October 2, 2008
The FBI has blocked two of its veteran counterterrorism agents from going public with accusations that the CIA deliberately withheld crucial intelligence before the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks.
FBI Special Agents Mark Rossini and Douglas Miller have asked for permission to appear in an upcoming public television documentary, scheduled to air in January, on pre-9/11 rivalries between the CIA, FBI and National Security Agency.
The program is a spin-off from The Shadow Factory: The Ultra-Secret NSA from 9/11 to the Eavesdropping on America, by acclaimed investigative reporter James Bamford, due out in a matter of days.
The FBI denied Rossini and Miller permission to participate in the book or the PBS “NOVA” documentary, which is also being written and produced by Bamford, on grounds that the FBI “doesn’t want to stir up old conflicts with the CIA,” according to multiple reliable sources.
Bamford, contacted by phone, said he could not comment because his publisher has embargoed his new book for release around Oct. 10.
The author of two other ground-breaking books on the NSA, Bamford also said his general policy is not to discuss his negotiations for interviews with intelligence agencies.
Pre-9/11 intelligence mishaps have been generally attributed to bureaucratic screw-ups — a “failure to connect the dots,” exacerbated by spy agency rivalries.
But Rossini and Miller, who were assigned to the CIA-run Counterterrorist Center during the run-up to the 9/11 attacks, are prepared to describe on camera how the CIA blocked them from sharing crucial intelligence with FBI headquarters – and then later pressured them not to tell the truth to investigators.
The first allegation is not entirely new, having been reported by author Lawrence Wright in his 2006 book, The Looming Tower: Al Qaeda and the Road to 9/11, among other places.