There are hundreds of men and women I have encountered throughout my life and whom I have worked alongside—in the FBI and in other government agencies, both in the United States and abroad—who deserve my thanks, but space constraints, security rules, people’s desire to stay out of the spotlight, and the limits of my own memory prevent me from directly naming everybody.
My wife, Heather, is the perfect partner in every sense of the word. Few people would put up with a spouse departing for weeks on end, and with not being told where he was going or even when he’d return, but Heather is a unique person. We have three young boys, Connor, Dean, and Dylan, who, with their laughs, smiles, and clear inner goodness, inspire me anew every day.
My father, for installing in me the same passion, work ethic, and commitment to doing the right thing that he had. To my mother, brother, and sister, for a lifetime of love.
Daniel Freedman, my friend and coauthor, was instrumental in helping to write this book. His work ethic, keen intellect, and energetic nature are the bedrock of this project. I am immensely appreciative of his incredible hard work and dedication. Special thanks also go to his wife, Becky—for putting up with the long and late hours we spent on the book—and to the two of them for being friends and family to Heather and me.
I have been fortunate to serve alongside, and learn from, many exceptional people from the U.S. law enforcement, military, and intelligence worlds, and from allied countries. Among them are, from the FBI: Carlos Fernandez, who is a great friend, trusted confidant, and superb colleague; Pat D’Amuro, for his exceptional character and support; Kenny Maxwell, who was always a great boss and trusted friend; and, from the Naval Criminal Investigative Service, Bob McFadden, the best partner anyone can have.
There are many others who deserve mention, among them Mark Fallon, Steve Corbett, Ken Reuwer, and Mike Gelles, from NCIS; Col. Scott Duke and his fusion team; and Tom Donlon, Don Borelli, Steve Bongardt, Debbie Doran, Stephen Gaudin, Bob Herrmann, Ryan Plunkett, Tom Neer, Bill Corbett, George Crouch, Joe Ennis, Russell Fincher, Aaron Zebley, Mike Butsch, Brian Getson, Jeff “Gunny” Ringel, Kevin Cruise, Dan Coleman, Kevin Donovan, Andy Arena, Mary Galligan, Barry Mawn, Jack Cloonan, Andre Khoury, John Anticev, Mike Anticev, Chris Reimann, Chuck Frahm, Amy Lyons, Mark Whitworth, Jerry Cocuzzo, Jim Margolin, Joe Valiquette, Ray Holcomb, Dan Fethiere, April Phillips, Abby Perkins, Hank Shaw, Scott Jessie, Frank Pellegrino, Jen Keenan, Joe Landers, Chris Nicholas, and John Liguori, from the FBI. Kathy MacGowan, Rosie Lepore, Barbara Calandra (my former secretary), Anita Waddell (who retired and is my office manager), Dennis Baker, and the many others in the FBI and in other agencies who support the agents in the field—without them, we would have no success.
I also worked alongside many fine men and women from the CIA, but by definition their jobs require that they remain anonymous. Then there are the officials from the State Department and the diplomatic service. Thank you all.
A special thank you also goes to all the people whom I worked with on the Joint Terrorism Task Force in New York, within my squad and beyond. Roger Koury for his unwavering friendship. Tom Corrigan (who sadly passed away in July 2011), Kevin Yorke, Kevin Butler, Louis Napoli, Brian Dennigan, Wayne Parola, Tom Ward, Terry McGhee, and Bobby Losada, from the NYPD. My team included men and women from the NYPD, the FBI, the Port Authority, and Homeland Security—it was an honor to work alongside you. In Yemen and across the world I served with members of the U.S. military—soldiers, sailors, and marines. You inspire me.
I’d also like to thank Mike Kortan, from the FBI’s public affairs office, for his help and guidance, and his predecessor, John Miller, who helped me with the process. John in many ways is responsible for this book—because he consistently encouraged me to write one. Thanks are also due to the FBI’s Prepublication Review Office, especially Zach Wright and Dennis Argall.
Every organization is only as good as its leaders. In the FBI I was fortunate to work under two directors, Louis Freeh and Robert Mueller. Our nation would greatly benefit if other leaders took lessons from your playbook.
Outside the FBI, the CIA, the military, and other agencies one commonly associates with fighting terrorism are the prosecutors—both in civilian and military courts—who work with us on the front lines to ensure that those we catch will stay locked up. I was fortunate to work alongside many of our nation’s best, including David Kelly, Pat Fitzgerald, and Ken Karas, who is now a judge. The staff of the Office of Military Commissions, both from the prosecution and the defense, who every day remind the world of who we are and what our country is about—we all owe you our gratitude.
During my career with the FBI I was fortunate to serve alongside outstanding officials from other countries, from whom I learned a great deal and with whom I formed great friendships. To John Bunn, Alan Fry, Peter Clarke, in the UK; and to Giuseppe Petronzi and Massimo De Benedittis, in Italy, to name just a few. My good friend Saad al-Khair, from Jordan, is no longer alive, but he taught me a great deal.
My friends in Singapore deserve special mention: Susan Sim, a colleague and a friend, was a great help with this book, as she is in other areas; and my friends from the different government agencies have my deep appreciation. Most, unfortunately, cannot be mentioned, other than Interpol president Khoo Boon Hui, but we indeed owe thanks to those involved in security in Singapore.
I’d now like to turn to those friendships I’ve developed since I left government. A special mention goes to those I work alongside who are today still on the front lines, especially Mohammed al-Missned, who is more than a friend, more like a brother, and who is always a few steps ahead of everyone else. The gifted diplomat Umej Singh Bhatia is both a good friend and someone I’ve learned a great deal from.
Another person who deserves mention is Lawrence Wright—his dedication to pursuing the truth, put together brilliantly in his book The Looming Tower, is a lesson to every aspiring journalist. Barry McManus, Steve Kleinman, Stephen White, Philip Zelikow, Mark Pritchard, Karen Greenberg, Dan Benjamin, Tim Andrews, Mike Jacobson, and other friends also teach me a great deal. My thanks also go to Mayor Rudy Giuliani, who gave me my first job after I left the bureau, and to Dan Connolly at Giuliani Partners, a high-minded true friend.
I also owe a debt of gratitude to my colleagues at The Soufan Group: Mark Smith, Ahmad Khalil, Heidi Fink, Sandy Choi, Angie Hutcheson, John Waddell, Bud Aldridge, Jim McGee, Ray Mey, my friend Mohammed Hanzab, and all our instructors, language teachers, interpreters, and the whole team at the Qatar International Academy for Security Studies (QIASS)—I treasure your friendship. Michael Lomonaco and Tim Brown from the excellent Porter House are two caring friends, as well as excellent hosts. To Sayeed Rahman, Liora Danan, Jared Wigdor, and Samm Tyroler-Cooper, our research interns who helped with this book.
While most of those whom I’d like to thank I’m able to, some are sadly no longer with us. The seventeen sailors who died on the USS Cole are heroes, in every sense of the word, whom I will never forget; and neither should America. Lenny Hatton was a heroic FBI agent who died on 9/11, running into the burning twin towers to try to save lives. Finally, there’s John O’Neill, my boss, friend, and mentor—who understood the threat more than anyone else. He died in the twin towers, too. John, more than anyone else, this is for you.
A special thank you goes to my agent, Andrew Wylie, who has guided me through the writing process, and to the team at his agency. Starling Lawrence, my very capable editor at Norton, and his team—Louise Brockett, Rachel Salzman, Melody Conroy, Bill Rusin, Nancy Palmquist, Don Rifkin, Anna Oler, and everyone else—did a wonderful job, and I owe my deep thanks to them for believing in this project and guiding it to fruition. Janet Byrne, who worked alongside Star as a second editor: her stunning skills and amazing tenacity transformed the original material into this book.
My final thanks go to the heroes of the country who are today still on the front lines—across the military, FBI, CIA, NCIS, and other agencies—and who every day put their lives on the line for us. Thank you.