3,568. 5/21/2002

On May 21, 2002, “Coleen Rowley, a senior agent in the FBI’s Minneapolis office…sent a scathing thirteen-page letter to the congressional committee investigating pre-9/11 governmental preparedness. Rowley wrote that the FBI bureaucrats in Washington had prevented agents in her office from aggressively investigating [potential terrorist] Zacarias Moussaoui, a flight-school trainee arrested on immigration violations three weeks before 9/11; Washington repeatedly rejected the agents’ pleas to obtain a search warrant that would allow them to look at Moussaoui’s computer and search his belongings. Though the current FBI director, Robert Mueller III, was not in charge of the FBI at the time, Rowley accused him of trying to cover up the agency’s blunders by publicly downplaying the value of the pre-9/11 warning signs it had ignored. The clues reported by agents in Minneapolis and Phoenix, Rowley contended, could have tipped off the government to an impending Qaeda strike in the United States.”

 – Frank Rich, The Greatest Story Ever Sold, Page 48

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