Ex-FBI agent Coleen Rowley recalls the disconnect between Washington’s pre-9/11 foot-dragging and how FBI field agents pounced on early evidence of the plot, particularly the mysterious behavior of Zacarias Moussaoui, an al-Qaeda operative who was taking flight lessons in Minnesota.
After FBI headquarters treated the warnings as a low priority, al-Qaeda proceeded with the 9/11 attacks. Rowley said the FBI immediately understood that its top-level neglect of the earlier leads had contributed to the catastrophe.
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Rowley’s protest of the FBI’s 9/11 failures won her recognition as one of Time magazine’s “Persons of the Year” in 2002, which honored three female whistleblowers.
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