PROVINCETOWN — One of the films that former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe saw at the Provincetown International Film Festival over the weekend “hit very close to home.”

“Official Secrets” directed by Gavin Hood , dramatizes the true story of Katharine Gun (played by Keira Knightley ), a whistleblower who leaked information about the U.S.’s illegal attempts to push the U.N. Security Council into sanctioning the 2003 invasion of Iraq.

“She goes through the torture of wondering whether or not she’ll be prosecuted — so, an experience I can relate to,” McCabe said Saturday at the film festival. McCabe served as acting director of the FBI in 2017 after President’s Trump dismissal of James Comey. In 2018, McCabe himself was fired by then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions. He has since become an outspoken critic of the Trump administration.


McCabe spoke at a PIFF garden party on the deck of the Land’s End Inn, overlooking a panoramic view of Provincetown on a clear, windy day. He visited Provincetown with his wife, Jill, and her sister Kim McFarland, who produces the catalog for the film festival.

On Sunday, McCabe delivered a PIFF keynote, “Speaking Truth to Power,” at The Pilgrim Monument, and spoke with author and screenwriter Casey Sherman . Sherman’s book about the Marathon bombing, “Boston Strong: A City’s Triumph over Tragedy,” was adapted as the film “Patriots Day” in 2016; McCabe was part of the FBI team that investigated the Boston bombing in 2013.

At Saturday’s party, McCabe said, “people [in Provincetown] have been so supportive. They’re walking up and down the street and coming up and shaking hands.

“Having lived a really quiet and non-public life — and all of a sudden, people coming up to you in the crowd and stuff is totally off-putting,” he admitted.

The same weekend as McCabe’s talk, community members were taking turns reading the Mueller Report out loud from 10 a.m. to nightfall on Friday and Saturday on the lawn of the Provincetown Public Library.


McCabe said on Saturday he knew the reading was taking place. He had been asked to participate, but politely declined.

“I thought, you know, maybe I’ll pass on that,” he said with a laugh. “It might be a little more disruptive than helpful.”

Nora McGreevy

Nora McGreevy can be reached at nora.mcgreevy@globe.com