Skip to comments.9/11 Miniseries is Bunk
Posted on 09/11/2006 7:41:28 PM PDT by texas_mrs
ON THE MORNING of Sept. 11, 2001, Americans and the world froze, saddened and angry. Five years later, we stop to remember those we lost and those who have sacrificed in our defense since, and to reflect on what we must learn. History will define us not by the events of that day but by who we choose to become as a result.
Regrettably, ABC has chosen not to document but to dramatize this most critical of times. Its miniseries, "The Path to 9/11," opts for fiction when fact is needed and chooses mythmaking when the candor of history is called for. The 9/11 commission report tells the story with clear-eyed honesty, precision and studious impartiality. The ABC drama does not. The 9/11 commission spent hours interviewing virtually everyone connected not just with the events of that day but those involved in counter-terrorism over 25 years Republican as well as Democrat. ABC did not.
(Excerpt) Read more at latimes.com ...
Barbara Bodine is a certified documented liar.
And a bitch to boot.
ping to Bodine
I am sorry to say that this POS is an alumnus of the same university as me. What a maroon.
They COULD have done 10 more minutes of how much she sabotaged the "law enforcement" approach in Yemen.
This nasty hussy needs to be taken out, tarred and feathered, and then ridden out on a rail!
Is this Bodine as in "Jethro"?
Isn't that Richard Clarke a god? He did it all. The hero of 9/11. A hero for all times. What a piece of crap. He had to help write this movie. How much was he paid to come up with this work of fiction about himself. He is Frodo. He threw the ring in the fire. Go Frodo Clarke.
Al-Qaeda grew while Moanica blew.
Another cockroach from the Clintoon adminstration crawls out from her rock.
That bitch should have been under oath as a witness, not sitting on the Committee.
I believe nothing this woman says.
Stopped reading with: The 9/11 commission report tells the story with clear-eyed honesty, precision and studious impartiality.
Yep, she has a clue (sarc off for those who need it).
Hey Bodine, speaking of bunk, quit farting in yours. Your husband is starting to complain.
Based on her portrayal, she was a typical ambassador. She cared more for the country she was assigned to than her own. I literally wanted to strangle her while watching the movie. If she really conducted herself in such a way after the Cole attack, she deserves whatever comes to her, and I hope it's very bad.....
Jethro was the smart Bodine.
Able Danger anyone?
Look, we all know ambassadors are not experts at anything, let alone diplomats. Most are heavy campaign contributors who just wants a title (Joe Wilson?) and a soft vacation for a few years. Actor John Saxon (Chuy Medina the Scorpion King) amb of mexico, Shirley Temple Black amb of ?, Joe Kennedy Amb to Court of St James (UK). These people are usually hacks and/or meglomaniacs.
I can imagine why she is whining. She came across in the show as the ultimate Clintonista - more worried about some kind of legacy than in representing her country's interests.
Did 'Nightline' ask Gorelick why the FBI couldn't search Moussaui's laptop?
this just in:
crybaby btches cry like baby btches.
No wonder she'd blast the mini-series. Her portrayal tonight was astonishing in its brashness. She looked like a real (b)itch -- a stupid one, at that.
Leave it to a bitch to bitch.
As you can see not many Freepers want to look at anything LA Times prints.
I am happily astonished that ABC so clearly anti-Bush in the past even aired anything once Clinton complained.
Part 2 is about to start and if it does not bash Bush then ABC did something quite decent for a change.
History will show Clinton had one thing on his mind while "acting" as the POTUS - getting his zipper down!
I bet she can't even do her "gozintas".
I agree on Gorelick; to me, the media is complicit in all of this, for example, giving Gorelick the change to appear as an "expert" last night..
I was thinking tonight, I cannot name one Clinton adminstration official who hasn't put in their two cents worth.
O'Neill could have gotten those guys if Bodine hadn't been riding a peraonal paranoia train.
And another question: why are all these Democratic women so BUTCH?
If she is only 1% as nasty and incompetent as she was portrayed in the movie, she should be shot.
Judging from that movie, Clarke did everything on 9-11 except fly those planes.
Yeah, right, Clinton was obsessed with catching OBL.
PBS supports O'neils version, not Bodines
Even Richarde claek slams Bodine
Following Sept. 11, Fahad al-Quso was interrogated again in Yemen on Sept. 12, 13 and 14 by FBI and Navy investigators, who had only just returned to Yemen a few days earlier. One of O'Neill's last acts at the FBI in late August 2001 was to sign the authorization for that return.
Interrogators showed al-Quso the CIA surveillance photos taken at the critical January 2000 Malaysia meetings. Al-Quso identified Alhazmi and Almidhar and admitted he was a bagman for Al Qaeda, presumably to fund the conspirators' future operations. He claims he wasn't at the meetings, but that Alhazmi and Almidhar met with him soon after the meetings concluded.
One investigator admitted to FRONTLINE that al-Quso's connections to the 9/11 conspirators was a staggering revelation, and he still had nightmares about it. When asked what might have been discovered if they'd learned of al-Quso's connections earlier, he responded, "the possibilities are mind-boggling."
So there was the trail -- the pieces of information linking the Malaysia meetings in January 2000, to the USS Cole attack of October 2000, to the 9/11 plot. At those meetings in Malaysia, it's believed both the 9/11 and Cole plots were planned, their operatives met with each other, and investigators suspect one or more Al Qaeda operatives at the meetings worked both the Cole and 9/11 plots.
The stunning and logical question that hangs in the air about John O'Neill's compromised USS Cole investigation in Yemen is, "What if?"
What if FBI headquarters had backed O'Neill and pushed the State Department to allow him to return to Yemen in January 2001 (over the objections of U.S. Ambassador Barbara Bodine) to continue his investigation?
If O'Neill had been allowed to go back, what could he have done that wasn't already being done? Given his aggressiveness in investigations, it would have meant more wiretaps, more surveillance of suspects, and pushing the government for more arrests. And as his colleagues like Barry Mawn, Clint Guenther and Mary Jo White knew so well, it all would have been done in the John O'Neill style:
-- wining and dining the head of Yemen's PSO, Yemen's equivalent to the FBI...
-- working with the CIA agents in Yemen and building on those past relationships from his Station Alex days...
-- holding the Yemeni officials' feet to the fire to get more access to those detained, and using the interrogations to slowly unravel the Al Qaeda network in Yemen -- especially, Fahad al-Quso, who O'Neill knew had been holding back ...
This is the scenario that might have played out in Yemen and the one that still bothers O'Neill's former allies and supporters. For them, it is conceivable that, in the end, John O'Neill would have been able to learn about that critical January 2000 meeting in Malaysia, and to start connecting the dots that ultimately led to Sept. 11, 2001.
Read this April 2004 update on Fahad al-Quso and Tawfiq bin-Atash.
NSC Coordinator for Counterterrorism, 1992-2001
I think there were two things going on in Yemen. The first thing was the government of Yemen didn't want us to know all the details; in part, because that would reveal that some low-level people in the Yemeni government may have been part of the conspiracy; in part, because it would have shown that the Yemeni government didn't really have control over a large section of Yemen; in part because it would have shown that Yemen was filled with terrorists from a whole variety of different organizations. So Yemen didn't want to cooperate fully, didn't want us to see everything that was there.
The other thing that was going on was that you had an U.S. ambassador who wanted to be fully in control of everything that every American official did in the country, and resented the fact that suddenly there were hundreds of FBI personnel in the country and only a handful of State Department personnel. She wanted good relations with Yemen as the number one priority.
John O'Neill wanted to stop terrorism as the number one priority, and the two conflicted. Almost all of us who were following the details in Washington, whether we were in the Justice Department, the FBI, the White House, State Department, the Defense Department -- almost all of us thought that John O'Neill was doing the right thing.
But the State Department has to support its ambassador. State Department doesn't have a lot of assets. It doesn't have a lot of airplanes or a lot of guns. It's basically got its ambassador. It's got a letter to every ambassador from the president of the United States saying, "You, Ambassador, are my personal representative in the country. You're in charge of everything the United States does." So when the ambassador makes the decision, the State Department feels, for institutional reasons, that they have to back her up.
So I think even though the people we were working with in the State Department who were following the case thought the ambassador was wrong, nonetheless, they decided to back her up.
Head of the FBI's New York office, 2000-2002
Were Washington headquarters or the FBI happy that O'Neill was going [to Yemen]?
My recollection is that I got questioned on it, "Is John the best guy to send?" I had no hesitancy, and said, "Absolutely, he's the best guy to send."
But soon there's friction between the U.S. ambassador in Yemen, Barbara Bodine, and O'Neill.
Initially, some of the main areas of disagreement were security, amounts of people that were over in Yemen, as well as, potentially, who was in charge and who was running it.
That being said, with the FBI and with John, there's no question that we recognize the ambassador is the person in charge, the president's representative in a foreign country; the person, overall, responsible for everything that happens with U.S. citizens over there.
But we also take a view recognizing that, if there's an investigation, that we're in charge of the investigation. We don't cut in people just for the sake of them being in the know. We realize, obviously, the ambassador should be briefed as to what's going on, what's happening and, in particular, if we're encountering any difficulties.
To a certain extent, some of the reporting that John told me is that she became very involved, and wanted to know exactly what was going on, when and where. And that's kind of contrary to our thinking. If there's a need to know, or if it's something that's obviously going to impact on those country authorities then, obviously, we'd tell. So that's one issue.
There was also, in John's mind, security -- [in] which I fully supported him -- that we go over as a big group. What we like to do is send over either a hostage rescue team or some of our SWAT fellows to provide security for the agent investigators, for the bomb techs, for the folks doing the Evidence Response Team. We like to have an in-house security. So we go as a pretty big package.
When we initially responded, we were probably a couple hundred in strength. Being fair to the ambassador, she maybe got some flack from Yemen authorities as to the overwhelming U.S. government response to this particular incident, that we didn't need to be as strong as we were.
Again, I fully believed and supported John as far as security. Yemen is a tough country. I guess there's more guns than people. I don't know if it was particularly friendly to the U.S. investigators, so we wanted to be secure with our people. I didn't want to send anybody over there and get them hurt.
What is your sense of O'Neill's feelings as he comes up against these obstacles?
I think he was very frustrated in that he wasn't being allowed to do his job, that he wasn't getting support, and that she was supporting the Yemen authorities, as opposed to the investigators and himself. Of course, our view on that is you're the U.S. ambassador. We understand your position. But you need to be weighing in for us more so than the Yemenis, and she had her own ideas. She basically wanted to have a smaller contingent of people over there as possible. That's not how we operate. Things just continued to escalate.
I really think it became a personality conflict between the two of them. Whether she viewed John as coming in and trying to take over and was usurping her as the head U.S person or not, I don't know. But I think that was probably part of it. Again, I don't know. With these two individuals, I think from the get-go, they probably rankled one another, and it went from bad to worse.
In the upper echelons of the FBI, this may be confirming people's worst fears about O'Neill?
There may have been people at FBI headquarters that were going, "See, I told you so. John does upset people, and get them upset. And maybe he wasn't the right guy." But that's all childish gossip and rumoring, as far as I'm concerned.
But it proved to be true in some ways.
In some ways. But at the same time, I'd balance that against, "Who is the right guy to go? What do we need to get done, and who's going to know what to do?" In that regard, there are very few in the FBI that had the criteria to go over and do the job that he did.
I should tell you the story. When I went over there, one of the complaints against him is that John didn't have any knowledge, that he was a cowboy; he was upsetting the Yemenis; he didn't know how to get along, and that they were all making complaints about him. Initially, I found that very hard to believe. I had seen John in New York with a lot of people from the Arab countries come in and visit with him. I know he had gone over there. I knew he was well thought of by Arab intelligence agencies and law enforcement. I knew he was well thought of by other U.S. ambassadors. So I had a hard time accepting this.
I was there for about a week and half. One of the evenings that I went -- [the head of the PSO], which is the equivalent of the director of the FBI that we're talking to --he, unsolicited, said that when the USS Cole first happened, he said the entire government response was pretty large. He was referring to not only the FBI, but the State Department, the agency, and primarily the military. The military responded there in very big fashion, obviously, because the ship had been bombed. They had people hurt. So they came in there.
I said, "Did you have a problem with our presence?" He said, "No, I never cared about the FBI. You could have a thousand FBI here, because we're both working to do the same thing. We're looking to get who's responsible for this. No, I have no problem with the FBI being here, and you can decide whatever you want as to how many you have here."
So that refuted anything that I heard. It was also said that they didn't like him. I mean, that was clearly not observed by me in going with these visits every night.
Then January 2001 comes, and O'Neill wants to go back to Yemen. But Ambassador Bodine wouldn't give him clearance.
What it told me is that, clearly, the ambassador had the upper hand, she was backed by the State Department, and that we had to find another way of addressing it.
How did O'Neill handle it?
I think John was upset. This didn't help him. She was badmouthing him. She had caused a stir at headquarters. I actually think John was more disappointed that our headquarters didn't back us as far as sending him back, and taking a stronger stand with the State Department. Eventually, our headquarters said, "Let's try and work around."
What did that say to you about headquarters and John O'Neill?
On that particular issue, they decided that they weren't going to take that on. They got to make that their other options, as opposed to having a turf battle with State Department. They may have been right; I'm not saying they were wrong there. But I felt the investigation was important.
Did we lose anything by not sending John O'Neill back into that place?
I felt that we didn't progress as quickly as we could have by John not going back. John kind of held their feet to the fire. He had developed the relationship with the head of the PSO. By John not going back, we lost contact with the head of PSO. The director of the PSO is not going to see John's deputy or lower-level people. So there's that protocol situation.
If we had sent him back, I think the information and progress in the investigation would have gone quicker and smoother. I think we were somewhat frustrated. There was a deliberate slowing down. I think John could have kept that on track.
Former FBI Agent NYC - Counterterrorism
Do you remember his first phone call back to you where he mentioned [Ambassador] Bodine and what his reaction to all this was?
One of his first calls back where you knew that he was having problems with the ambassador was when he had gotten his people into Aden and realized that there were no facilities available for them to stay. There was no hotel available. A lot of other government agencies had sent people over there. A lot of intelligence groups had sent people, and there was absolutely no place for FBI personnel to stay. The ambassador basically just said, "Let them sleep on the floor in the ballroom, because we're not finding additional facilities for them."
And John, being a guy who always took care of his troops was just incensed that she would not try to find some sort of accommodations so that he could make his people as comfortable as possible also. Right then and there, you knew that there was going to be strife between the two, because John was going to take care of his people, and he was going to do everything he possible could to make sure that they had what they needed to conduct their investigation.
So what was the next problem with Bodine?
The next thing with her was guns, weapons. She couldn't understand why our personnel needed to be armed. She wanted the weapons sent out of the country immediately. As a matter of fact, I think she even commanded that they turn in their weapons the next military flight that came through, they would all be shuttled out of the country. John wouldn't stand for that. He stood his ground on that and did win the fight.
The next battle that I recall that they had was over manpower. The ambassador decided that there were absolutely too many people involved in this investigation. She made an arbitrary decision as to how many she thought that O'Neill would need to conduct his investigation. If memory serves me right, I think 27 was the number or something like that. She came up with this number. I don't know how she derived that number, but she did.
Therefore, John was only allowed to have 27 people in the country at a time and, if he wanted to bring in, say, five additional specialized investigators, well then five people would have to leave. This became impossible for John O'Neill to comprehend, because he wanted his people there. He wanted them there now. He didn't want to have to give up people. He didn't want to give up security personnel in order to bring investigators in. But that's what she was forcing him to do was to make these compromises and he was incensed by that.
So what did he do?
He did learn to play her game to some degree. Every time he wanted to try to get some personnel in, they would be in negotiations to try to say, "Well, I can't lose five people. Can I send out three people for the five?" Depending on any given day or argument, he would win certain concessions. That's the way he had to play to game.
So what was this doing to the investigation?
It was bogging it down. I mean, surely we could've used all the manpower. It would've helped to have had as many people as possible early on. It would have benefited her also, because we could've gotten accomplished what needed to be done as far as evidence recovery, going over the crime scene, and moving on.
Tell me about the phone call that he was talking about with his dealing with the ambassador.
It was sometime early on in his stay over there. But it was after he had several encounters with Madame Ambassador that he called back one time and I got him on the phone. I think we were getting ready to do a conference call. He says in the impish way that he could have, "Clint. I have tried everything in my power to win this woman over with my O'Neill charm, but it just isn't working. I don't understand this." So he laughed at himself and went on.
That was the way it was. I don't think that he ever hated the woman or had any real dislike for her. He just couldn't understand why he couldn't get her to see his way and to deal with him.
To some extent, perhaps headquarters helped or didn't help enough in clearing it up and standing behind John O'Neill?
I think the stance in Washington at all levels was that Ms. Bodine was coming to the end of her tenure over there and would be rotating out in August of last year anyway, so let's just let it flow and have the transition occur normally. That didn't help O'Neill's case at all, because there was still a lot of investigative time between present, when they were having the problems, and when she was going to be leaving.
They were out for months?
They were out for a month or a little bit more than a month. Probably around July that we started focusing on coming up with a plan and working with the embassy over there to try to establish a reentry. That's when John said, "Well, I'll go over and sit down with the ambassador and we'll work out the details," and she denied him entry into the country.
John kind of wore that as, I think, a badge of some type. He was very amused that it was determined that he was persona non grata. He never got furious over it. He was kind of tickled by it.
Now we know the connections. There were connections between some of the individuals there in Yemen and the Malaysian meetings and some of the [9/11] hijackers. There were dots to be connected. What did we lose by, months before 9/11, having to pull out the best people to investigate the case, having to pull them out of Yemen?
That's hard to say, what we lost. We could've lost a lot. We could've lost the intelligence that could've connected that dot to the World Trade Center. I don't know that to be a fact, but a lot of the Al Qaeda people are coming out of Yemen. A lot of the Yemenis are involved. I think if we could have had better investigative effort over there, had been able to build the confidence of the local law enforcement, we may have been able to find people, interrogate them, and get a lot more intelligence that would have shown us something going on.
It's kinda hard when you don't have one.
The subversive wing of State was operational here.
Seems not all the DUmmies are pleased with Slick:
tularetom (1000+ posts) Mon Sep-11-06 03:41 PM Response to Original message
6. Clinton when confronted - "Ah didn't tell 'em to write that"
"Anybody can hide behind a lawyer especially someone who is trying to stay on the good side of ol' GHW Bush and preserve his future place on the Carlyle board of directors.
"But you won't see Clinton stand up like a man and denounce this (expletive deleted). I've defended this wimp for 10 years, but if he won't stand up for himself, (expletive deleted) him. If everybody wants to believe 9/11 was his fault, and he won't lift a finger to contradict them, then maybe there is some truth to it.
"The only bad part is he is dragging good people like Albright and Berger down with him."
Me too. Barbara Bodine and the odious Joseph Wilson are both distinguished alum. Not much to be proud of there.
Just heard Shrilary being interviewed on tv...She said Ya-Know about every 4rth word! We got her. She cant talk..When she's lying she says Ya-Know, which is all the time. Pass it on. Ya-Know!
RE: Post #9 - I like your style.
I'm waiting to hear some enumeration of just WHAT was/were the horrible lies told by the TPT911. I'd really like to hear what was inaccurate, and what the "truth" was. Let's see...Clinton wasn't a no-show in the larval war on terror because of Monica...he did nothing for much more serious reasons. His legacy? Too busy selling missile tech top the ChiComs? Sax lessons? Had to collect a whopper campaign contribution? Or...there was a damn good reason why Sandy Berger couldn't give approval for the OBL hit....LIKE WHAT? What was the excuse? Didn't have the right asortment of merit badges, wasn't an Eagle scout yet? Had to get his car fixed? How about Maddy? Conflict with her facelift schedule? Notice NONE of the howling of the dems lists what alleged lies are lies? Or, as I suspect they'd say "IT'S ALL LIES!!!" "It's all deny deny equivocate fudge deny change subject deny obfuscate fudge deny hey looky over here ever seen one of these?"
FWIW, I thought the show was pretty damn decent.
Barbara Bodine, Queen of Baghdad. CNN reports that the postwar Iraq state will be governed by none other than terrorists' friend and former ambassador to Yemen Barbara Bodine:A central sector, including Baghdad, will be administered by Barbara Bodine, a former U.S. ambassador to Yemen, the sources said. She served in that post in October 2000, when the destroyer USS Cole was bombed in Aden harbor.Barbara was central to defeating the FBI's counterterrorism investigation of the USS Cole bombing in Yemen while she was ambassador there as reported by PBS Frontline.
That investigation was headed by John O'Neill, the maverick FBI counterterrorism expert who was forced out of the bureau in August 2001 because he wouldn't act appropriately worshipful of his inept superiors like interim FBI director Tom Pickard. O'Neill had the names of two of the hijackers who flew into the Pentagon on his desk one month before 9-11, when he was kicked out the FBI door. He subsequently took a job which turned out to be his last John O'Neill died in the attack on his new employer, the World Trade Center in New York City.
Barbara Bodine, the new Queen of Baghdad, is ironically enough the same person who forced O'Neill out of Yemen in 2001 as he tried to connect the Al-Qaeda dots back to Osama bin Laden, who had known ties to Yemen and who is not now, and never was, Iraqi.
Barbara Bodine is a harbinger of death. She stymied the USS Cole investigation, and helped to prevent the one man who was figuring out Osama bin Laden's real story from acting effectively. Her presence in the scheme for postwar Baghdad expands the arguments about incompetence and deception as basic principles of Bush foreign policy.
Thanks to American Samizdat for the link.
Poor Barbara Bodine and the rest of her left, Hate-America US State Department ilk
got slaughtered BY THEIR VERY OWN ABC.
The 9-11 ABC movie was a disaster for the Clintons.
That's why they reacted so hard .
Poor Bill and his fellow lefties----
clobbered by their own ABCTV.
By Barbara Bodine, BARBARA BODINE was U.S. ambassador to Yemen from 1997-2001. She is a visiting scholar at MIT's Center for International Studies.
For an even more complete account of this BITCH's digusting performance (AND that of the weenies at The State Department, and the "higher ups" at the FBI for that matter) than provided in Path, here is the relevant section from the script to PBS's Frontline documentary about O'Neil, "The Man Who Knew":
O'Neill had his agents paying attention to American embassies, especially in Jordan and Saudi Arabia, and U.S. military targets because an Egyptian informant had told them an American warship would be hit by Al Qaeda.
Then, on October 12th, 2000, Al Qaeda struck. The guided missile destroyer USS Cole was the target of a suicide mission. Seventeen sailors died.
BARRY MAWN, Director FBI NYC '00-'02: John came to me and said "It's Al Qaeda," and I totally agreed with him. And he said, "You got to get to the director, and we got to get this so the New York office responds initially.''
NARRATOR: At headquarters, down in the SIOC, there was once again strong resistance to the idea of sending O'Neill and his crew from New York to Yemen. It took hours for Barry Mawn to convince Director Freeh to let New York take the lead and to authorize O'Neill as the on-scene commander.
INTERVIEWER: Washington Headquarters of the FBI happy that O'Neill was going?
BARRY MAWN: My recollection is that I got questioned on it. "Is John the best guy to send?" And I had no hesitancy and said, "Absolutely, he's the best guy to send."
INTERVIEWER: Why would they have said that?
BARRY MAWN: Well, again, I think it kind of goes back to a little bit of the history John had with some of the folks back there, that there was probably some questioning as, "Well, do we want to send O'Neill?" And "He does have sharp elbows" or "His style may be -- " they were concerned that he wasn't the best guy to go, and that you needed someone more of a diplomat to -- in my view, to a certain extent, is when you have a major incident like that, you really don't need a diplomat at that particular point in time. You need somebody that knows what to do and is going to do it and get it done.
NARRATOR: Headquarters gave in to Mawn. This time, O'Neill was named on-scene commander in charge of the Yemen investigation.
FRAN TOWNSEND: And he was like a kid. He couldn't have been any more excited. I can remember him leaving the office to go to his apartment to pack a bag to go. And he was so pleased. He said, "This is it for me." You know, "I needed this. I needed this." And in some ways, he believed it was a vindication of him, and that the bag incident wasn't that important, because if it had been that important, they wouldn't have sent him, if the bureau thought it was that important.
NARRATOR: O'Neill and the members of his rapid deployment team immediately headed for Yemen. O'Neill knew time was of the essence. The Al Qaeda attacks had been coming more frequently.
CHRIS ISHAM: This was a case that he was really pushing hard on, that he understood that this wasn't just a venue where they set off a bomb, that there were connections between Yemen and east Africa, and Yemen and Afghanistan, and Yemen and Europe, and that there were -- this was very much of an important operational base for these guys, and that if he could illuminate that base, that he could begin to really put a dent in this network.
NARRATOR: But when he got to Yemen, O'Neill discovered how hard his task was going to be.
MICHAEL DORSEY, Naval Criminal Investigative Service: It's much like living in a 14th-century or a 15th-century country, listening to sporadic gunfire from AK-47s. And certainly, Yemen was bin Laden's back yard. That's where he was from. That's where his family is from. That's where he lived. And we recognized that. It was very difficult to get information out of the Yemeni security forces to actually cooperate with us initially. They were suspect of the U.S. government being in their territory and what our ultimate purposes were.
FRAN TOWNSEND: They're in impossible conditions, the agents. They don't have anyplace to sleep. He's got agents sleeping on the floor. They're working ridiculous hours. It's hot as all get-out. And you're in an impossible -- and it's in a hostile environment.
MICHAEL DORSEY: We had to move in caravans from the hotel out to the Cole, or from the hotel to some of the sites where we believed the terrorists and their support network had been. And those were in caravans of NCIS-FBI personnel, all armed, surrounded by Yemeni security force personnel. So these caravans would be 8, 10, 12 cars long. It was certainly announcing our presence. Any time we went somewhere, everybody in that city knew who we were and where we were going. And it gave us an uneasy feeling.
NARRATOR: To protect the hundreds of investigators on the ground, O'Neill and American military commanders wanted to show the Yemenis a forceful presence -- guns ready, perimeters established. But much to O'Neill's surprise, that approach quickly angered the American ambassador, Barbara Bodine, who felt his actions were harming U.S.-Yemeni government relations.
Subject: Amb. Barbara K. Bodine
Postings: Hong Kong
RICHARD CLARKE, NSC Chief of Counterterrorism '92-'01: You had an ambassador who wanted to be fully in control of everything that every American official did in the country and resented the fact that suddenly there were hundreds of FBI personnel in the country and only a handful of State Department personnel. She wanted good relations with Yemen as the number-one priority. John O'Neill wanted to stop terrorism as the number-one priority. And the two conflicted.
FRAN TOWNSEND, Deputy U.S. Attorney general '95-'01: This results in meetings between the attorney general and State, FBI, C.I.A. and Justice. But Ambassador Pickering is at it, the undersecretary, and the attorney general. Things are getting raised to that kind of a level, this has become such a bone of contention between them.
RICHARD CLARKE: Almost all of us who were following the details in Washington, whether we were in the Justice Department, the FBI, the White House, the State Department, the Defense Department -- almost all of us thought that John O'Neill was doing the right thing.
NARRATOR: But not the higher-ups at the FBI.
BARRY MAWN, Director FBI NYC '00-'02: There may have been people at FBI headquarters that were going, "See? I told you so." You know, "John does upset people and get them upset. And maybe he wasn't the right guy." But that's -- I mean, that's all childish gossip and rumoring, as far as I'm concerned.
NARRATOR: But on the ground in Yemen, the law enforcement agents saw a very different John O'Neill.
MICHAEL DORSEY: I think he developed a real sense of closeness with the senior Yemeni officials. They referred to him in Arabic as "Alach [sp?]," which is "the brother," and oftentimes referred to him as "the commander" or "your commander." They had a real sense of appreciation for his seniority in the U.S. government and for what he represented. And I knew that they came to trust John.
NARRATOR: For six years at the center of the FBI's counterterrorism effort, O'Neill and his team had built the evidence on the mounting bin Laden threat: failed plots to kill hundreds of Americans in Jordan, Ressam's explosives headed to LAX, an aborted Al Qaeda plot to blow up another American warship, the USS The Sullivans, and now the Cole. The Yemenis finally agreed to let the FBI join in the interrogation of one of their most prominent suspects, Fahad al Quso.
O'Neill and his agents believed al Quso knew about bin Laden's desire to videotape the destruction of the Cole, and possibly a whole lot more. O'Neill worked his newly developed Yemeni police officials and old allies in the CIA.
NARRATOR: He had come to believe that some Yemeni officials were not being forthcoming about information from al Quso and other suspects. It was the Khobar Towers investigation all over again.
But the weeks were taking their toll. O'Neill needed a break. He'd get back to al Quso after he returned from New York at the first of the year.
VALERIE JAMES: I have to tell you, when John came home -- he got home, I think it was two days before Thanksgiving because he kept telling me he was going to try to be home for Thanksgiving. He -- John had dropped 20, 25 pounds.
NARRATOR: In New York, he plotted his return to Yemen. He had taken a Yemeni police delegation on a tour of Elaine's and other hotspots. He was working them, trying to get unfettered access to al Quso and what he knew. But then he was told he wouldn't be allowed to return to Yemen. Ambassador Bodine denied his visa.
CHRIS ISHAM, ABC News: I mean, John was not rational on the topic of Ambassador Barbara Bodine. He was -- I mean, "livid" would be putting it mildly. I mean, one can't forget that John was -- he very American, but he was also very Irish.
INTERVIEWER: And that means?
CHRIS ISHAM: That means when he got hot, he got hot. And he was hot. There's no question about it. I think he felt that she was on the wrong side.
NARRATOR: Ambassador Bodine would not grant FRONTLINE's request for an interview. She was quoted in The New Yorker magazine. "The idea that John or his people or the FBI were somehow barred from doing their job is insulting to the U.S. government, which was working on Al Qaeda before John ever showed up. This is all my embassy did for 10 months."
For weeks, the ambassador had been making the case against O'Neill, even lobbying Louis Freeh. Finally, her accusations had their intended effect. Headquarters supported her decision not to let O'Neill back into Yemen.
BARRY MAWN: John was upset. She was bad-mouthing him. She had caused a stir at headquarters. I actually think John was more disappointed that our headquarters didn't back us, as far as sending him back and taking a stronger stand with the State Department. Eventually, our headquarters said, "Well, let's try and work around not having John go back." And so that's what I had to do.
NARRATOR: So O'Neill would not be in Yemen. The investigation slowed to a crawl.
MICHAEL SHEEHAN, Chief Counterterrorism, State Dept. '98-'01: I watched with dismay as the issue of the USS Cole completely disappeared from the U.S. scene, completely -- again, in a new administration. It was just not on their agenda. Clearly, it was not on the agenda of the Congress, the media or anyone else. Again, it went into oblivion.
NARRATOR: By spring, intelligence about Al Qaeda forces in Yemen convinced O'Neill they were about to target his agents. O'Neill pleaded with Barry Mawn to pull them out, and Mawn agreed. O'Neill's investigation in Yemen was effectively over.
This is one of the most laughable non-denial denials I ever read.
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