You couldn't have been more wrong, when you thought you knew everything about 9/11- one of the darkest days in American history. Can you deal with the fact that the tragic attack could have been stopped but for the internal US intelligence rivalry that was brewing between FBI and CIA?
This year sees the launch of'The looming Tower', a new series on Amazon Prime Videothat will hit the audience hard with the harrowing truth. The series is an adaptation of the Pulitzer Prize winning book'The looming tower' by Lawrence Wright and takes viewers back to the events that lead to the terror attacks of 9/11. It tells the story of how US intelligence might have stopped it from happening and the lessons it offers to prevent such mishaps in future.
Jeff Daniels plays the real life character of John O' Neill, the real life FBI agent who early on recognized the Al Qaeda threat but fell short due to CIA's lack of cooperation to share information. Peter Sarsgaard plays Martin Schmidt his counterpart in CIA who fears that FBI will compromise his agency's hard earned intelligence. It tells 'how CIA and FBI were each tracking movements of Al- Qaeda but at critical junction held information from one another.'
Jeff Daniels is completely believable in the title role. As chief of the New York FBI's Counterterrorism Center known as I-49. He is abrasive and confrontational but consistently driven and passionate about his quest for truth.
He knew something big and wrong was going on at Al-Qaeda and kept urging Washington to take Bin laden threat seriously. In one of the scenes he yells in frustration "I wish people would stop asking me to calm down, there are bombs going off around the world. That doesn't make me feel calm' He keeps pushing government to take notice of rising Al-Qaeda threat "How many arabic speakers do we have at the bureau. 8 Arabic speakers out of 10000 agents! That's how seriously government takes this threat"
O' Neill is definitely the hero of the show, the larger than life character, who is far from perfect and has flaws aplenty, spewing profanities every now and then. However you can love him or hate him but cannot ignore him. It's both endearing and sad that he relentlessly keeps pounding on people to take notice and yet couldn't convince them enough.
Peter Sarsgaard as Martin Schmidt, the chief of Alec Station, a section of the CIA Counterterrorism Center. Schmidt keeps on having tense moments with O'Neill when he refuses to share information with him believing that the CIA is the only agency with potential to handle such threats.
Amongst the other talented cast in show are, Tahar Rahim as Ali Soufan, a real Muslim Lebanese-American FBI agent on O'Neill's counterterrorism squad who eventually becomes his protégé and Wrenn Schmidt as Diane Marsh, a CIA analyst who works under Martin Schmidt and believes in concealing information like Schmidt.
While the nation was obsessing about the Bill Clinton – Monica Lewinsky drama, the terror attacks left all Americans terrified about what was coming next but for the both the agencies, moving forward they had to stop the ongoing turf wars, look back at this failure and work towards a more tight & efficient intelligence and law enforcement structure.
It's a warped, horrifying story of internal politics and lies, only made more shocking by the fact that it is all real.
O Neil who tirelessly pursued and chased Bin Laden and Al- Qaeda through his final years at bureau, later left FBI in disgrace and joined Word trade center as head of security, where he as the fate had it, gets killed in 9/11 attacks.
The damned if you do, damned if you don't, you for sure cannot afford to miss 'The looming tower' as it's a gripping tale of what really happened, anhonest interpretation of past failures and still resonates in current political climate.
It's for sure a real life ode to the old adage 'United we stand and Divided we fall'.