Friday, December 17, 2010

Flashback - John O'Neill and Attacks Leading to 9/11

F.B.I. Is Investigating a Senior Counterterrorism Agent
By DAVID JOHNSTON and JAMES RISEN
Published: August 19, 2001

WASHINGTON, Aug. 18 — The F.B.I. has begun an internal investigation into one of its most senior counterterrorism officials, who misplaced a briefcase containing highly classified information last year. The briefcase contained a number of sensitive documents, including a report outlining virtually every national security operation in New York, government officials said.

The official, John O'Neill, 49, is the special agent in charge of national security in the Federal Bureau of Investigation's New York office. The job is among the most powerful in the F.B.I., and, although Mr. O'Neill is not widely known, he has overseen cases like the terrorist bombing of the Navy destroyer Cole in Yemen last year and the bombings of American embassies in East Africa in 1998.

The briefcase incident was seen as potentially so serious that the Justice Department conducted a criminal investigation. The inquiry ended in recent weeks with a decision by the department's internal security section not to prosecute, law enforcement officials said.

Flash Forward:
From Wikipedia -

John Patrick O'Neill (February 6, 1952 – September 11, 2001) was a top American anti-terrorism expert, who worked as a special agent and eventually Assistant Director in the Federal Bureau of Investigation until late 2001. In 1995, O'Neill began to intensely study the roots of the 1993 World Trade Center bombing after he assisted in the capture of Ramzi Yousef, who was the leader of that plot.

He subsequently learned of al-Qaeda and Osama bin Laden, and investigated the 1996 Khobar Towers bombing in Saudi Arabia and the 2000 USS Cole bombing in Yemen. Partly due to personal friction he had within the FBI and federal government, O'Neill left to become the head of security at the World Trade Center, where he died during his first day on the job at age 49 in the September 11, 2001 attacks. In 2002, O'Neill was the subject of a Frontline documentary named "The Man Who Knew."

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