Alvin (not his real name): CIA chief of operations in Jordan during the Millennium Operation. He went on to become the CIA’s Counterterrorism Center Sunni extremists chief.
Hussein Ansi: Head of Yemen’s Political Security Organization in Aden while we were investigating the bombing of the USS Cole. He appeared to be sympathetic to al-Qaeda and often tried to frustrate our investigation. After two of the al-Qaeda members involved in the attack, Fahd al-Quso and Jamal al-Badawi, “escaped” from jail in April 2003, we pressured the Yemenis to look into Ansi’s complicity, and he was eventually arrested, questioned, and sacked (but never prosecuted).
John Anticev: FBI Special Agent and I-49 squad member (and brother of Mike Anticev) who was the case agent for Operation Terrorstop, among other high-profile investigations. He also successfully interrogated both Mohamed Sadeek Odeh and Mohamed al-Owhali during the 1998 East African embassy bombings investigation, extracting from Owhali the phone number belonging to Ahmed al-Hada—which served as a virtual switchboard for al-Qaeda.
Mike Anticev: FBI special agent and I-49 squad member (and brother of John Anticev) who helped manage Jamal al-Fadl (“Junior”).
Andy Arena: Assistant agent in charge at the Detroit office who was appointed Pat D’Amuro’s deputy in investigating 9/11. He refused a request from the Bush administration to report links between Iraq and al-Qaeda.
Mohammed Atta: The leader of the 9/11 hijackers, he piloted American Airlines Flight 11 into the north tower of the World Trade Center. A member of the Hamburg cell, he roomed there with 9/11 coordinator Ramzi Binalshibh and hijacker Marwan al-Shehhi.
Abdullah Azzam: A Palestinian cleric who inspired many Muslims, including bin Laden, to join the mujahideen and fight the Soviet Union in Afghanistan. With bin Laden he founded Makhtab al-Khidmat (Bureau of Services), which channeled money and recruits into Afghanistan. He was a potential rival to bin Laden to head al-Qaeda and was assassinated on November 24, 1989. Many suspected that Ayman al-Zawahiri was behind his murder, but this has never been proven.
Jamal al-Badawi: Yemeni al-Qaeda member who was involved in the USS Cole bombing. He was a close friend of Khallad’s; Khallad brought him into the operation. I interrogated him in Yemen with NCIS agent Ken Reuwer, gained his confession, and helped prosecute him in a Yemeni court. He was given a death sentence, “escaped,” and was later pardoned by President Ali Abdullah Saleh. He is on the FBI Most Wanted Terrorists list.
Ali al-Bahlul (alias of Anas al-Mekki): Served as bin Laden’s propagandist and secretary, a position he was appointed to after putting together the propaganda video celebrating the bombing of the USS Cole. He was captured in 2002 along with a group of thirty other al-Qaeda operatives nicknamed the “dirty thirty.” I gained his cooperation and confession in Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, and served as the key witness in his trial. He was sentenced to life in prison.
Ammar al-Baluchi (alias of Abdul Aziz Ali): Al-Qaeda operative who was the nephew of 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and who helped the hijackers with money and logistics. He was arrested with Khallad in Pakistan on April 29, 2003, and identified by a quick-witted police officer. He is being held in Guantánamo Bay, Cuba.
Al-Bara (alias of Abdul Aziz bin Attash): Al-Qaeda operative who is one of the younger brothers of Khallad and Muhannad bin Attash. He was convicted and jailed in Yemen in connection with the Bayt Habra plot, and I interrogated him and gained his cooperation.
Mozzam Begg: British Pakistani extremist who operated al-Ansar, a bookstore in Birmingham, and helped raise funds for the Khaldan training camp. He escaped from England to Afghanistan when British authorities first tried to arrest him. He was taken to Guantánamo after being captured in Pakistan in 2002. In 2005 he was freed, and today he is a free man in the UK.
Muhannad bin Attash: Older brother of Khallad, al-Bara, [1 word redacted], and Moaz bin Attash; a key aide to bin Laden and instrumental in recruiting members of the Northern Group in 1996. He was killed in 1997 fighting alongside the Taliban at Murad Beg, in the same battle in which his brother Khallad lost a leg.
Ramzi Binalshibh: Yemeni al-Qaeda operative who was the roommate of Mohammed Atta, the head 9/11 hijacker, and of another hijacker, Marwan al-Shehhi, in Hamburg. He was to be one of the 9/11 hijackers but was unable to get a U.S. visa. Instead he served as the liaison between the hijackers and mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed. He was arrested on September 11, 2002, after information gained by an FBI colleague from Ahmed al-Darbi helped lead us to him. [1 word redacted] was allowed to interrogate him for forty-five minutes shortly after his capture—but despite the fact that he cooperated, [20 words redacted]. He is being held in Guantánamo Bay, Cuba.
Osama bin Laden: A Saudi of Yemeni origins, he founded al-Qaeda in 1988 after raising funds during the first Afghani jihad, during which he worked alongside Abdullah Azzam in operating Makhtab al-Khidmat, which channeled money and recruits into Afghanistan. After founding al-Qaeda, bin Laden went back to his homeland, Saudi Arabia, in 1990 before moving the organization to Sudan (1991) and then back to Afghanistan (1996). In Afghanistan he pledged allegiance to Mullah Omar, the leader of the Taliban. From Afghanistan bin Laden planned many attacks, including the bombing of the USS Cole and 9/11. He was killed by U.S. Navy SEALs during a May 2, 2011, raid on the compound in which he lived in Abbottabad, Pakistan.
Barbara K. Bodine: U.S. ambassador to Yemen from November 1997 to August 30, 2002. Many in the FBI and the U.S. military investigating the USS Cole bombing felt she obstructed the investigation.
Steve Bongardt: FBI special agent and member of the I-49 squad who was my co–case agent during the USS Cole bombing investigation. He tried to challenge the CIA’s refusal to share information with the FBI pre-9/11—information that may have stopped the attacks—but he was repeatedly told to “stand down.”
Mike Butsch: FBI special agent assigned to the 9/11 investigation and tasked with tracking down Ramzi Binalshibh. With [18 words redacted].
Jack Cloonan: FBI special agent and member of the I-49 squad whom I worked alongside in many cases, including the recruitment of L’Houssaine Kherchtou.
Daniel Coleman: Senior FBI agent and I-49 squad member. He opened the FBI’s case on bin Laden in 1996 and was an FBI expert on the al-Qaeda leader. He played a key role in many high-profile investigations.
Dina Corsi: FBI analyst who worked with the CIA. On June 11, 2001, together with a CIA official and another analyst assigned to the CIA, she met Steve Bongardt and other members of the FBI’s USS Cole team and showed them three photos. She told them that one of the men in the pictures was named Khalid al-Mihdhar. Only the CIA official knew more than that, but he wouldn’t say anything. After 9/11 we learned that those pictures were from al-Qaeda’s 9/11 planning summit in Malaysia. If the CIA official had told us what he knew then, we might have stopped 9/11.
George Crouch: FBI special agent from the I-49 squad who was a member of the USS Cole investigation team. We conducted several interrogations together after the Cole investigation, including that of Salim Hamdan, bin Laden’s driver and confidant, at Guantánamo in 2002.