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The Cell: Inside the 9/11 Plot and Why the FBI and CIA Failed to Stop It

4.4 out of 5 stars 31 customer reviews

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Harry Potter and the Cursed Child
--This text refers to the Paperback edition.
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Product Details

  • Library Binding: 352 pages
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1439568642
  • ISBN-13: 978-1439568644
  • Shipping Weight: 789 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars 31 customer reviews
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Product Description

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. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From Library Journal

9/11 The accusatory books about how the September 11 attacks could have been prevented are being published at a pace not seen since the assassination of JFK. These three reporters combine their considerable expertise and offer a better insight than most, owing to their familiarity with Islamic terrorist groups and Miller's incredible face-to-face interview with Osama bin Laden. They do well in laying the foundation for placing the blame on FBI and CIA officials, going back as far as the PanAm accident in Lockerbie, Scotland, and up to the attack on the U.S.S. Cole in Yemen Harbor. Unfortunately, listening to their account of the myriad leads to who was actually behind the various attacks is often confusing. Perhaps the unabridged version would do a better job of separating the various players with similar sounding names. That aside, the authors do manage to pinpoint moments in time when events might have been different if agencies cooperated, the departments of State and Defense were not always at odds, and the age-old practice of self-preservation were not so prevalent in the U.S. government. Read by Miller, this highly intelligent and challenging book sheds light on what culminated in the worst terrorist attack in history. Recommended for all public library and military collections.
Joseph L. Carlson, Lompoc P.L., CA
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
The book puts much of the blame on the CIA and FBI, but what about G. W. Bush? What about his business dealings with the bin Laden family? What about the check Colin Powell gave the Taliban in spring 2001? And why were bin Laden's family (several of whom were in the U.S. on 9/11) given safe passage out of the country just days afterwards?
In the U.K., Salman Rushdie was quoted as saying he could not board a plane in the U.S. just PRIOR to 9/11, based on terrorist fears. (You can find his exact quote with a google command.) So the CIA, FBI, Bush (?) knew something was up. But these facts and more have been ignored by the mainstream U.S. media, including Mr. Miller (to his credit, he does mention the disturbing fact that after being elected, Bush pulled out the two submarines off of Afghanistan who were poised to launch an attack on bin Laden's camp there).
I believe the fairer word for the 9/11 tragedy is not "failure" but "willful ignorance."
Mr. Miller is an excellent journalist and his book is well worth reading, but it is not definitive.
Rosa La Luna
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Format: Hardcover
Up front let me apologize for being emotional in this review, as this true account is appalling in what should have been. The book describes the evolution of the 1990s through 9/11 of Bin Laden and the Al Queda that will haunt readers forever. The authors tie events together that show the magnitude of the failure of anti-terrorism efforts under three administrations including the present one. The authors claim several opportunities to stop the terrorists were available, but not acted on, as the threat had not incredulously surpassed the "acceptable level of terrorism". That is the frightening thought that especially Clinton and Bush II (even in his first year) could have done more and saved lives. Official inactivity and incompetence (the Attorney General cut the anti-terrorism funding) and missed opportunities led to irate agents unable to overcome politics as usual under presidents from both political parties.

This book is not for those still raw, as it is quite an eye-opening saga. As the country's powers debate homeland security and claim the high ground, they should read this book first so they cannot sleep better at night. While the President vacations; the Attorney General cries security wolf; the Congress posters to gain reelection; and Clinton rewrites his place in history, perhaps each will finally understand the real goal: no future American should suffer like those who seemed to have died for no reason except politics and incompetence.

Harriet Klausner
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Format: Paperback
Just finished reading The Cell. If anyone wants to know what went wrong on 9/11 just read this book. To try and blame one person or organization, except for the terrorists, for the death and destruction on 9/11 would be foolish. If the Towers were brought down in 1993 and toppled over each other, the death count would have been well over 100,000. John Miller, Stone and Mitchell do an incredible story detailing the events leading up to 9/11. I don't know the party affliation with any of these men but the story they present is fascinating. The book is summed up the best on page 332; Terrorism is cyclical, left alone it always comes back, usually bolder and more lethal. Additionally the fight against terrorism can't be conducted from afar, it requires in your face old fashion investigation. No matter how many lasers we have, smart bombs, stealth fighters,etc. what we need is 100 Louie Napoli, Don Sadowy and John O'Neils. Book should be required reading for all high school students, never to forget or let your guard down.
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Format: Hardcover
Many are asking the question of why the FBI and CIA failed to anticipate and prevent September 11, yet few have delivered as promising an answer as John Miller, Michael Stone and Chris Miller. (All three are journalists; Mr. Miller is one of the few Westerners to have interviewed Osama bin Laden, an account of which we read in the book).
The book begins in 1990 and traces the evolution of US-targeted Islamic terrorism. Starting with the assassination of Rabbi Meir Kahane (founder of the Jewish Defense League), "The Cell" chronicles such events as the bombing of the World Trade Center, the attacks against the US embassies in Kenya and Tanzania, the attack on the USS Cole, and September 11.
The narrative is fluid, indeed impressively so. Although the authors follow the lives of dozen terrorists and their activities, at no point does the reader feel lost. In fact, "The Cell" is probably as good an introduction as there is on those involved with September 11. What is also striking is the authors' tone: this book really feels like an answer to the question "why the FBI and CIA failed to stop the 9/11," rather than, "who should we blame for September 11."
In the end, the authors believe that America was just not alert enough to anticipate the threat. Inadequate coordination between the FBI, CIA, INS and others also played a big role, as did the fact that politics often undermined the work of intelligent officers. Unless these change, the authors warn, September 11 will not be the last terrorist attack that America suffers.
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