From Publishers Weekly
Freeh defends his performance as FBI director (1993-2001) and retaliates against Richard A. Clarke's Against All Enemies and Bill Clinton's My Life in this smooth memoir, written with the help of Means. "I spent most of the almost eight years as director investigating the man who had appointed me," Freeh declares on the book's first page, but readers expecting juicy revelations about those investigations are going to be disappointed. Freeh goes into fascinating detail when describing the FBI's work on the 1996 Khobar Towers bombing in Saudi Arabia-the most damning thing he has to say about Clinton is that Clinton didn't push for the prosecution of the bombers. Freeh's recounting of his work as an FBI agent in 1970s, when his team helped eviscerate the power of the Italian mafia in New York, is similarly generous with details. And his accounts of his childhood in New Jersey and his years working his way through Rutgers are also engaging. Freeh argues convincingly against the establishment of a separate Domestic Intelligence Service, for the FBI's use of international agents and for a major investment into the Bureau's technological capacity-it's horrifying to realize that the agency has less computer power than any of America's major enemies. In a few pages of near end of the book, Freeh lambastes Clarke, calling him a "self-appointed Paul Revere" and a "second-tier player." He also accuses Clarke of deception, alleging that Clarke lied or distorted information in five places, including Clarke's assertion that Freeh is a member of Opus Dei. If corroborated, these accusations may deal a serious blow Clarke's reputation. When it comes to the Clinton investigations, however, Freeh doesn't really deliver anything new. And his explanations for the rift between them come off as disingenuous. "Maybe I was, in Clinton's eyes, too much the altar boy," Freeh muses on page 17. More than two hundred pages later, he reveals that he snubbed the President's first two collegial gestures, and elsewhere Freeh drops references to his close friendship with H.W. Bush, who worked as director of the CIA before he was president and after whom Freeh names the FBI's new command center in 1999. "We had differences of temperament," Freeh acknowledges about Clinton. His book would have been stronger if he acknowledged more directly that he and Clinton had differences of politics, too. After all, it's to Clinton's credit that he appointed Freeh despite those differences, and to Freeh's credit that he didn't allow them to hamper his excellent performance on the Oklahoma bombing and Robert Hanssen cases, among others.
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About the Author
LOUIS J. FREEH served as director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation from 1993 to 2001. He now is senior vice chairman of MBNA.