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The Cell: Inside the 9/11 Plot, and Why the FBI and CIA Failed to Stop it [Paperback]

John Miller , Michael Stone , Chris Mitchell
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
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Book Description

1 Aug 2003
Written by ABC News journalist John Miller andco-writers Michael Stone and Chris Mitchell, thisis a blow-by-blow investigation gleaned fromsources within the FBI and CIA, and fed by Miler'smany years as a reporter covering the World TradeCenter bombing of 1993 through the present.Already huge in hardback, this paperback editionis a guaranteed best-seller."An important addition to the growing literatureon al Qaeda" - New York Times Book Review"A riveting, frightening and illuminating book" -Boston Globe

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The Cell: Inside the 9/11 Plot, and Why the FBI and CIA Failed to Stop it + Ghost Wars: The Secret History of the CIA, Afghanistan and Bin Laden
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Product details

  • Paperback: 464 pages
  • Publisher: Hyperion; 1st Pbk. Ed edition (1 Aug 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0786887826
  • ISBN-13: 978-0786887828
  • Product Dimensions: 21.7 x 14.1 x 2.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 692,154 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Remind yourself of the last decade 19 July 2004
Most people think the war on terrorism began on September 11th. As this book will tell you, this is nowhere near the truth. Comprehensive and interesting, The Cell keeps up a pace which holds the readers interest, never slipping into the trap of endless lists of names or dates. Occasionally the author's familiarity with the cases can result in a reader stumbling over who exactly is who, but its a small quibble. Look behind the scenes on the war, and see the chain of events which molded Osama bin Laden and al Qaeda.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.4 out of 5 stars  58 reviews
66 of 72 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars eye-opening but frightening saga 18 Aug 2002
By Harriet Klausner - Published on
Up front let me apologize for being emotional in this review, as this true account is appalling in what should have been. The book describes the evolution of the 1990s through 9/11 of Bin Laden and the Al Queda that will haunt readers forever. The authors tie events together that show the magnitude of the failure of anti-terrorism efforts under three administrations including the present one. The authors claim several opportunities to stop the terrorists were available, but not acted on, as the threat had not incredulously surpassed the "acceptable level of terrorism". That is the frightening thought that especially Clinton and Bush II (even in his first year) could have done more and saved lives. Official inactivity and incompetence (the Attorney General cut the anti-terrorism funding) and missed opportunities led to irate agents unable to overcome politics as usual under presidents from both political parties.

This book is not for those still raw, as it is quite an eye-opening saga. As the country's powers debate homeland security and claim the high ground, they should read this book first so they cannot sleep better at night. While the President vacations; the Attorney General cries security wolf; the Congress posters to gain reelection; and Clinton rewrites his place in history, perhaps each will finally understand the real goal: no future American should suffer like those who seemed to have died for no reason except politics and incompetence.

Harriet Klausner
19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Gritty, Fast Paced, Street-Level Account Of The Events Which Led Up To The 911 Attacks. 22 Jan 2006
By WAYNE YUNGHANS - Published on
At the time it was written, the book was a welcome departure from the hurried, slipshod, poorly written works that appeared immediately following 911 (some of them, seemingly written in a bid to benefit from the rising tide of interest engendered by the events of that day...). In any case: this is not one of those books...

This is a well researched and readable account of a complex and multifaceted story.
Not a mere compilation and derivation of others' writings, this story represents the original reporting of three first rate journalists. It arises from first hand interviews / conversations with the NYPD Detectives, FBI Agents and others who were there for the events of 911, some of whom were working the UBL project before that day and several of whom were still working it at the time of writing. It is a testament to the authors' skill that the book flows as well as it does. I found it cogent, interestingly written and informative. It maintained my interest without effort from chapter to chapter as a good detective novel would.

Reading The Cell gives one a good overall understanding of 911 - probably the best available during the period before the 911 Commission Report. I have recommended it to several people and do so via this medium to anyone who looks at 911 and asks the question "How could this happen?" It's an easy, informative read and well worth both the time and money invested.
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Required Reading 29 Jun 2004
By H. F. Miglino - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Just finished reading The Cell. If anyone wants to know what went wrong on 9/11 just read this book. To try and blame one person or organization, except for the terrorists, for the death and destruction on 9/11 would be foolish. If the Towers were brought down in 1993 and toppled over each other, the death count would have been well over 100,000. John Miller, Stone and Mitchell do an incredible story detailing the events leading up to 9/11. I don't know the party affliation with any of these men but the story they present is fascinating. The book is summed up the best on page 332; Terrorism is cyclical, left alone it always comes back, usually bolder and more lethal. Additionally the fight against terrorism can't be conducted from afar, it requires in your face old fashion investigation. No matter how many lasers we have, smart bombs, stealth fighters,etc. what we need is 100 Louie Napoli, Don Sadowy and John O'Neils. Book should be required reading for all high school students, never to forget or let your guard down.
12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars page turner 5 Sep 2006
By R.M.T. - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Informative, yet entertaining...highlights mistakes in policy and intelligence without grinding a political axe. A must read.
12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A gripping account of how 9/11 happened. 18 Dec 2005
By Tracy D. Cook - Published on
I just finished reading "The Cell" last weekend, and the story just blew my mind! Many of the things recalled in the book were known to me already, based on what I had heard on the news and read in other media outlets, but to see just how easy it was for the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001 to be carried out was frightening and very tragic; considering that there were warning signs everywhere. One of the things that came to me was the fact that many of the law enforcement and intelligence agencies responsible for averting what happened on 9/11were either bogged down in bureaucratic red tape or territorial conflicts that threatened to bruise fragile egos. This could be seen from the conflict with the FBI-NYPD Joint Terrorism Task Force with other special squads to the inability of the FBI, CIA, and other intelligence agencies to share vital information. What was so frightening and appaling was how easy it was for terrorists to enter this country, purchase weapons and even learn how to fly planes.

The book also gives us the disturbing fact that two adminstrations--one bogged down in partisan politics and a power hungry special counsel trying to pry into the president's sex life, the other somewhat oblivious to what was handed to them by their predecessors (no one still wants to admit that the Clinton adminstration, whom many right wingers still want to pin this tragedy on urged the Bush administration to immediately put in place the action to take out Bin Laden and they didn't, nor the fact that Attorney General Ashcroft refused to grant the request of the FBI to add more funding for antiterrorism)--were totally unprepared for what would happen.

If there was to be a tragic hero in this book it would have to be John O'Neill; the former FBI special agent who headed up the antiterrorist division and eventually due to politics was forced out of the loop. O'Neill came very close to cracking the case and discovering Bin Laden's nefarious plans. The irony of it all was that after he retired, he went to be the head of security at the World Trade Center, where he died shortly after taking the position on September 11.

The book is so relevant considering that we are still recovering from the wounds of 9/11, and the disturbing fact that even after the development of the Homeland Security Administration and the reforms called on by the 9/11commission, we are no safer now than we were before the tragedy took place. I hope that this book will be a reminder and a wake up call to the fact the post Cold-War society we live in is even more dangerous than ever.
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