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A former FBI undercover agent and whistleblower gives us a riveting and troubling account of the contemporary FBI—essential reading for our times Impressively researched and eloquently argued, former special agent Mike German’s Disrupt, Discredit, and Divide tells the story of the transformation of the FBI after the 9/11 attacks from a law enforcement agency, made famous b A former FBI undercover agent and whistleblower gives us a riveting and troubling account of the contemporary FBI—essential reading for our times Impressively researched and eloquently argued, former special agent Mike German’s Disrupt, Discredit, and Divide tells the story of the transformation of the FBI after the 9/11 attacks from a law enforcement agency, made famous by prosecuting organized crime and corruption in business and government, into arguably the most secretive domestic intelligence agency America has ever seen. German shows how FBI leaders exploited the fear of terrorism in the aftermath of 9/11 to shed the legal constraints imposed on them in the 1970s in the wake of Hoover-era civil rights abuses. Empowered by the Patriot Act, the bureau resurrected a discredited theory of terrorist “radicalization” and adopted a “disruption strategy” that targeted Muslims, foreigners, and communities of color, and tarred dissidents inside and outside the bureau as security threats, dividing American communities against one another. By prioritizing its national security missions over its law enforcement mission, the FBI undermined public confidence in justice and the rule of law. Its failure to include racist, anti-Semitic, Islamophobic, and xenophobic violence committed by white nationalists within its counterterrorism mandate only increased the perception that the FBI was protecting the powerful at the expense of the powerless. Disrupt, Discredit, and Divide is an engaging and unsettling contemporary history of the FBI and a bold call for reform, told by a longtime counterterrorism undercover agent who has become a widely admired whistleblower and a critic for civil liberties and accountable government.


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A former FBI undercover agent and whistleblower gives us a riveting and troubling account of the contemporary FBI—essential reading for our times Impressively researched and eloquently argued, former special agent Mike German’s Disrupt, Discredit, and Divide tells the story of the transformation of the FBI after the 9/11 attacks from a law enforcement agency, made famous b A former FBI undercover agent and whistleblower gives us a riveting and troubling account of the contemporary FBI—essential reading for our times Impressively researched and eloquently argued, former special agent Mike German’s Disrupt, Discredit, and Divide tells the story of the transformation of the FBI after the 9/11 attacks from a law enforcement agency, made famous by prosecuting organized crime and corruption in business and government, into arguably the most secretive domestic intelligence agency America has ever seen. German shows how FBI leaders exploited the fear of terrorism in the aftermath of 9/11 to shed the legal constraints imposed on them in the 1970s in the wake of Hoover-era civil rights abuses. Empowered by the Patriot Act, the bureau resurrected a discredited theory of terrorist “radicalization” and adopted a “disruption strategy” that targeted Muslims, foreigners, and communities of color, and tarred dissidents inside and outside the bureau as security threats, dividing American communities against one another. By prioritizing its national security missions over its law enforcement mission, the FBI undermined public confidence in justice and the rule of law. Its failure to include racist, anti-Semitic, Islamophobic, and xenophobic violence committed by white nationalists within its counterterrorism mandate only increased the perception that the FBI was protecting the powerful at the expense of the powerless. Disrupt, Discredit, and Divide is an engaging and unsettling contemporary history of the FBI and a bold call for reform, told by a longtime counterterrorism undercover agent who has become a widely admired whistleblower and a critic for civil liberties and accountable government.

56 review for Disrupt, Discredit, and Divide: How the New FBI Damages Democracy

  1. 5 out of 5

    Sophia

    This book was just episode after episode of FBI abuses. While it wasn’t a long book, I feel like I got the gist after a couple chapters. It’s really accessible, and gives a clear-eyed view of the reality of what has been going on in the US these past 20 years, and I think as citizens we all need to know about it. Still, given that it’s more a collection of abuses, probably this book is most suitable for people actually interested in governing or participating in law enforcement (or law in genera This book was just episode after episode of FBI abuses. While it wasn’t a long book, I feel like I got the gist after a couple chapters. It’s really accessible, and gives a clear-eyed view of the reality of what has been going on in the US these past 20 years, and I think as citizens we all need to know about it. Still, given that it’s more a collection of abuses, probably this book is most suitable for people actually interested in governing or participating in law enforcement (or law in general). Or better yet, making realistic cop shows; this is a gold mine of source material, and then the public would have an easier time changing their mental model of how the FBI actually conducts their work. I would explicitly recommend it for anyone who thinks the FBI and US government has too little authority; it really helps you understand why limitations to agencies matter. The biggest takeaway message is that the FBI has had very little oversight and granted a lot of unrestricted authority, and they used that to get into the business of “crime prevention”, and if you don’t think that’s a problem, read the book. The second point is that the FBI, like the police, have serious double standards when it comes to dealing with minorities and political dissidents, vs white supremacists. It’s really sad. I’ll be keeping my eyes peeled to see if the Biden Harris administration does anything to change this, or if it will be more of the same.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Victoria B.

    Fascinating look at the FBI behind-the-scenes. The author documents several abuses of power and mismanaged events that have contributed to the loss of effectiveness of the FBI while they continue to expand their powers of "investigation" (which, the author posits, primarily affects POC, Muslims, political activists, and those with a whiff of "otherness"). In addition, he believes that most of FBI management are more concerned with ruining the lives of effective agents who point out problems or d Fascinating look at the FBI behind-the-scenes. The author documents several abuses of power and mismanaged events that have contributed to the loss of effectiveness of the FBI while they continue to expand their powers of "investigation" (which, the author posits, primarily affects POC, Muslims, political activists, and those with a whiff of "otherness"). In addition, he believes that most of FBI management are more concerned with ruining the lives of effective agents who point out problems or discriminations (especially those considered minorities and women) and protecting their public image than truly protecting our country. As Congress found in the '70s, "the Bureau secretly took the law into it's own hands, going beyond the collection of intelligence and beyond its law enforcement function to act outside the legal process altogether and to covertly disrupt, discredit and harass groups and individuals." According to the author, nothing has changed - they use the "information" (both real and perceived) they gather to divide the country in a way that promotes their own agenda. The author details examples of FBI abuses of power over the last three-plus decades, the decline of FBI effectiveness at carrying out their duties, and what activists as well as the local, state, and federal government can do to fix the problems and return a level of trustworthiness to the FBI. Favorite quote: If bureau leaders can't be trusted to conduct honest investigations against their own agents, especially ones like Julia Cowley and Jane Turner, how can members of the public who fall under FBI suspicion due to racial, religious, nationalistic, or ideological bias ever protect themselves? I received a complimentary copy of this book from Goodreads Giveaway in exchange for my honest review.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Carol

    "To this day, the FBI has no legislative charter defining the scope of its authority." Mike German, a former FBI agent, writes about how the FBI is still a renegade agency. It relies on right-wing leaning organizations and polygraphs (which are legally suspect) for gathering intelligence and disciplining agents. Racial and ethnic stereotyping remains rampant in the agency both in its training methods and materials and in the discipline of agents. "To this day, the FBI has no legislative charter defining the scope of its authority." Mike German, a former FBI agent, writes about how the FBI is still a renegade agency. It relies on right-wing leaning organizations and polygraphs (which are legally suspect) for gathering intelligence and disciplining agents. Racial and ethnic stereotyping remains rampant in the agency both in its training methods and materials and in the discipline of agents.

  4. 4 out of 5

    vaderbird

    4.75 - 5 star - Perfect 4 star - i would recommend 3 star - good 2 star - struggled to complete 1 star - could not finish

  5. 4 out of 5

    John Bonelli

    Very interesting book written by a gentlemen who went undercover as a white supremacist for years to help the FBI undercover white extremist terrorist attacks. This book goes into detail about the bureaucracy of the FBI and how the organization has become more political and therefore more dangerous to democracy. The author is a friend of a friend and we did a zoom call for 90 minutes where we were able to discuss the book with the author. He is an amazing impressive individual. The book is full Very interesting book written by a gentlemen who went undercover as a white supremacist for years to help the FBI undercover white extremist terrorist attacks. This book goes into detail about the bureaucracy of the FBI and how the organization has become more political and therefore more dangerous to democracy. The author is a friend of a friend and we did a zoom call for 90 minutes where we were able to discuss the book with the author. He is an amazing impressive individual. The book is full of interesting insight and a very good read.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Anthony

    Glad I read this book. An eyeopener to say the least. Good notes. A different perspective than I'm used to. Glad I read this book. An eyeopener to say the least. Good notes. A different perspective than I'm used to.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Marleen

    The FBI has a checkered history of abuses. During Hoover's time, he used the FBI's powers to investigate political enemies such as people working for social or racial justice. After 9/11, Congress passed the Patriot Act which broadened its investigative powers. A culture of institutional racism has impacted who and what they investigate. Questionable criteria such as a person who converts to Islam would be considered a greater terror threat than Christian and at the same time ignoring or downplay The FBI has a checkered history of abuses. During Hoover's time, he used the FBI's powers to investigate political enemies such as people working for social or racial justice. After 9/11, Congress passed the Patriot Act which broadened its investigative powers. A culture of institutional racism has impacted who and what they investigate. Questionable criteria such as a person who converts to Islam would be considered a greater terror threat than Christian and at the same time ignoring or downplaying activity by white supremacists. The FBI's opening and closing the Clinton email investigation and at the same time not following up,on Russia's interference in our elections is baffling.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Yuliya

  9. 4 out of 5

    Chelsea

  10. 4 out of 5

    Jennifer

  11. 5 out of 5

    Robert

  12. 4 out of 5

    Melissa Cheresnick

  13. 5 out of 5

    Matt

  14. 5 out of 5

    Hailey Tomlin

  15. 4 out of 5

    Marie Harder

  16. 4 out of 5

    Lady

  17. 5 out of 5

    Carol

  18. 4 out of 5

    Sean

  19. 4 out of 5

    Liam Keogh

  20. 5 out of 5

    Faisal

  21. 5 out of 5

    Raven

  22. 4 out of 5

    Noella Luciotti

  23. 4 out of 5

    Ryan Nary

  24. 5 out of 5

    Anthony

  25. 4 out of 5

    Franco

  26. 4 out of 5

    TheSeagull_

  27. 4 out of 5

    Hannah

  28. 5 out of 5

    Micielle

  29. 5 out of 5

    Frederick Rotzien

  30. 4 out of 5

    Julie Oxendale

  31. 4 out of 5

    Valerie

  32. 4 out of 5

    Kim Ellis

  33. 5 out of 5

    Bill Schlott

  34. 5 out of 5

    Deborah Gerhart

  35. 4 out of 5

    Gregory Fortenberry

  36. 5 out of 5

    Sandy

  37. 4 out of 5

    Sam

  38. 4 out of 5

    Jamie Vigneau

  39. 5 out of 5

    Dayna

  40. 5 out of 5

    Sandra Burns

  41. 4 out of 5

    Cindy

  42. 4 out of 5

    amy

  43. 4 out of 5

    Sonja

  44. 5 out of 5

    ROY Law

  45. 5 out of 5

    Erica Neiheisel

  46. 4 out of 5

    Josephine

  47. 4 out of 5

    Astrid Galactic

  48. 4 out of 5

    Susan

  49. 4 out of 5

    Amy

  50. 4 out of 5

    Anita Glover Stevenson

  51. 5 out of 5

    Jo

  52. 5 out of 5

    Jerrilynn Atherton

  53. 5 out of 5

    Melissa ahmed

  54. 4 out of 5

    Gerry

  55. 5 out of 5

    Cristy

  56. 5 out of 5

    Raymond Stone

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