Reassuring

A friend writes from somewhere in East Asia: “Just finished Against All Enemies, which is rather terrifying. I thought you might like (or, rather, be horrified by) this snippet about the FBI’s reaction to the Aum Shinrikyo sarin gas attack on the Tokyo tube: Clarke writes:

By now I had enough experience with CIA and FBI to doubt that they would ever have heard of the Aum. I was not disappointed. Except for press reports from the previous twelve hours, they had nothing in their files on the Aum […]”How can you be so sure there are no Aum here, John [O’Neill, FBI representative to the Counterterrorism Security Group], just because you don’t have an FBI file on them? Did you look them up in the Manhattan phone book to see if they’re there?”

“You serious?”, O’Neill asked, not sure whether I was being funny. When I assured him I meant it, he directed his deputy to leave the conference room and call FBI New York. A while later the FBI agent returned to the room and handed O’Neill a note.

O’Neill glanced at it and said “Fuck. They’re in the phone book, on East 48th Street at Fifth.”

“The rest of the book is pretty terrifying too – it had me up almost until dawn this morning.”

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