Saturday, September 30, 2006

The Bureau and the Mole, by David A Vise

The Bureau and the Mole: The Unmasking of Robert Philip Hanssen, the Most Dangerous Double Agent in FBI History, by David A Vise

This is a biography of two people: Robert Hanssen, a man that provided highly-classified secrets to the Russians for over 20 years, and Louis Freeh, the FBI Director that caught him. While a captivating story, I found it to be a fairly pedestrian read. It felt more like a novelization of a movie-of-the-week instead of an examination of what makes someone a traitor. The book was light on details, only scratching the surface of the interesting points of espionage: procedures and trade craft and the effects of the information sold. Instead, we get volumes of quotations from Hanssen’s pornography writings (including an entire appendix) that can only be considered gratuitous. It was pretty interesting, but I prefer more depth in a biography.

First Sentence:
Ever since his childhood days in the Norwood Park neighborhood of Chicago, Bob Hanssen had been something of a loner.

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