Hulu original miniseries The Looming Tower drops its sixth episode Wednesday.
#TheLoomingTower is based on Pulitzer Prize winning non-fiction literature of the same name.
In 2000 Washington D.C. FBI counter-terrorism division chief John O’Neill begins tracking an imminent attack on American soil by al-Qaeda and one of its founding members Osama Bin Laden.
“Margie. Good. Gordo, good morning. Kathy, you’re a sight for sore eyes. Bobby. Suck me, asshole. Floyd, how are you? Good morning. So… I find out early this morning that the Agency raided Ahmad Salama Mabruk. Did they invite the Bureau to ride along? Do they call on me to pass on intel, or do I need to learn about this shit all by myself? I’m done. We’re gonna start acting on our own, here and overseas. Let me ask you something. How many Arabic speakers do we have in the Bureau? Anybody? Eight. Thank you. Eight Arabic speakers out of more than 10,000 agents. That’s how seriously our government takes this threat. Suck me, Bobby. What’s happening in the Manson family? Your newest colleague, Ali Soufan. He can answer every question you have. No, okay, shut– shut the fuck up. What happened on the Marbruk raid? You didn’t see what’s on it? God damn it. Fuck that motherfucker. Did you see anything? Albania? Okay, fuck this. I’m getting Justice to ram through an indictment on UBL so we can do this ourselves. We just– we gotta give them something. Bobby, what do you got? Anything– old leads, stale bullshit… get on the first plane to Kenya. I want whatever you can find. Something’s up, people. I can feel it. Bin Laden invited US journalists to Afghanistan two weeks ago so he can get himself on national TV– tonight.” — John O’Neill
“Soufan. Get your coat. We’re going to dinner. Hello, beautiful. 24 hours will do that. You applied tot he Bureau on a dare? You put money in the pot? Here’s to losing. You practice? Ah, church and me broke up a lifetime ago. Talk to me about the interview. Why three times? UBL’s warning the snake to get out of his house. That’s why he wanted to get on TV. Hey! Glad you could make it. John Miller, meet Agent Ali Soufan. Sit down, sit down, both of you. Come on, can’t we all just get along? Audrey, Glenlivet and rocks for Miller. So, world traveler, how was it? Well, you deserve the best. Hey, that was a good piece you put together. See, I don’t get that. I’ve cum on a lot of dresses and nobody ever wants to hear about those. Salut. Let me ask you something. The background footage for your interview had two guys scrubbed out. Why is that? Why those guys? Maybe you did get used.” — John O’Neill
“Mary Jo, you’re the only other person in the Justice Department who actually works for a living. It’s all work, whether you’re getting drunk doing it or not. You see the interview tonight? I called Louis Freeh afterwards. He’s tucked in bed with his cell phone off. What the fuck is that? We just got warned by al-Qaeda on national TV, and our director slept through it. We’re running out of time. We tried to get Alec Station to hand over intel. We ask, we ask, they don’t give a shit. I-49 needs an indictment so we can start acting on our own. You’re a good woman, Mary Jo. Go home and get some sleep. I’m working on it. You’re playing our song. You making love to Puccini with somebody else these days? Ah, at least they’re learning something useful. Well, don’t do that, ’cause then I’d have to arrest you. Mm-hm. ‘When that Aprill with his shoures soote, the droghte of March hath perced to the roote… and bathed every veyne in swich licour of which vertu engendred is the flour…’ It’s Chaucer, but it’s good. You know I keep my firearm on my ankle. Oh, just trying to catch some bad guys. If I could only figure out where they are.” — John O’Neill
“You have nothing new? Hm. You think I’m a complete moron? Can I remind you of NS Directive 30, signed by President Reagan, and PRD-44, signed by President Clinton? It’s not your choice whether you share intelligence. You’re required to share it with the FBI and everybody else in this room. What’s going on in Albania, Marty? You got a hard drive from Ahmad Salama Mabruk that mentions Albania. Where’s Mabruk? Why hasn’t the FBI had a chance to question him? What’s on his hard drive? You got a stash of intel that you refuse to share with my agents. So you do have the hard drive. How would you know if it was a law enforcement matter or a foreign intelligence matter if you haven’t looked at the hard drive? How about you take a deep fucking breath and get yourself prepared– I don’t want to calm down. Either of you watch TV the other night? If one American gets killed because of information you kept secret, when I get my hands on that hard drive– and I will get my hands on it– I will shove that thing so far up your ass you’ll be coming shit out of your pompous fucking beard. The point of these meetings is to share what we’ve got from our teams and work together. We might need to watch-list names. We might– you know what, gentlemen? Have a good meeting. I need to do some actual work.” — John O’Neill
“I’m sorry, Lizzie. Not the lasagna with the ground veal. Ah, I had a terrible day here. I gotta stick around, make things right. Ugh… I can’t. It’s my loss. Oh, you’re killing me. I gotta go, baby. You too.” — John O’Neill
“You’re playing our song.” — John O’Neill
“O’Neill. That’s perfect. That’ll get us our indictment. Mary Jo’ll make it work– whatever’s there. Oh, Bobby, I could fuck you right now. Out of Tirana. You’re a beautiful man. Pouch it to me here, share the intel with the sisters and come on home. You– you’ve done good, Bobby. Whatever you want. I’m here for you. Fuck you too.” — John O’Neill
“You gotta level with me. Is the agency making a move in Tirana? I got a computer that belongs to UBL’s Sudan secretary that’s got passport photos of Muhammed al-Zawahiri. If there’s something going down in Tirana, I got a right to have an agent there.” — John O’Neill
“You’re going to Albania. Now. The next flight to Frankfurt leaves in 90 minutes. You can transfer from there to Tirana. The Sisters are raiding Muhammed al-Zawahiri’s cell. They’ll give you a weapon when they pick you up. Now listen to me. This is the real deal. Make sure you lay eyes on any evidence they seize. If it’s in Arabic, I need you reading it. I want you talking to whoever they pick up, okay? But most important, be careful. When you land, do not go into the terminal building. Stay on the tarmac, as long as it takes. You’ll be picked up. You hear me? Stay on the tarmac. Wait will they come for you. Good luck.” — John O’Neill
“O’Neill. You didn’t let me down. This is one of Ayman al-Zawahiri’s biggest cells. They were clearly planning to hit something, probably the embassy. Maybe Albania was the most urgent warning the Agency found on Mabruk’s hard drive. Let’s hope so. Let’s hope they’re not planning to hit somewhere else. You did good. Thank you, son. Come on home.” — John O’Neill
“There you go. Come on. Him too. No. O’Neill. Ali, turn on your television. I’m gonna need you in the office. I’m on my way in. Now it begins.” — John O’Neill
“Where’s Louis Freeh? What a surprise. All due respect, this is a New York Office case, not Washington Field Office. That’s right. It’s the wrong decision. Our office has got a standing federal indictment against Bin Laden. We all know this is the work of al-Qaeda– oh, come on! I know MArty wants it to be WFO so he can keep better tabs on it. Agent Soufan is gonna tell you why it’s gotta be UBL. Go, Ali. Now. One last thing, Sanchez. You and Louie can go fuck yourselves. Or each other. Whichever makes you happy.” — John O’Neill
“Oh, for fuck’s sake. Come on, Dick. We’re simply arguing for case control. We’re not trying to get you to pronounce a guilty verdict. Our office knows more about al-Qaeda than anybody. WFO will be playing catch-up, and they’re a pawn of Alec Station. Schmidt just wants the case over there so he can direct it remotely. I–I really wish people would stop telling me to calm down! There are bombs going off around the world! That doesn’t make me feel calm! I’m sorry? Oh. Dick, you’re the greatest. No, I owe you a big one. Okay. I’ll take care of it. Don’t worry about it.” — John O’Neill
“Well, here’s what you should’ve told the President: ‘Bin Laden’s laid a trap, and we’re walking right in it and nibbling the cheese.’ He wants to go to war. Well… I’ll tell you the first thing that’ll happen after the bombs falls and the dead get cleared away. They’ll get a ton of new recruits.” — John O’Neill
“We won? I’m telling you, it’s like whack-a-mole. They’re here. They’re here in America. They’re in London and Afghanistan. They’re in Kenya, Tanzania. And we… we have no idea what we’re up against.” — John O’Neill
Based on FBI Agent John O’Neill.
“Godfather. Kiss the ring. I don’t know, John. It… remember Wadih el-Hage– used to be UBL’s secretary in the Sudan, now lives in Nairobi? We know he broke with him a while back. It may be a dead end, but…” — Robert Chesney
“Think he’s a maniac. He’s a maniac.” — Robert Chesney
“He’s got a charity called Help Africa People, whatever that means. We think he’s got this American wife, April Brightsky Ray. If she’s here, I can do the talking. Robert Chesney, United States FBI. I have a warrant to inspect the home of Wadih al-Hage and April Brightsky Ray. I’m afraid I’d have to go inside anyway. I’m more of a cat person myself, so I’m concerned. And if I get frightened, I might have to shoot him. And I wouldn’t want to do that in front of your kids. Thank you. That’s the charity you, uh, run with your husband, Help Africa People? I think it’s a perfectly good name. Of course, if you decide to change the grammar, I… I suggest you have a few decent choices. You could add a comma. That would make it an exhortation, an encouragement. ‘Help Africa, people.’ Or you could simply add an N. Help African People. That’s probably what you’re going for anyway, right? Robert Chesney, FBI. I have a warrant to inspect your home. We were just talking about that. You were the personal secretary to Usama Bin Laden. Is that correct? Do you ever speak with him now? Email? I see. But… you did work for him. Did you work for him on this computer?” — Robert Chesney
“Hi. Bob. You can call me Bob. Um. Yeah. Hi. Yeah, I know. It’s an ancient one. Big. Hope we can still turn it on. Oh, no, no. No, I can handle it. I, uh… I can do this. I didn’t notice you come over. I was watching… well, all of this. It’s lively. It’s nice. All the light. Super important to get involved with people. Thank you, I appreciate it. Thank you.” — Robert Chesney
“John. I’ve been up all night, going through el-Hage’s computer. You know, my Arabic is pretty much for shit, but there seems to be some training material that got sent to Somalia in ’92, ’93, before Black Hawk Down. Maybe some funding, too. You can get the new guy, Soufan, to go through it all. There’s something else. There’s a lot of photos on here. Probably for forging passports or whatnot, but one of them, I’ll bet my life, is Zawahiri’s brother, Muhammed al-Zawahiri. You know he runs the Albania cell. Oh, suck me. Fuck you. This is al-Qarda territory.” — Robert Chesney
“Okay, let’s settle down. Listen, most important. Remember, we are guests in another country. Let’s conduct ourselves accordingly. Let’s also remember why we are here. Less than 36 hours ago, some number of Americans and scores of Kenyans were murdered. This is al-Qaeda territory. When investigating, make sure you got a partner who’s aware of these sur– Floyd!” — Robert Chesney
“Hello, Officer Ndereba, hello. It’s good to see you again. Commander, I’m so sorry for the loss your country has experienced. I want you to know that we are here to help. We want to work in friendship with you. We– thank you, sir. Thank you. May I introduce Agent Bennet and ask if he can help your officers secure a perimeter? Good, and sir, do you have an account of the dead and wounded, one that I could take a look at? Thank you. Has there been any word on an American woman, Deborah Fletcher. She’s with the State Department at the Embassy. I haven’t heard anything from or about her. Oh, well… thank you. All right, let’s get Bomb Squad, ERT, Forensics, working alongside the Kenyans. Collect soil samples, explosive residue, find parts of the truck and start reassembly. Thank you. And let’s get a group together to help dig out from the rubble, try to save some people, if at all possible. I had a drink with her when I was here last week.” — Robert Chesney
“Special Agent Ali Soufan, Federal Bureau of Investigation. July 8th, 1971. Sidon, Lebanon. Yes, sir, I did. All right. If members of the CIA testified that the Agency properly shared information with the Bureau in the manner in which they are by the law directed to, then you’ve been lied to. In the summer of 1998. Martin Schmidt was the chief of Alec Station, the Bin Laden unit of the CIA. Alec Station was Schmidt’s creation, his domain. He and his team devoted their lives to the hunt for al-Qaeda. That hunt was meant to be done hand-in-hand with the FBI. It wasn’t. The Bureau had two agents assigned to Alec Station. They were supposed to be informed of intelligence, so they could report it back to my boss at the FBI, John O’Neill. That summer, Alec Station came into possession of a hard drive from an al-Qaeda cell in Eastern Europe. Martin Schmidt refused to share that intelligence. On that hard drive were lists of al-Qaeda operatives and more than 50 potential targets.” — Ali Soufan
“Eight. Ali. It’s all right. I was in grad school. My friends thought it would be funny if a Muslim who drank heavily sent in a resume. We weren’t sure which one would disqualify me more: the alcohol or the Islam. We even had a pool whether I’d get in or not. I lost. Islam? Not in a long time. You? I think it’s the third warning. First was the ’96 declaration of jihad. Then the February fatwa. And now, Bin Laden is going straight to the American people. There’s this unauthenticated hadith– the sayings of the Prophet Muhammed– some think he said it; some don’t. ‘When you see a snake in your house, you should warn it three times. If it returns, you must kill it. It is a devil.’ Telling America to get out of the Middle East, out of Saudi Arabia in particular. He used Miller’s interview to– to appear strong by threatening the United States as he looked an American directly in the– uh… Mr. Miller, I assure you, I…” — Ali Soufan
“Thanks for meeting me out so late. So how are the kids? It’s special ed students you teach, yeah? FBI. I do a background check on anyone I go on a date with. Hey. Sorry. I’eve been so busy at work. Thanks Omar. He’s been like a second father to me since I moved to New York. Uh, look, I didn’t mean to freak you out. I was trying to make a joke. Bad joke. Sorry. Hi, boss. When? Uh, yes, sir. Okay. I’m sorry, I– I really have to. I apologize. I have to leave, Omar. Inshallah. Ah… I’m sorry.” — Ali Soufan
“I don’t understand. Thank you, but I’ll wait here. I’m being picked up, so I’ll wait here. Whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa. Who are you?” — Ali Soufan
“Where are you taking them? Hey. Where are you taking them? Boss. We raided the house, arrested four individuals– none of them Zawahiri, confiscated explosives and batteries and wiring. The Sisters took the suspects to Egypt. I looked through the house and there was no written material, no computers, so I got no information to pass to you. I’m sorry, boss. I let you down. Okay, thank you sir.” — Ali Soufan
“Hello. I’ll meet you there. Sir, there has been a preliminary claim of responsibility from Al-Jaish el-Islami li-Tahrir al -Muqadasat. ‘The Islamic Army for the Liberation of the Holy Places.’ If I can quote to you– it is, sir.” — Ali Soufan
“The claim also contains the demand for the withdrawal of U.S. forces from the Arabian Peninsula. If you recall the February fatwa, the retreat from the Arabian Peninsula is a particular obsession for Bin Laden and al-Qaeda. It has never been remotely as important to Hezbollah, which is Shia, not Sunni, and which is far more focused on the ultimate elimination of the State of Israel. Those agendas seem to me disconnected from the bombings in East Africa. Lebanon, sir.” — Ali Soufan
“Excuse me? I’m not a trained Muslim monkey putting on a show for you. When people use my religion to justify this shit, it affects me. I assure you that nothing I do is for your benefit. I work for the U.S. government, and I live by my own conscience.” — Ali Soufan
“Al-Qaeda isn’t a normal enemy force. You can’t just cut the head off the snake. It’s more pervasive. It’s like the ‘mercurcy’ theme in ‘Terminator II.’ In the movie, the enemy, the T-1000, which is an android assassin played by Robert Patrick, has harnessed the properties of liquid metal, which quickly disperses and reconstitutes. Therefore, he is virtually impossible to defeat. Bin Laden is espousing an ideology that exists at the cellular level. Cancer by its most basic definition is the multiplicity of cells, and al-Qaeda is a cancer. My point is that al-Qaeda is not gonna be defeated by simply gunning down the boss. To them, martyrdom is the purest kind of poetry. It’s beyond poetry. It’s eternity. Each time we snuff a part of it out, it will keep resurfacing. It goes that deep. Killing Bin Laden is only going to secure his legend and inspire more and more martyrs.” — Ali Soufan
“Not merely 72 virgins, boss. 72 blonde and redheaded virgins with beautiful breasts and mesmerizing eyes. Swedish, German, Irish, Russian. It’s not from the Koran. Basically, it’s urban legend. I think it’s preposterous and far from the heart of Islam. Yeah, but it does wonders for al-Qaeda recruitment.” — Ali Soufan
Based on FBI Agent Ali Soufan.
“Professor, we got the hard drive. Tirana. You know, our boys have been keeping an eye on the Albanian cell. Professor, the retarded twins.” — Diane Marsh
“Professor, the boys in the field are en route. Rendition plan remains the same? Yes, sir. Get your answers by the afternoon. We’re of one mind, Professor.” — Diane Marsh
Based on CIA agent Alfreda Frances Bikowsky.
“Yeah? Good girl. Indeed I do. Shut it down. Close up shop. Whatever we may or may not be examining is entirely none of your business. The ladies and I analyze what we learn in the manner for which we’ve been… shall we say, educated. I see. Fuck John O’Neill.” — Martin Schmidt
“I come from all the way across the river. Nothing new this week. That’s what I said, John. You interested in an answer to that question? Thank you for the memories. I have nothing new, Richard. If we were in possession of such a computer, and I’m not confirming that we are, it would be a foreign intelligence matter, not a law enforcement matter. I don’t know how you reached that– if we did have any intelligence whatsoever, it would be for us to decide how best to use it before you do what you always do: go around the globe arresting people and putting them on trial, before you blow a possible gold mine of information and render it utterly useless. So no, I’m not prepared to say one way or the other–” — Martin Schmidt
“They’re EIJ. Egypt wants them, Egypt gets them. Send them to Cairo in the morning. I like the way you think, Diane.” — Martin Schmidt
“Well, if we can get eight to ten agents back on the ground in Kenya and Tanzania, how would you feel about embedding CIA agents with the FBI from the WFO? To be continued.” — Martin Schmidt
“Dick, advise the president that some of us aren’t into it for the politics. We’re in it for America.” — Martin Schmidt
Based on former CIA Officer Michael Scheuer.
“Sure. Mm-hm. Wait, how did you know that? Hello, Omar. It’s nice to meet you. I’m Heather. Anything else you want to know, though, just ask him. He’s got the whole dossier. That would be lovely, thank you. He’s nice. Are you gonna… go ahead. Don’t tell me– you have to leave. Okay, then. Uh… okay.” — Heather
“What are you going over in there, Martin?” — Vince Stuart
“It is weird it’s all women and one bearded guy, right? Thought it was just me. Who is this? All right. Welcome. Interesting. He said the same thing about you. He and the redhead were putting some pins in a map. I think a few were in Africa. One went in Albania. Tirana, I think.” — Vince Stuart
Based on FBI agent Mark Rossini.
“Sir, the way this works is you show us what you’ve got and then we discuss if it’s our business. Okay. We’re flying back to New York this morning. John O’Neill’s gonna want to know what you’re looking at.” — Toni-Ann Marino
“Sorry, boss. Shuttle was late. How you doing, Ollie? That’s what I said. All we could learn was that they renditioned him to Cairo and they got their hands on a computer hard drive. Schmidt closed us out.” — Toni-Ann Marino
“White here. Do you call what you do working? I’m sitting at my desk, how about you? Well, I went into the wrong end of the business. What’s up, John? I suppose he’s trying to sleep. Tell me what I can do for you. Tie UBL to something concrete. Karachi consulate van attack, Khobar Towers. You get me anything decent, even if it’s old, I’ll get you an indictment. You too.” — Mary Jo White
“Thank you for making yourselves available once again. Thanks especially to those who travel in. John. You do, and the American people owe you a debt of gratitude. Let’s get status updates before moving ahead. General? Good. Thank you, General. Martin? Okay, calm down for a minute. All right, all right. Enough, John. Martin, after the meeting, you will return to Alec and go through what you’ve got with your team.” — Richard Clarke
“John. John, Dick Clarke. I have bad news.” — Richard Clarke
“John, calm down. I want you to calm down because you’re right. You’re right. You should have this case. You’re welcome. Where were you born? Beverly, would you get me Louie Freeh on his cell phone? He’s good. Don’t lose him. Director Freeh, Richard Clarke. I’m fine. I’m here with John O’Neill. It is unusual that he came to me, but I also think he’s right. The New York office has been tracking UBL since… well, this young Agent Soufan makes a very convincing case that it is al-Qaeda. I understand. Okay. I appreciate that. Thank you, Director. You got your case. Hang on. John, hang on. Hang on! First of all, you damn well better prove it’s al-Qaeda. Second, the Director told me to say that you, personally, are not permitted to go to Africa. I’m sorry. That’s a relationship you’re gonna have to work to repair. John, whoever you do send to East Africa, please tell them to be careful.” — Richard Clarke
Based on National Coordinator for Security Richard Clarke.
“Is this our song? A few guys, mostly freshmen. They’re certainly not learning anything else. If I have to read another ‘Beowulf’ essay cribbed from freaking Cliffs Notes, I’m gonna kill someone. Oh. Is that a promise? Well, aren’t you sweet? That’s good. The Jesuits taught you well. That is so good. Is that a gun in your pocket, or are you just happy to see me? How was your day, baby?” — Lizz
“Well, that is a shame, ’cause I’m making your favorite. You’re missing out. Any chance you catch the last shuttle? You can wake me up. You bet it is, and I’m not just talking food. All right. Well, go catch some bad guys. Love you.” — Lizz
“Glad to be of service. I, uh, yeah.” — Kathy Shaughnessy
“Yep. Will do. Sir, did you know Deb– yes, sir.” — Kathy Shaughnessy
“I’m good, sir.” — Floyd Bennet
“Copy that, boss.” — Floyd Bennet
“We are now all Kenyan policemen. Please. Charles. Please. You refer to the CIA Chief of Station. It’s okay. I know you cannot say. Look, I’m sorry, but if we knew anything, Ms. Fletcher would be on the list. Thank you.” — Commander Onyango
Based on former Director of Central Intelligence George Tenet.
— Looming Tower (@TheLoomingTower) March 5, 2018
— Looming Tower (@TheLoomingTower) March 11, 2018
— Looming Tower (@TheLoomingTower) March 8, 2018
— Looming Tower (@TheLoomingTower) March 15, 2018
#ICYMI: We welcomed special guests from the @Hulu series @TheLoomingTower who talked about the much-improved relationship between the FBI and the CIA compared to the years leading up to 9/11. https://t.co/dOpwA6wDJH pic.twitter.com/FM0kkCnVNW
— 9/11 Memorial & Museum (@Sept11Memorial) March 15, 2018
John O’Neill, the FBI’s leading expert on Al Qaeda, had sounded the alarm about the group’s threat to the United States long before 9/11. His story is dramatized as part of the new @hulu series, @TheLoomingTower. (via @frontlinepbs) https://t.co/jqLgymtyyh
— PBS NewsHour (@NewsHour) March 15, 2018
— Looming Tower (@TheLoomingTower) March 21, 2018
— Looming Tower (@TheLoomingTower) March 29, 2018
— Looming Tower (@TheLoomingTower) April 4, 2018