Saturday, April 27, 2019

the last book I ever read (The Threat: How the FBI Protects America in the Age of Terror and Trump by Andrew G. McCabe, excerpt six)

from The Threat: How the FBI Protects America in the Age of Terror and Trump by Andrew G. McCabe:

In the first few briefings with Sessions, conversations necessarily covered a lot of basic material. Jim Comey was the FBI director, and he began at the beginning. Described the differences between the Sunni and Shia practices of Islam. Explained which terrorist groups lined up with which religious philosophies. During the PDB, Comey and Sessions would have religious discussions: wide ranging, even free flowing. As a double major in chemistry and religion, Comey was well positioned to engage the AG on the groups we tracked and the religions they followed. Sessions believed that Islam—inherently—advocated extremism. The director tried to explain that the reality was more complicated. Talking about religion was Comey’s way of trying to connect with Sessions on terrain familiar to them both.

Leading the Justice Department is one of the biggest responsibilities a person can have in this country. Getting up to speed on intelligence, and categorizing it properly in memory, is a basic part of the job. Sessions did not compartmentalize the new knowledge he acquired. He would say, I saw in the paper the other day . . . and then would repeat an item that we had briefed him on a few days earlier, intelligence from the PDB. Sessions was confusing classified intelligence with news clips. It was an early sign that this transition would be more challenging that we expected.

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