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

3.39 of 5 stars 3.39  ·  rating details  ·  381 ratings  ·  49 reviews
Called "a first-rate spy story" (Entertainment Weekly), The Bureau and the Mole is the sensational New York Times best-seller that tells the inside story of FBI counterintelligence agent Robert Philip Hanssen, a seemingly all-American boy who would become the perfect traitor, jeopardizing America's national security for over twenty years by selling top-secret information t...more
Paperback, 304 pages
Published September 10th 2002 by Atlantic Monthly Press (first published December 1st 2001)
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Julie
This is a very interesting story and I enjoy reading about Robert Hanssen. However, Vise spent so much time in the beginning creating a backstory for both Hanssen and Freeh that when he finally got to the espionage part I was disappointed. I felt that through the backstory Vise spent the entire time quoting interviews, which is fine, until you get to the part that is interesting and it reads so quickly the reader becomes disappointed.Yes, the reader needs to understand how messed up Robert Hanss...more
Mariah Burton Nelson
Seems that everything in this book was also in the Washington Post at the time, but it's a good story nevertheless, and a good companion piece to the TV series The Americans, which was apparently written by a former CIA agent.

So many of the details in this true story also show up in the TV series: the two-way emotional manipulations by KGB and FBI, the "honeypots," the exposure of double-agents, the revelations about secrets about spy techniques, the deliberate misinformation, even the FBI movi...more
Christine
What a weird guy Hanssen was, and is. His poor wife and family. I recently saw Breach, so I think I'm about set for life on my recent history CIA spies exposed.
trivialchemy
This guy Hanssen was a real shit. I hope they put him in a cell with Michael Vick, a pit-bull, and a viagra dispenser.
Sharon Rosenberg-Scholl
Parts of this book were interesting, if only because of the character was leading this intriguing double life. Outwardly he was a staunchly religious law-and-order type FBI agent, but secretly he had some unusual sexual fantasies, some of which he was playing out, cheated on his wife, and was selling information to the Russians over a span of decades.

However, I found the writing rather dry and felt the author just wasn't a very good storyteller. Also, I found myself very dubious of some of his...more
Doug
This is the only book I have ever thrown away after reading. I was expecting a true-life spy thriller but got more than I bargained for.

This book was fascinating and well-researched. However, it was also very depressing to read about Robert Hanssen's double life. In addition to betraying his country, he betrayed his wife, children and faith in sordid and depressing ways.

I actually skipped one chapter of this book and didn't really want it around for my kids to read someday. I learned a little ab...more
Constance
for a "story" type of nonfiction book, i expected a lot more. i guess i'm used to michael lewis-type of exposition, and this book was more like, oh this guy, he spied. he spied some more. then he got caught. i guess you have to give the author some credit, because he was working backwards, and because he was also working with highly classified information.

this book is still readable though, and it's really a very good example of how men can be egocentric, deeply disturbed, socially incompetent i...more
Alan
I usually enjoy post-mortem exposés on big events, but this was light on details. It introduced Hanssen's first act of espionage without any back ground on motivation or even how it got started. Likewise no background info was provided how the FBI came to discover Hanssen as the mole other than clues provided in documents they received from Russia (but no details on the type of documents or how they came in possession of them). This could have been riveting, but the lack of detail makes it only...more
Carissa
Oct 15, 2008 Carissa rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: adults/ non-fiction readers
Recommended to Carissa by: Rob Chong
This is certainly a first rate spy story, and it is all true, which makes it a very cool non-fiction read. There are a couple very risque chapters in the middle, although they do help to place Bob Hanssen's mind. This book really does a great job at explaining his personality, insecurities and ego, and how they play into his espionage. It also helped me understand more about the politics at the time, an just more in general about the F.B.I. and parts of its history. I would recommend it to adult...more
Lucas
Great story and really compelling beginning, but the author lost focus somewhere along the way. What truly could have been a phenomenal biography turned into an account of lots of other people's actions mixed in with what 'the mole' was doing. Back story gave way to filler in more than one instance. Still though it was the best account I have read about the inadequacy of the intelligence community and a memorizing account of modern day espionage. Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?
Brad
Jun 07, 2007 Brad rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Anyone interested in Spying
Shelves: books-i-own
I have found the story of former FBI Agent Bob Hanssen to be one of the most fascinating and invigorating stories about a spy I have ever heard of. This book provides an account of Bob Hanssen's life and the possible reasons for him becoming a Double Agent, and it talks about the FBI, mainly the head of the FBI Louis Freeh, and how they eventually caught him. I would also highly recommend the new movie "Breach" which is based on the true story of the downfall of Bob Hanssen.
Marcus
Robert Hansen is considered one of the most damaging spies in the history of our nation. His works against the country, were never for political reasons. Rather they were to prove that he was smarter than everyone else. The book does an excellent job of retelling a catalog of his betrayals and how he was eventually caught.

I enjoyed it, it was a bit dry and ponderous at parts. There were some chapters that made no sense as to why they were included in the book.
Marilyn
Jul 09, 2008 Marilyn rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Jenny & Patrick Thornbury
Recommended to Marilyn by: Glen Johnson
I have never read anyhthing like this. It is a frightening story of a real spy who left our country open to the Russians and all their terror. I am so relieved to know he is behind bars, however, the other names mentioned in the book give me a completely different view of our "do nothing" congress, government or any form of government. We are not as safe as we feel we are. As a citizen, keeping our eyes open is the only way to behave.
Lina
Pretty interesting espionage tale, especially if you never read the original coverage in the Post (I hadn't).
Chris
Eh... interesting story about the FBI's most notorious double agent who sold just an unbelievable amount of info to the KGB during the height of the cold war times. The story is a bit rough around the edges and lacks substance but it is was intriguing nontheless to see what a double a life this guy was leading. All in all though, not the best read.
Brent
Winter 2008. Non-fiction. Story of the most damaging spy in US history, Robert Phillip Hansen. Also covers the story of former FBI boss Louis Freeh, his career path from NYC mob buster and how he busted Hansen. Hansen was a pretty weird guy and was messed up by his dissaproving father most of his life.
Andrea
The story was interesting to learn. I was unaware of it when it was happening. HOwever, the writing style was complicated and easily strayed on tangents. There were chapters that were filthy and graphic and didn't need to be included in that manner.
Kayla
I started reading this book a long time ago... and I never finished it. I guess it just didn't keep my interest even though the story itself if fascinating. I just wish the author was better at telling the story.
Daniel
I read this book because I liked the movie that was made based on it. In a rare case, the movie was better than the book! Hanssen was really a sick dude and it's alarming that the FBI took so long to find him out.
David
Good story behind Robert Hanssen. More of a back story behind him and Louis Freeh. I was disappointed that there was not enough detail in the capture of Hanssen and what he did do that tipped of the FBI.
Anne Kretzmann
This book really gets into the mind of a spy and why someone would be motivated by greed. Robery Hanssen is a sick man and this book really tells his story. It also gives an interesting look at opes dei
Sacha
Jan 07, 2012 Sacha marked it as to-read
Tried at the end of 2011. The names required more concentration that I could muster before sleep so I gave up. Sweetie enjoyed it, but wasn't impressed. Perhaps I'll try again later. Perhaps.
Deb
Jul 19, 2008 Deb rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: spy readers, NF readers
Recommended to Deb by: my neighbor PB
Really good. If you saw the movie, you've got to read this. There's some additional info that they, uh, couldn't put in the movie. Well written. Reads like a spy NOVEL. Recommended.
Diana
A really well-done thriller. I docked it one star because I did not think shaming the innocent wife was a very nice thing for the author to do. Other than that, an enjoyable read.
Crider
I absolutely loved this book! It really gave a face and understanding to how Robert Hussain worked. It also provides erie details of how the KGB works.
Jill
A very good read! True story about an FBI mole, way better than the movie (Breach) which we watched the evening after finishing the book (we read it aloud).
Patricia Gott
Scary to think what could have happened to Americans because of the FBI's neglect in discovering this mole for twenty years. Interest account.
Sarah
A real page-turner that contrasts the rise and fall of the FBI/KGB double agent Philip Hanssen with the career of former FBI director Louis Freeh.
Justin Istenes
Amazing story about the oddly twisted life of double agent. This guy damaged a number of our secrets. The man was a strange bird. Good read.
Ian Billick
An interesting, quick read. It bogs down at times. Interestingly the main character from the movie is completely absent from the book.
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