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 John P. O'Neill

A briefcase containing classified documents about sensitive sources was stolen from the Tampa hotel room of FBI special agent John P. O'Neill during the summer of 2001. It was recovered, and an investigation determined the contents had not been compromised. O'Neill was not punished, but he soon decided to take early retirement after 31 years in the Bureau, 25 as a special agent. He was the Bureau's resident expert on international terrorism. On 22 August 2001 he left the FBI to become director of security at the World Trade Center on 11 September 2001. O'Neill never finished his first day on the job.

Nearly all the books about 9/11 mention O'Neill and note the irony of his leaving the Bureau when he did and the tragedy of his death. Murray Weiss has written a biography of the man that explains the severity of his loss and shows what inside- the-box thinking by management can do to creative, inspired, dedicated, passionate —if somewhat unorthodox—field agents. O'Neill played roles in most of the major terrorists incidents of the 1990s, including Oklahoma City, Khobar Towers, the embassy bombings in Nairobi and Tanzania, and the USS Cole suicide attack, all of which he viewed as tests of America's reaction and resolve. He was also involved in the capture in Qatar of Wali Khan Anim Shah (a participant in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing), and he headed the Washington end of the capture of Ramzi Yousef by Diplomatic Security Service agents in Pakistan. As he gained experience and a reputation for success, O'Neill also became the Bureau's guru on the perversely attractive Usama Bin Laden and al-Qa`ida—he believed what they said and was concerned others in government were indifferent.

Bureaucratic and interagency conflicts are inescapable with such an aggressive and competent personality, and Weiss deals with many such incidents. One involved a laptop belonging to Wali Shah in Qatar that the CIA acquired after Shah's capture by FBI. CIA was reluctant to share the data on the laptop, but O'Neill persisted and eventually got his copy. Overall he was fair and respected by all the agencies involved in counterterrorism with the exception of the embassy in Yemen. The ambassador had maintained the Terrorism threat was minimal in Yemen. As Weiss tells the story, the Cole bombing and other incidents suggested her estimate lacked credibility. Still, she made life difficult for O'Neill and his team investigating the case. She chose to demonstrate that her power trumped the counterterrorism investigation and eventually banned O'Neill from the country. Her position did not alter O'Neill's judgment that Usama bin Laden was heading for an attack on American soil.

The approach Weiss takes in his book does more than tell the story of John O'Neill's career. It also gives a look at the FBI and the way it functions, its traditions, its rigid rules that often result in self-inflicted wounds, and the reasons why it was something less than an efficient counterterrorist organ. Those concerned with how America fights counterterrorism—in or out of government—need to understand how the Bureau operates at the working level and how management affects its results. Murray Weiss offers a step toward this goal.

John P. O'Neill
John P. O'Neill
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updated Thu. May 25, 2017

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This year the Catholic Church celebrates the 100-year anniversary of the events at the Cova da Iria area of Fatima, Portugal, witnessed by three shepherd children who reported that they saw visions of Mary beginning on May 13, 1917, and then again on ...
Saturday's spring Commencement ceremony will loom as a huge milestone in the lives of 902 Gannon University graduates. As final exams are turned in, years of all-nighters, group projects and labs will all come together for all of the graduates' time in ...
Donald Trump and Malcolm Turnbull will discuss North Korea's "reckless and dangerous conduct" in a meeting shortly before a prestigious dinner with the likes of golfing legend Greg Norman, News Corp executive chairman Rupert Murdoch, mining magnate ...
Stamford - A city woman was among nearly 40 people in the New York area charged with stealing more than $1 million through a counterfeit check-cashing scheme, police said.
The National Labor Relations Board's Boston regional office is housed in the Thomas P. O'Neill Jr. Federal Building in Boston.
Timothy P. O'Neill is the Edward T. and Noble W. Lee Chair in Constitutional Law for 2014-15 at The John Marshall Law school in Chicago.
Richard Johnson will be crowned Champion Jump jockey for the second time at Sandown on Saturday. To mark the occasion, the Daily Telegraph assembled four of his predecessors Jonjo O'Neill, John Francome, Peter Scudamore and Sir AP McCoy, ...
Joon H. Kim, the acting United States Attorney in Manhattan, announced charges against three retired police officers and a former Brooklyn prosecutor in a federal corruption investigation.
The lead investigation agent, John P. O'Neill, who would be killed in the Sept. 11, 2001 World Trade Center bombing, assigned O'Connor to find the dead sailors.
The tragic story of John P. O'Neill, a senior FBI counter-terrorism agent who died during the attacks, is also explored.
Lawyers in a class-action lawsuit representing the family of slain former FBI counterterrorism official John P. O'Neill -- who perished in the 9/11 attacks at the World Trade Center -- named CAIR part of a criminal conspiracy to promote "radical ...
The family of John P. O'Neill, Sr., the former FBI counterterrorism chief who perished at the World Trade Center, named CAIR in a lawsuit as having "been part of the criminal conspiracy of radical Islamic terrorism" responsible for the September 11 ...
The family of John P. O'Neill, Sr., the former FBI counterterrorism chief who perished at the World Trade Center, named CAIR in a lawsuit as having "been part of the criminal conspiracy of radical Islamic terrorism" responsible for the September 11 ...
The tragic story of John P. O'Neill, a senior FBI counter-terrorism agent who died during the attacks, is also explored.
Atlantic City Mayor Don Guardian speaks during the Saracini-O'Neill 9/11 Memorial service in Atlantic City, Sunday Sep. 11, 2016.
Gen. Jeffrey L. Pierson, Sr. delivers the keynote speech during the Saracini-O'Neill 9/11 Memorial service in Atlantic City, Sunday Sep. 11, 2016.
A memorial ceremony held at the 9/11 memorial at Jackson Avenue and the Boardwalk. The resort's event honored Atlantic City natives Victor J. Saracini and John P. O'Neill who were killed during the 2001 attacks. Victor Saracini. Danny Drake. This ...
A memorial ceremony held at the 9/11 memorial at Jackson Avenue and the Boardwalk. The resort's event honored Atlantic City natives Victor J. Saracini and John P. O'Neill who were killed during the 2001 attacks. Victor Saracini. Danny Drake. This ...
The second, "The Counterterrorist," explores the career and death of John P. O'Neill, the FBI man whose obsession with Osama bin Laden fell was met largely with tragic shrugs.
... leader of al-Qaeda. The second, "The Counterterrorist", explores the career and death (in the World Trade Centre on September 11) of John P. O'Neill, an FBI agent whose obsession with Osama bin Laden in the late 1990s was met largely with shrugs.
Also this month: As the 15th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks approaches, FRONTLINE will air an encore presentation of The man Who Knew - the remarkable story of John P. O'Neill, the FBI's counterterrorism expert who had warned of al Qaeda's threat to ...
The second, "The Counterterrorist," explores the career and death of John P. O'Neill, the FBI man whose obsession with Osama bin Laden fell was met largely with tragic shrugs.
You should read the Story of Agent John P. O Neill. He connected the dots long before 9/11 and was shut down by intelligence agencies, who refused to act on intelligence had had painstakingly gathered, verified, organized, and presented to various ...
In fact, John P. O'Neill, an FBI agent working for Operation Able Danger while on assignment in Yemen had been able to link Israel to the attack on the USS Cole.


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