From Publishers Weekly
This eye-opening investigation into anti-American terrorist activities would have been even more shocking if information hadn't already started to dribble out about the inadequacies of the FBI and CIA in tracking and preventing such activities. But every page of this information-packed report seems to announce ineffectual actions, missed opportunities and frustrated agents on the ground blocked by the FBI hierarchy, turf battles and political lack of will. Even by the mid-1990s, when al-Qaeda and Osama bin Laden were well known to U.S. authorities, strong action wasn't taken because, one State Department official says here, their acts hadn't exceeded an "acceptable level of terrorism." The 1998 African embassy bombings, for instance, could likely have been prevented, according to the authors. The plot is tangled, but through it Miller, Stone and Mitchell follow two threads from 1990 up to September 11, 2001: first, "the cell," actually a series of terrorist cells, beginning with the one responsible for the 1993 World Trade Center bombing a cell that, in one of their most illuminating revelations, the authors trace directly back to El Sayyid Nosair, convicted of murdering Rabbi Meir Kahane in 1990. The second thread is the Joint Terrorist Task Force, an FBI/NYPD squad whose sharp and dedicated members are the heroes of this tale, doggedly investigating the cells and their connections when not blocked by higher-ups. Miller, now coanchor of ABC TV's 20/20, scored an interview in 1998 with bin Laden, whose chilling words he repeats here ("You will leave [Saudi Arabia] when the youth send you in wooden boxes and coffins"). Miller, Stone (a noted criminal investigative journalist) and Mitchell (a senior editor at The Week) connect a lot of dots in this frightening and important book.
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.
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From Library Journal
9/11 The attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon crystallized for Americans a reality already well known in other parts of the world: terrorism exists. This book, authored primarily by Miller, an investigative reporter and coanchor of ABC's 20/20, along with reporter Stone and Mitchell, a senior editor at Week, is a sprightly account of how various American law-enforcement agencies, including the FBI, the CIA, and New York City's Joint Terrorism Task Force, struggled to identify and prosecute the shadowy band of international terrorists operating within our borders. It is a cloak-and-dagger tale of missed opportunities, turf wars, and confusion that begins with the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center and culminates in a detailed look at the last months of the hijackers, led by the inscrutable Mohamed el Amir Atta. The authors have interviewed dozens of participants on both sides of this interminable struggle and have produced a useful chronicle of the events that led up to the horrendous attacks. It will take years for all the evidence to come out about how the United States coped with international terrorism at the end of the 20th century. This work represents a good place to start learning about what happened. Recommended for most collections.Ed Goedeken, Iowa State Univ. Lib., Ames
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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