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Publisher's Summary

New York Times best seller
The former director of National Intelligence's candid and compelling account of the intelligence community's successes - and failures - in facing some of the greatest threats to America
When he stepped down in January 2017 as the fourth United States director of national intelligence, James Clapper had been President Obama's senior intelligence adviser for six and a half years, longer than his three predecessors combined. He led the US intelligence community through a period that included the raid on Osama bin Laden, the Benghazi attack, the leaks of Edward Snowden, and Russia's influence operation during the 2016 US election campaign. 
In Facts and Fears, Clapper traces his career through the growing threat of cyber attacks, his relationships with presidents and Congress, and the truth about Russia's role in the presidential election. He describes, in the wake of Snowden and WikiLeaks, his efforts to make intelligence more transparent and to push back against the suspicion that Americans' private lives are subject to surveillance. Finally, it was living through Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election and seeing how the foundations of American democracy were - and continue to be - undermined by a foreign power that led him to break with his instincts honed through more than five decades in the intelligence profession to share his inside experience.
Clapper considers such controversial questions as: Is intelligence ethical? Is it moral to intercept communications or to photograph closed societies from orbit? What are the limits of what we should be allowed to do? What protections should we give to the private citizens of the world, not to mention our fellow Americans? Are there times when intelligence officers can lose credibility as unbiased reporters of hard truths by inserting themselves into policy decisions?
Facts and Fears offers a privileged look inside the US intelligence community and, with the frankness and professionalism for which James Clapper is known, addresses some of the most difficult challenges in our nation's history.
©2018 James R. Clapper and Trey Brown (P)2018 Penguin Audio
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
5 out of 5 stars
By Colleen Collins on 05-25-18

Great Recent History

Very little of this book is about Trump. It is a life story of a man who was born into the intelligence community, and continued for 50 years. He tells wonderful back stories of foreign affairs. He starts in intelligence with "a piece of acetate, a grease pencil and two corporals", and transitions through the high tech information gathering of today. He is open and humble about some of the biggest intel blunders in recent history. You learn much about Russia and the 2016 election. You will know why he hates Trump, and how much he loves America.

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46 of 47 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars
By Cynthia on 05-29-18

Speaking Straight, Unbiased Truth to Power

Retired Director of National Intelligence (and retired USAF Lieutenant General) James R. Clapper’s “Facts and Fears: Hard Truths From a Life in Intelligence” (2018) dropped on Audible the same day as Stephen King’s “The Outsider” (2018). I am a huge fan of Mr. King; the narrator is Will Patton, who I would listen to if he narrated a badly translated blue tooth speaker instruction manual; and I had a very long, tedious drive with limited radio reception. I went with co-author Trey Brown and Mr. Clapper’s “Facts and Fears” because I figured it would be more likely to keep me awake. It sure did.

Mr. Clapper was responsible for some of the most important Innovations in intelligence gathering and analysis in the last half century. In his last job, Mr. Clapper was responsible for all US Intelligence gathering and analysis, both military and civilian.

Mr. Clapper made some mistakes, and got some important intelligence wrong: he misread what was going to happen in Benghazi, Libya, on September 11 to 12, 2012. Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens and three others died when a diplomatic post was attacked. More importantly, he saw evidence of weapons of mass destruction that lead to the 2003 Iraq War - and the “evidence” turned out to be milk pasteurization equipment.

One thing Mr. Clapper didn’t get wrong was the Russian interference with the 2016 US Presidential elections. Mr. Clapper knew some of what was happening, how it was being done and who was doing it long before either presidential candidate clinched their party’s nomination. The Intelligence Community (IC) monitored what Russia, through its government funded media company RT (formerly Russia Today) was doing to try to destabilize the United States as a whole. It wasn’t just the election - RT sowed and continues to foment racial and religious strife.

The book is chronological, and the really scary stuff starts at Chapter 12/Audible Chapter 131, 2 hours and 2 minutes before the end of the book. That’s where Mr. Clapper talks about specific tactics used by Russian President Vladimir Putin and RT, especially social media.

Mr. Clapper made sure President Barrack Obama knew what was happening, but Mr. Clapper could not recommend how he should respond. His job was to gather intelligence and present it truthfully, but not to apply it to US policy.

For anyone looking for an admission that the IC was spying on Mr. Trump’s campaign - it’s not in this book. No, this Tweet from the President that “Clapper has now admitted that there was Spying in my campaign. Large dollars were paid to the Spy, far beyond normal. Starting to look like one of the biggest political scandals in U.S. history. SPYGATE - a terrible thing!" (Twitter, at realDonaldTrump, May 24, 2018) is just wrong.

Mr. Clapper’s dedication to advancing women, the LGBTQ community and other minorities was unexpected. I’m a veteran myself and I don’t know that I was ever at the same duty station Mr. Clapper was at the same time, but to quote Clint Eastwood in “Heartbreak Ridge” (1986), “Well, we sure as hell chewed some of the same dirt, sir.” Opportunities, both civilian and military, for anyone who wasn’t a straight white Protestant male were limited or nonexistent when I served. Mr. Clapper worked hard to change that.

I haven’t listened to Mr. Kong’s “The Outsider” yet, but Mr. Clapper’s book was so compelling I finished the 18 hour book in three days. I did have it on x1.25 speed. Mark Bramhall, the narrator, has a voice of deliberate, too-slow gravitas and x1.25 sounded just fine.

The title of this review is a quote from the book - and the way Mr. Clapper did his job from intelligence briefings in Vietnam to congressional hearings even after he retired, in 2017.

[If this review helped, please press YES. Thanks.]

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96 of 101 people found this review helpful

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
5 out of 5 stars
By Mike Thomas on 07-11-18

Very informative

Men such as Clapper and James Comey, lived by certain principles. They worked for many years under more than one president, to keep the nation safe. If they are worried about Trump's principles, or lack of them, then thee is good reason to be worried.

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1 of 1 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars
By Liza1044 on 05-28-18

Fascinating

An interesting life, a man of absolute honour and dedication to his country; whether you believe in his viewpoint or not, only a person blinded by tunnel vision won’t learn something from this book. A truly fascinating read.

From a production perspective, on the whole it was fine but the corrections that were added after the main recording were dubbed in poorly and are very obvious. However the content is so interesting I didn’t want to drop my rating.

If you are interested in the state of the US now and want a taste of the intelligence service over the last 50 years, please read this book you won’t be disappointed.

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1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
5 out of 5 stars
By Michael on 07-28-18

An amazing journey and passionately written book.

A strong honest book spanning an incredible career of service. Extremely honest and a must read for all Americans.

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5 out of 5 stars
By Amazon Customer on 06-21-18

Insightful, Honest, and Fascinating.

Both an fascinating insight into U.S. Intelligence Services, & humble recounting of the author's service.

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