit much, the book is in fact well written and quite interesting and absorbing to experience. It is a quick and an enjoyable read. Enjoy!