The Looming Tower (2018): Season 1, Episode 10 - 9/11 - full transcript

It is September 11, 2001 and no one can get a hold of O'Neill. Soufan's evacuation from Yemen stops short as the CIA station chief gives him all the answers he has been asking from the CIA ...

Chief of Security
of the World Trade Center.

It's got a pretty nice ring to it.

John O'Neill, you will be missed.

The Bureau didn't deserve you.

We were the lucky ones.


- ALL: Cheers.
- My man!

DIANE: It appears we've lost
our two Saudis,

al-Mihdhar and al-Hazmi.

I thought responsible eyes
were on them.

I thought so too.

These guys are obviously
craftier than we thought.


TONI-ANN: I-49 just sent over
a list of Arabs

who attended or are enrolled in
those flight schools.

And what does I-49 want us
to do with this list?

People inside Langley
know about Mihdhar.

You need to understand something.

If you reveal that intelligence

to anyone outside this station,

I will see to it
that you are handcuffed,

that you are escorted
from this building,

that you are imprisoned,

and tried for theft and treason.


QAMISH: Is there something
you need from me?

ALI: I need to speak with Abu Jandal.

I know Jandal knows something
about the Cole attack.


♪ ♪

George Tenet, please.




We must speak.

♪ ♪


♪ ♪


CLARKE: I have only a very
brief opening statement.

I welcome these hearings

because of the opportunity

that they provide
to the American people

to better understand why
the tragedy of 9/11 happened

and what we must do
to prevent a reoccurrence.

I also welcome the hearings because

it is finally a forum where

I can apologize

to the loved ones
of the victims of 9/11.

To them who are here in the room,

to those who are watching
on television,

your government failed you,

those entrusted with protecting you

failed you,

and I failed you.

We tried hard,

but that doesn't matter,

because we failed.

And for that failure,

I would ask,

once all the facts are out,

for your understanding

and for your forgiveness.


♪ ♪

Have a good one.

MAN: You do the same. Thanks, bro.


MAN: Uh, coffee, light,
and a Danish, please.

♪ ♪

♪ ♪

- Morning, fellas.
GUARD: Hey, morning, John.

O'NEILL: Another day in paradise.

That's one word for it.

♪ ♪



MAN: Is that an earthquake?


♪ ♪




♪ ♪

WOMAN ON RADIO: The blaze,

with thick smoke coming out

of two sides of the building,

the result of a plane crash

by what's thought to be a jet plane,

possibly a 7-3...

Single file! Follow me!

Follow me!

All right.

SQUAD LEADER: I want this plane
in the air now!

♪ ♪

No one's heard from John O'Neill?

I'm still trying to reach my mom.

New York's cell towers are jammed up.

- He was there, you know?
- FLOYD: I know... I know.

South Tower of
the World Trade Center's

just been hit. Another plane.

Let's go, people!

I need everyone on the plane, now!

Let's go, let's go,
let's go, let's go!

Go, go, go, go.

Let's go, people! Come on!

Soufan! Agent Soufan!

- Soufan!
- Soufan!


Chihoyne called.

You need to return to the embassy.


They didn't say!

A tremendous amount of smoke

pouring out.

It's the result of what
appears to have been

a deliberate terrorist attack.

Around 9:00 this morning,

two large passenger planes

flew into each of the towers,

the north and south towers
of the World...


What are they saying out there?

I don't know.

Confirm these, uh, reports,

which have been growing in intensity,

that a section of
the World Trade Center,

uh, has collapsed
onto the street below.

Do you see any confirmation of that?

DOW: It's true, Dan.

That's what we were all running from.

We heard the building coming down,

and that's what we were running from.

Literally, people ran out
of their shoes,

trying to get out of the way
of this thing.

DAN: Well, one can certainly
understand that.

So Harold Dow, our man...

Chihoyne... where is he?

DAN: Reports, uh, that he can confirm

that a section... we do not know
how large a section...

a section of, uh, one of

- What?
- The World Trade Center towers...

- Why am I not on that flight?
- DAN: Below.

Now, for those who got confused...

Need to show you something.

What is this?

This is the meeting in Malaysia.

And the pay phone.

The number I've been
asking about for months.

CHIHOYNE: Langley sent it
this morning,

and Washington needs to know

if this was an al-Qaeda attack.

They need confirmation,

and you're the best man to get it.

I asked you...

you... repeatedly about
the meeting in Malaysia.

Did you company men have any idea

what we could have done
with this if you had shared it?

John O'Neill was there this morning.


♪ ♪

MAN ON RADIO: And the most
chilling moment for me, Chris,

as I walked the streets downtown,

was, uh, a fighter jet
flying, uh, overtop

and literally thousands of people

looking up into the sky
watching, uh...

- CHRIS: The... the Air...
- MAN: A fighter jet fly across...

CHRIS: Yeah, that's something
you don't see...

the Air Force, obviously,
has been mobilized

and is in the air now,

looking for any other aircraft.

You know, we had reports earlier,

- both from ABC and...
- MAN: Chris...

CHRIS: Wait, hold on.
One second, one second.

- Yes, John?
- JOHN: The other

World Trade Center
building just collapsed.

CHRIS: Oh, my God, it did.

That is the... ladies and gentlemen,

the World Trade Center
in New York is no more.

Both of the towers
have absolutely collapsed.

Let me go back up to New York.


I want Abu Jandal.


No, no reason for talk.

You must leave here.

I'm not asking. I'm telling you!



ANCHOR: A commercial jet liner
crashed into the Pentagon

earlier this morning.

A approximately 60-foot
section of this building,

which is, of course, the headquarters

of all, uh, the military
for the United States,

was on fire as a result
of this, uh, this crash,

and then collapsed.

ANCHOR: All over Washington,
federal buildings

are being evacuated: the Capitol,

Department of Justice,
the White House.


♪ ♪

Mr. Clarke, we need to leave
right away.

Have you reached John O'Neill?

I have called repeatedly, sir.

I just can't get through.

Please, we need to get out.

I'm not going anywhere.

Please, sir, they're telling us...

Arthur, go. I'm staying.


If you don't leave,
then I don't leave.

You have a child at home and a wife.

I don't have either.

I'm ordering you to walk out of here

with the rest of them now.

All right, sir.

ANCHOR: We've been watching this, uh,

here in the Washington...

This is going to be a very hard day

for US-Saudi relations.

I, uh... do you mind
if we turn that down, please?

ANCHOR: We are all, every one,

I'm sure, on their minds,
is God rest the souls...

You've given me flight manifests

for four domestic flights.

- GEORGE: Yes.
- DICK: How do these tell me

that we have a Saudi problem?

I'm looking at names,
not nationalities.

We cross-referenced
all passenger names

against an agency database
for known al-Qaeda.

We came up with two.
Both of them were Saudi.

Now, there seems to have been a number

of other Saudis on the four planes,

possibly as many as 15.

And do we know that these two,

or these 15,

are responsible for
what's happening today?

That is the
leading assumption, yes, but

the immediate issue
for the administration

is going to be
getting our Saudi friends

out of the country.

That includes the royal family,

the ambassador, all associates.

They're going to be in danger

once this leaks out in the press.

Dick, we have to preserve
our relationship

with Saudi Arabia for many reasons,

in the short term to help
form a coalition

and to host a staging ground

for when we do retaliate
in the region.

We agree on that, George.


if I may,

did you know

that these two... or these 15,

but let's just concentrate
on the two right now...

did you know that they were
in the country?

Dick, you know as well as I do

that my hair has been on fire

for the entire year over al-Qaeda,

going back to when 43
was first in office...

before that. This has consumed me.

Four of these flights were domestic,

so these men had to enter
the country at some point

prior to this morning.

How long have they been
in the country?

I don't have the answer.

But I'll look into it,
and I'll get back to you.

You do that.

You look into it, get back to me.

I'll go to Condi

and discuss getting the Saudis out,

but this conversation is not over.


♪ ♪


What have you done, Soufan?

I need to talk to Abu Jandal.

Amin is our top man.

He needs to let me talk to him.

I'm sure he would if for a reason.

Then you give me Abu Jandal.

I'm tired of asking.

This is not the way to ask.

I think Brother John is dead.


In the attack?

How do you know of this news?

I don't,

but he was there.

In the building?


I can't reach him.

♪ ♪

Lā ḥawla wa lā quwwata illā billāh.

Lā ḥawla wa lā quwwata illā billāh.

♪ ♪



Come with me.

♪ ♪



Right this way, ma'am.

♪ ♪

Please have a seat.

♪ ♪

In the immediate aftermath

of September 11, 2001,

you were placed undercover.

Is that correct?

That is correct.

provided to us

is that decision was made

to shift you from

intelligence to operations.

Is that correct?

That is correct.

And that's the reason
you're now being shielded

from public view

and the view of this commission.

It has nothing to do with
protecting you

from public questioning.


Did you ask me a question?

Because I didn't hear one.

Now, let's move on.

The, uh,

the CIA intelligence files

on Khalid al-Mihdhar

and Nawaf al-Hazmi,

two of the hijackers
on September 11, 2001.

It's our understanding that

Alec Station

knew of the presence of

these two al-Qaeda members
in the United States

at least as early as March 2000,

yet no one alerted the FBI
for 17 months,

and when the FBI
was finally given the files

on the two hijackers, those files

were mixed in with a host
of other files

and never highlighted.

Is that your recollection?


Well, what is your recollection?

I walked those two files

over to the FBI myself.

this was your response

to our investigators
in preliminary session.

But there are physical sign-in logs

at every FBI office in the country

including Washington, D. C.,
and New York City.

Your name does not appear
in any of those logs.

I walked them over myself.

Freedom itself
was attacked this morning

by a faceless coward,

and freedom will be defended.

I want to reassure the American people

that full... the full resources

of the federal government

are working
to assist local authorities,

to save lives,

and to help the victims

of these attacks.

Make no mistake,

the United States

will hunt down and punish

those responsible

for these cowardly acts.


♪ ♪

MARTIN: Leonard.


Terrible, unforeseeable tragedy.

- The Pentagon's in f...
- Unforeseeable?

Some of us have been warning about

the seriousness of this threat
for a long time,

and begging the military
to take action.

If you saw these events
coming, Martin,

you should have spoken up.

I didn't hear you say a word

about a bunch of goddamn planes

slamming into our skyscrapers,

plunging into the Pentagon.

Or perhaps I was just out that day?

So why did you summon me, Leonard?

Surely not for this.

You need to come back.

Back? Where?

Alec Station.

In what capacity?

Four planes were hijacked
this morning.

Can we not get hung up
on titles right now?

All right, we'll discuss it later,

- but I'll need more funding.
- I understand.

And I want to double
the station's size.

- Is that a yes?
- Yes.

And I want recognition
within the Agency,

and I hope this administration,

that we're at war. The gloves are off.

No more squeamishness
about the use of force.

I understand.

Say it.

We're at war.

We're at war.

I accept your offer.


♪ ♪

If we're agreed about
the Saudi royal family,

and the intelligence community
clears the names,

please ask the President

for a limited lifting
of the flight ban

to allow one or two 747s

in the air in the next day or so.

And both CIA and FBI
have agents on the ground,

trying to nail down concrete evidence

linking these attacks to bin Laden

and al-Qaeda in Afghanistan.

I've heard from Yemen

that we've finally been given access

to certain individuals close to UBL.

We hope to very soon

be able to give the Taliban
an ultimatum:

give up bin Laden

or face the wrath of
the United States military.

Rumsfeld wants the attacks

linked to Saddam Hussein and Iraq.

What did you say?

WOODRUFF: Near Shanksville,

a small town in Somerset County...

How did this happen, Martin?

WOODRUFF: South of Pittsburgh,

this is the site of one of the two...


How did this happen?

WOODRUFF: Left Newark,
New Jersey, this morning

on its way to San Francisco.

This is a plane that we know crashed

and you just, uh, with
David Mattingly's report,

looking at the site...



We're gonna fix this.

We're gonna make it all right.

WOODRUFF: What their target was...


♪ ♪

MAN: Assalamu alaikum.



♪ ♪




VINCE: Ali, it's Vince.

I'm calling. I....

I haven't been able
to get ahold of John.


Have you, uh, heard from John?


The station chief
handed me surveillance photos

from Malaysia.

I've been asking Alec Station

about Malaysia for a year now, Vince.

Did you know about any of this?

Oh, God. Oh, man, uh...

I didn't know what I knew.



they were threatening me.

They control all the information.

- They...



♪ ♪


♪ ♪


Okay now?



I don't trust myself.



♪ ♪


LIZ: Hello?


it's Bobby.

- Bob Ches...


♪ ♪

♪ ♪

Thank you.

Of course.

Are you okay?

I don't know.


I've been trying
to reach John all day.

I never could.

I mean, I gave up

after the second tower.

When it...


Nobody's seen John.

Nobody's seen him.

Have you heard from him?


JOHN: Hey, baby, there's
something going on down here.

An explosion or something
in Tower One.

There's just this massive hole

up near the top.

I gotta go get people out.

Gosh, I keep thinking of you at 18

up there with your parents,

gazing out the window
at New York harbor.

Eh, listen, as soon as
they fix this thing,

you and me are gonna go back up there.

We're gonna get ourselves a table,

right next... hey, Petey!

What are... what are they telling you?

I gotta go, sweetheart.
I'll call you later.

Pete, let's try to...



♪ ♪


♪ ♪


♪ ♪







Sadaqa Allaah al-'Azeem.




♪ ♪

♪ ♪


♪ ♪