Book cover via Amazon Yesterday in class, a student asked why more wasn't done to stop the plot of 9/11. When I responded that the plot might not have been executed had the CIA shared information with the FBI, Mr. Bolos said he'd "quibble" with that idea and said there was a long history of rivalry between the departments.
While it is true that there has been a long-standing mistrust between these government agencies, relations became outright hostile in the years leading up to the World Trade Center attacks.
According to Lawrence Wright, the Pulitzer Prize winning author of The Looming Tower: Al-Qaeda and the Road to 9/11, "the CIA eagerly institutionalized the barrier that separated it from the Bureau" (343). The CIA "blocked the Bureau's investigation into the USS Cole attack [which] allowed the attack to proceed" (342). Further, Wright argues that John O'Neill, the FBI's point man on al-Qaeda could have "taken the morsels of evidence that the CIA was withholdingand marshaled a nationwide dragnet that would have stopped 9/11" (350).
The bi-partisan 9/11 Commission supports Wright's contentions by concluding that the CIA "didn't alert the State Department's 'TIPOFF' list"...nor did the CIA share this explosive informaiton with the FBI, which had primary domestic responsibility for protecting the United States from terrorism, and a team of agents specifically devoted to going after Al Qaeda" (Jane Mayer, The Dark Side, 15).