Review by Booklist Review
An assiduous journalist, Kessler has written numerous books about behind-the-scenes stories at the national security agencies. His reportage on the abuse of office perks by ex-FBI director William Sessions, for example, precipitated Sessions' exit in 1993. His latest book is a history of the FBI since its origin in 1908 and is structured around directors' tenures. A majority of this overview is devoted to J. Edgar Hoover's 48 years in the saddle, and Kessler does dig up some new tidbits. Yet much of the Hoover-era material will be old hat to readers of Kessler's The FBI (1993). What's new here? A cascade of criticism of Louis Freeh, the director from 1993 to 2001. Despite Freeh's positive public persona, Kessler says insiders rankled under his leadership. They felt that Freeh neglected management issues such as a systemic computer problem, preferring to unwisely intervene in individual investigations such as the botched Wen Ho Lee case. Kessler's access to reliable sources results in a richly detailed overview. Gilbert Taylor
From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.