Interviews

The following people were interviewed on the record on one or more occasions for this series.

Peter Baker is the Chief White House Correspondent for the New York Times who has covered the last five American presidents. He is also a former White House and Moscow correspondent for the Washington Post

 

He is the author of several books, including Days of Fire: Bush and Cheney in the White House, and, most recently, co-author of The Man Who Ran Washington: The Life and Times of James A. Baker III

Milt Bearden is a thirty-year veteran of the Central Intelligence Agency's clandestine service.

 

In 1986, he took over as CIA chief of station in Islamabad, Pakistan, where he oversaw the agency's covert action support for the mujahedeen fighting against Soviet forces in neighboring Afghanistan. He ran the program during the final three years of the Soviet occupation and ultimate withdrawal. For his service, he was awared the Distinguished Intelligence Medal, the CIA's highest decoration. 

He was the author of the novel The Black Tulip, and co-author of The Main Enemy: The Inside Story of the CIA's Final Showdown with the KGB. He has also worked as a consultant for films including Meet the Parents, The Good Shepherd, and Charlie Wilson's War.

Diana Bolsinger is a veteran of the Central Intelligence Agency and the State Department.  Her career included assignments as an analyst on the agency's Afghan Task Force and at the Counterterrorist Center, as well as a diplomatic posting in Islamabad, Pakistan. 

She is currently a lecturer and graduate director of the Intelligence and National Security Master of Science program at the University of Texas at El Paso.

Mark Bowden was a journalist at the Philadelphia Inquirer for two decades. He is a contributing writer for The Atlantic and other magazines. 

He is also the author of several books, including Black Hawk Down: A Story of Modern War, and The Finish: The Killing of Osama bin Laden.

Prudence Bushnell was a career diplomat who, during her time at the State Department, worked her way up and eventually served as Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs from 1993 to 1996, as well as two ambassadorships from 1996 through 2002.  She was the U.S. ambassador to Kenya in August of 1998 when al Qaeda attacked the American embassy in Nairobi.

She is the author of the book Terrorism, Betrayal, and Resilience: My Story of the 1998 U.S. Embassy Bombings.

Colin Clarke is a Senior Research Fellow at the Soufan Center and Director of Policy and Research at the Soufan Group. Previously, he was a professor at Carnegie Mellon University and a senior political scientist at the RAND Corporation.

 

He is the author of several books about terrorism, most recently After the Caliphate: The Islamic State and the Future Terrorist Diaspora.

Pat D'Amuro is a 26-year veteran of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. During the course of his career, he worked in the criminal, counterintelligence and counterterrorism divisions, mainly out of New York. After 9/11, he was chosen by FBI Director Robert Mueller to serve as the bureau's lead agent in the September 11th investigation, where he reported directly to Mueller and Attorney General John Ashcroft. He retired at the rank of Assistant Director of the New York Office

He is currently the Chairman and CEO of Global Risk and Investigative Diligence.

John Feal was the supervisor of a demolition company when he went to Ground Zero twelve hours after the attacks to assist in the rescue and recovery efforts. A few days later, his foot was crushed by a steel beam, and he had to have part of it amputated. 

Today, he is the founder of the FealGood Foundation and an advocate for first responders. He would later team up with comedian Jon Stewart to lobby Congress to permanently reauthorize the 9/11 Victims Compensation Fund, to ensure health care and compensation for first responders and survivors who were exposed to toxic fumes and chemicals in Manhattan after 9/11.  

David Kelley is a 17-year veteran of the Department of Justice, where he ultimately rose to the rank of U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York. Between 1995 and 2002, he served as chief of the organized crime and terrorism unit. He was involved in the criminal investigations for the Africa embassy bombings, the USS Cole, and the Millennium plots. He also prosecuted Ramzi Yousef and John Walker Lindh.  

 

He is currently a lawyer in private practice at the firm Dechert LLP.  

John Lange served in the State Department for 28 years. During the course of his foreign service career, he held positions in France, Mexico, Togo, and Botswana, as well as stints as deputy inspector general and as special representative on avian and pandemic influenza. In August of 1998, he was the acting ambassador at the U.S. Embassy in Tanzania when it was targeted by Al Qaeda. 

He is currently the United Nations Foundation’s Senior Fellow for Global Health Diplomacy.

Kirk Lippold served in the United States Navy for 26 years before retiring at the rank of commander in 2007. He was the commanding officer of the USS Cole when it was attacked by al Qaeda operatives in October of 2000. In 1983, he deployed to Beirut in support of the U.S. Marines and the Multinational Peacekeeping Force. While he was there, a suicide bomber nearly destroyed the U.S. Embassy building, killing 63 people, including 17 Americans. 

He is the author of the book Front Burner: Al Qaeda's Attack on the USS Cole.

Ken Maxwell served in the Federal Bureau of Investigation for 23 years, where he spent most of his career in counterterrorism. He was a founding member of the first Joint Terrorism Task Force in the country when it was formed in May of 1980. In 1993, he assisted in the investigation of the World Trade Center bombing.  In 1996, he was one of the bureau's chief investigators looking into the TWA 800 explosion.  He was later deployed to Kenya and Tanzania in August of 1998 to investigate the Africa embassy bombings.

Terry McDermott is a former Los Angeles Times journalist with more than 30 years’ experience in the profession. He is the author of the book Perfect Soldiers – The Hijackers: Who They Were, Why They Did It, and co-author of The Hunt for KSM: Inside the Pursuit and Takedown of the Real 9/11 Mastermind, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed

Paul Pillar is a 28-year veteran of the American intelligence community. A former US Army reserve officer who served in Vietnam, he joined the CIA in management and intelligence analysis track. He worked as chief of analysis at the CIA’s Counterterrorist Center starting in the spring of 1993 and would go on to serve as deputy chief of the center from 1997 through 1999. 

 

He is a nonresident senior fellow at the Center for Security Studies at Georgetown University and a contributing editor to The National Interest.  He is author of the books Terrorism and U.S. Foreign Policy and Intelligence and U.S. Foreign Policy: Iraq, 9/11, and Misguided Reform.  

Frank Pellegrino spent 33 years in the Federal Bureau of Investigation, where he was a member of the Joint Terrorism Task Force in the New York office.  He was involved in the World Trade Center bombing investigation, where he and officials from the ATF and Secret Service were assigned with investigating two fugitives, one of which was Ramzi Yousef, the mastermind of the attack. Pellegrino and his partner, Port Authority detective Matthew Besheer, would spend the next several years chasing Ramzi Yousef and later, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed all over the world.

Andrea Poma is a sophomore at Georgetown University. She is also the founder of Diseña Tu Meta, a non-profit organization dedicated to empowering at-risk young girls in El Salvador

Noah Rauch is the Senior Vice President of Education and Public Programs at the National September 11 Memorial and Museum. He has previously worked at the Exploratorium in San Francisco and the Museum of Science in Boston.

Mark Rossini served in the Federal Bureau of Investigation for 17 years. Based out of New York for most of his career, he did white collar crime, public corruption, and pharmaceutical trafficking before joining the Joint Terrorism Task Force in 1997. He spent three months in Nairobi investigating al Qaeda's attack against the U.S. Embassy.  He also served as the FBI's envoy to Alec Station, the virtual station created by the CIA explicitly to track Osama bin Laden.

Steven Simon is a fifteen-year veteran of the State Department, after which he transferred to the National Security Council, where he served as director for global issues and senior director for transnational threats from 1994 to 1999.

He is author or co-author of several books, including The Age of Sacred Terror: Radical Islam's War Against America. He is currently a Senior Research Analyst at the Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft and a Professor in the Practice of International Relations at Colby College. 

Cynthia Storer was an analyst at the Central Intelligence Agency for 21 years. As an all source analyst in the Counterterrorist Center, she pieced together the al Qaeda organization. Many of her findings were later confirmed by al Qaeda defector Jamal al-Fadl.  

 

She is currently an adjunct instructor at Johns Hopkins University.  

Barbara Sude is a thirty-year veteran of the Central Intelligence Agency, where she specialized in terrorism, political Islam, Sub-Saharan Africa, and the Middle East. As an analyst at the Counterterrorist Center, she authored the now-famous August 6, 2001 Presidential Daily Brief.

She is currently an adjunct political scientist at the RAND Corporation.

Fran Townsend spent 13 years as a prosecutor in the Department of Justice, where she worked on international organized crime and white collar crime cases.  She would later serve at Department of Justice headquarters as head of the Office of Intelligence Policy and Review, where she was directly involved in matters concerning the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. 

She was later appointed to serve as President George W. Bush's Homeland Security Advisor.

Joby Warrick is a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist at the Washington Post, where he covers national security.   He is the author of the books The Triple Agent: The Al Qaeda Mole Who Infiltrated the CIA, Black Flags: The Rise of ISIS, and Red Line: The Unraveling of Syria and America's Race to Destroy the Most Dangerous Arsenal in the World.

Aaron Zelin is the Richard Borow Fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, and the founder of the website Jihadology.net. He is the author of the book Your Sons Are At Your Service: Tunisia’s Missionaries of Jihad.