The Looming Tower (2018): Season 1, Episode 5 - Y2K - full transcript

The CIA and FBI are on high alert as threats surrounding the new millennium abound. O'Neill and Soufan raid an al-Qaeda cell in New York City. The CIA continues to hide vital information ...

AIQaeda isn't a normal enemy force.

It's not going to be like
executing a crime boss.


You can't just cut the head
off the snake.

It's more pervasive.

As Saudi citizens...

You can easily acquire US visas.

We've been babysitting
this guy in witness protection

for three friggin' years.

He was with the UBL in Sudan,
one country north.

- He's got no leads for us?
- He's got nothing.

Are you implying that there
is some degradation

- here at the Agency?
- No, sir.

But at times there may be
a lack of momentum.

As I see it,
you're leading Alec Station

into a wild goose chase of absurdity.

Well, you can't fire me, Leonard.

You can move me to the broom closet.

You can make me process
meaningless cables

all day, but you cannot fire me.

The Bureau simply can't cover
what you're spending.

Also, you happen to be in serious debt.

Are you going through
my fucking credit cards?

I definitely want us to be
more than buddies.

I want to take you home. To my place.

Right now, I'm here with you.

And I will keep coming to see you,

and I'll bring you news
of our progress.

- Talk to me.
- Boss, I got nothing.

They fucking closed the blinds

every time I walk by
the conference room.

- What about ToniAnn?
- Same situation.

They treat us like we're
their friggin' hostages.

How old is she now?

Old enough to think she can party

her little ass off
in Times Square for Y2K.

Young enough that she needs Mommy

to buy her the damn plane ticket.

Like I didn't spend
enough this Christmas.

Talking about her little
boyfriend that's going with her

so she'll be safe.

I told her she ain't grown.

And I got to work that night,

so I'll be damned if...


What the fuck?

We need backup down here immediately.

We have a suspicious individual,

possible bombmaking supplies.

He just tried to flee the premises.

A tree begins with a seed.
A tree begins with a seed.

A tree...

Security's enhanced and on alert.

Airports, malls, amusement parks,

power plants, water supplies,

and I want to lock down the embassies

in Abuja, Tehran, Sanaa, and Ashgabat.

- Evacuate them?
- No, but I do want to shutter

Tripoli, Rabat, Tunis,
Islamabad, and Damascus.

Blame it on the holidays.
Then we'll reassess.

And get me that report on what
the hell you guys are proposing

- if Y2K blows the energy grid.
- Yes, sir.

- This afternoon.
- You got it.

Anything to add, George?


I'd like to say that covers it,

but when can we ever say that?

We never can say that,
which is why we keep working.

Transit office lost and found?

- Down to the right.
- Thanks.

There it is.

Man, that Palm Pilot's
some expensive shit

to leave lying around.

You got kids? Yeah, two girls.

Man, that's nice.

I love my little man,

but there's just something
about my daughter.

- They're special, right?
- Yeah, they are.

Listen, anyone else
share this office with you?

Nobody comes in here without me.

You legit FBI?
Like for real, for real?


This Y2K shit keeping you
guys crazy like us around here?

You bet. Anybody else handle
this device, besides you?

After we spoke, I just
locked it up in my stuff.

- Nobody touched it?
- I said I locked it up, man.

Okay, okay. It's all good.

Thank you. Here...

buy your daughter something nice.



You're telling me he gave all
that up in one interrogation?

I wish I could tell you

I put my best people on this,

but this guy must have been
dying to confess.

He was petrified at first,
and then he started singing.


The way he
cracked, there's no fuckin' way

he was working alone.

I haven't even given you
the best news yet.

We got a number. A Brooklyn number.

We found it in Ressam's car.

The press knows nothing about this.


Abdul Ghani Meskini.


All right. Thank you.

with the Clinton administration

say they are quite concerned
that terrorist financier.

Osama Bin Laden has
stepped up his efforts

to attack Americans around the world.

The State Department
recently warned Americans

to stay away from large gatherings

and millennium celebrations abroad.

But with preparations now underway

for big New Year's parties
in major U.S. cities,

the White House today extended

the Y2K warning to American soil.


What do you know
about a guy named Meskini?


Abdul Ghani Meskini.

Meskini. Him, I remember.

Algerian, maybe?

Yes, definitely Algerian.

Can you think of any reason

why Ressam would have been
in touch with him?

Does he make bombs?

- Could be.
- What the fuck does that mean?

Junior, we need to know
if he was helping Ressam

plan the attack on LAX

or if there's another possible
millennium plot underway,

like in New York City,

we need to find out right fucking now.

You have me here, alone,
now over four years.

- It's not to complain...
- I'm not complaining either.

But I'm not sure the American people

are getting their
fucking money's worth yet.

You got the royal treatment here.

Maybe that's the problem.
What do you think, Floyd?

You think maybe a week in Riker's

will help jog his memory?

I know some people
who know some people.

Okay, okay, okay.

Meskini's in New York long time now.

And I can remember, he was good.

Special guy.

Good with making the connections.

Good with money.

A resourceful guy
with connections in New York.

So what, he's an accountant
for the organization?

Could be.

Not sure, but I have different idea.

Maybe you want to hear?

You mean maybe we want
to hear something other than

"could be"? Yes, Junior, please.

I'm thinking that he is here,
making the money

move around.

You think he's funneling
alQaeda money from Brooklyn?

I think.

From Dubai to Kuala Lumpur.

But first I'm coming from Yemen.

Yes, I'm Saudi.

No, it cannot be the Shah airport.

When are you leaving?

I'm not worried about the price,

I'm worried about those expecting

to meet me at Kuala Lumpur Airport.



A better
question is when do you come back?

Long before our son's arrival.

You mean our daughter's?

Another daughter?

And the men joining you...

Are they... committed?

Is that what worries you?

Nothing worries me, Khalid.

There is a small part of me that wishes

you could serve
without leaving us, but...

I know our reward is coming.

No, it cannot be the Shah Airport.

I'm not worried about the price...

I'm worried about those expecting

to meet me at Kuala Lumpur Airport.

Our friends over at Saudi intelligence

have been keeping an eye on
Mihdhar because he's a citizen,

and he was flagged as being
a member of alQaeda.

Which is why other friends at the NSA

sent this little gift over.

We know now that
he's Hada's soninlaw,

and he and his wife are
expecting their second child.

And we know that he's currently
headed for a hotel in Dubai.

Okay, but to me the question is,

where is headed
after Dubai and Malaysia?



This guy Meskini's
funneling money from Brooklyn

for some millennium plot?

All he's done the last 12 hours

is watch fucking soccer games.

Diet again?



My ass is numb.

I have not had a homecooked
meal in three days,

and I saw ten roaches in the bathroom

the last time I pissed.

Rough times, I know.

Thought it couldn't get no
worse until I started to smell

what just came out of your mouth.

- Yeah.
- Jackson here.

Check your email.

I'm looking at a plane ticket,

a passport, and a U.S. visa,

which means he's coming here.

And if he's coming,
kind of makes you wonder

- who's already there.
- Fucking hell.

Hold on, Jackson.

This is the officer in Dubai.

He says Mihdhar has a U.S. Visa.

- Diane Marsh.
- Mihdhar's flying Dubai

to Kuala Lumpur, and he has
a multiple entry U.S. visa.

Okay, I'll get the Malaysian
special branch

on this immediately.

We're gonna need eyes and ears
in Kuala Lumpur.

You're missing an H.


U.S. Visa ain't gonna mean shit
in a minute.

We'll be all over him before he
can get a foot off the plane.

Knowing O'Neill, it'll be

before he can even get out of Malaysia.

Especially with
all this Y2K shit going on.

How long do you think it'll take Diane

to give us the okay to share?

She'll read it as soon as
you'll let me send.

Any more problems, Captain Spell Check?

Looks good.

My friend...

Welcome to Kuala Lumpur.

New Year's is fucking tomorrow night.

Good to know everyone's taking
this shit seriously.

- Thank you.
- Yeah.

Now where's this fucker going?

What are you doing?

It's noon prayers.

I think I'll go to the mosque.

Hey, we don't need you to be a hero.

You don't just break protocol.

We got Murphy and O'Sullivan
on the street.

Two white boys?
That's who we got on this guy?

What has that got to do with anything?

We're not chasing
Italian mobsters anymore.

- You think I don't know that?
- I think you don't.

- Most of you don't get it.
- But you do?

Wasn't born white.
Wasn't raised Catholic.

But I can't keep
watching this guy on TV.

We can do better.

50fucking3, what the fuck?

Hey, I need you to come look
at something right now.

Listen, I promised my therapist

I would eat my breakfast
hot one day this week

before doing any work.

- Toni, the Mihdhar cable...
- Vince.

If you don't let me finish
this ham and cheese croissant

while it's still hot,
I promise I will lose my shit.

Now, what the fuck is going on?


She read our cable.

Diane read it.

Now look at the Mihdhar cable,
the one from Dubai.

50fucking3 motherfuckin'
people have read it.

And Diane won't answer ours?

There's got to be a reason.

They sent a fucking cable

saying that this guy
is coming into our country,

that he has a Saudi passport
and a U.S. visa.

53 people from the CIA have read it.

We're not sharing this yet?

Vince, you got to trust the process.

Diane will tell us when we can share.

I'm calling O'Neill.

There's a reason for the wall.

There is a reason.

We do not just share this information.

That's not our job.

You want to get fired?
You want to get me fired?

Are you so convinced Alec Station

isn't busy looking
out for Alec Station?

You really think Diane gives a shit

about working with O'Neill and I49?

Why else would they have
stationed us here, then?

That's exactly what
I'm starting to wonder.

Why the fuck did they...

Why the fuck did they bring us here?

George Tenet has testified that this

cable simply fell through the cracks.

He told us under oath

that no one read it

and that he wasn't aware of it.

How do you make sense of that?

I don't have to make sense
of the director's claims.

I know for a fact that
50 to 60 people read the cable.

Think about what that means.

50 to 60 people

and I was never told.

And John O'Neill was never told.


There is little doubt in my mind.

This had to go all the way up.

Welcome to Los
Angeles International Airport.

Please have your passport
and declaration form ready

as you enter the customs area.

Welcome to America, sir.

Thank you.


Thank you.

Thank you.

Gulf accents!


I have many brothers in the Gulf.

Where are you from?

I am Saudi, but I live in Yemen.

He's also Saudi.

Are you visiting the States,
or settling in?

A bit of both.

It's always easier to settle in

if you can meet people from home.

Have you lived here long?

It's been a few years for me.

I was lucky enough to find work

with the Saudi Consulate.

Mr. Director.

Mr. Ambassador.


- For you and Stephanie.
- Thank you.

- They're from Saudi?
- Of course.

In the desert,
we grow the sweetest fruits.


Mr. Director.

I asked for the privilege
of your company

so as to inform you that
a resolution has been reached.

That problem we recently discussed?

Yes, our problem.

- It's being taken care of.
- Good man.

I had no doubt a solution
would present itself.

My grandfather used to tell me...

"Make distance between yourself
and every dirtiness."

Important advice for men like us.

My grandfather carried a handkerchief.

I hope your wife enjoys the figs.

Where's my guy?

Your guy left his assigned position.

Must have had a good reason.

I figured you'd say that.

After all, what's agency protocol

when you can just play
Cowboys and Indians?

Pretty sure Meskini's from Algeria.

Best to you.

By the way,

that open slot heading up
the New York office?

I just found out Louis Freeh's
D.C. guy got the job.


He's a good guy, Sanchez.

One of the best.

Tell Soufan to come see me.

If you find him.


- Peace be upon you.
- And upon you.

I'd like to speak
to your esteemed boss.

I saw him at the mosque.

I would like to give to my brothers.

And who are your brothers?

Ressam is my brother.

You know my brother as Abu Reda.

You can decide how to use this.

Welcome to the family.

May God bless you.

With 2 million

expected here before the night is done,

it appears police are doing

everything they can
to be accommodating.

But the 8,000 cops on duty
are not taking any chances.

NYPD helicopters have been
buzzing the Square all day.

Police say security will be tight

even after the ball drops at midnight.

The party here does not end

until just after 6:00 tomorrow morning.

- Hey.
- Hey, man.

Soufan! Get in here.

With everything I got going on,

everyone on my ass,

you broke protocol by going
into a mosque?

I went in there to pray.

You left your post yesterday
because you had a sudden urge

to do something I've never
seen you do before, pray?

This may come as a shock to you, boss,

but I'm a Muslim.

It was afternoon prayers.

I went inside, took off my shoes,

and I prayed.

And yeah, I saw Meskini
while I was in there.

But if you really have a problem

with me going
inside of a mosque to pray,

maybe it's because
you never had to think

about the fact
that I'm an actual Muslim.

- Maybe that's the problem.
- Don't you dare.

This is about
working the case the right way

in the very limited
fucking time that we have.

Which means you cannot do this.

Cannot do what? Pray?

Every day, five times a day,

over a billion Muslims pray together.

But you don't want me to do that, ever?

Okay, Ali, okay, I'm not
doing this with you right now.

Okay, pray whenever the fuck you want.

In the meantime,
we have to make a move.

I saw enough to know
that this guy Meskini

knows the whole community,
that he is a mover,

and he's got to be high up there,

maybe a direct connection to Zawahiri.

- He's collecting money for them.
- How do you know that?

- 'Cause I saw.
- You saw?

I introduced myself.

- You what?
- Not by name, I...

Listen, we're on the right track.

But there's got to be so much more

to this guy that we don't know.

I just need a few days

to figure out exactly where he fits in.

You know this is
the tip of the iceberg.

One of the guys that you want to follow

could just be about ready
to pull another Ressam,

except he'll be successful,

and he'll be at the biggest,
most fucking congested party

in the world.

So that's it? Fuck the big picture?

You know we've got

14 goddamn hours to stop these guys

if they're gonna do something.

We're not gonna get them
your way, not in time.

Get out of my office.

Fuck it.

All right, kids, clock's run
out on our Brooklyn friends.

Arrest everybody we got leads on.

Connected to Meskini or not.

We're shutting this
the fuck down today.

And Soufan, make the arrests.

Then you can sit tonight out.

- FBI, let me see your hands!
- Put your hands up.

- Turn around.
- Up against the wall!

Turn around. Up against the window.

- Hands up! Hands up!
- Turn around!

Don't try anything.

- FBI, let me see your hands.
- Let's go.

- Come on.
- Stand up, stand up.


Sit down! I need you to sit down.

Five... four...

three... two... one...

And there'd be, like,
photos of him everywhere

and videos, and his clothes.

Like a museum.

Except you get to, like,
smoke and be naked inside.

You're here.
Why didn't you come find me?


You look like you need rescuing.

Hey, you know I like you, but

I'm not sure about your friends.


Those are my neighbors, not my friends.

And they smoke way too much weed.

I noticed.

I noticed that you said you like me.

When did that happen?

Sometime between "Where's Waldo"

and, that thing
you did the other night.

- What thing?
- You know what thing.

That thing.


Happy New Year.

Happy New Year, beautiful.

- Cheers.
- Cheers.

- To you.
- Happy New Year, Floyd.

Happy New Year.

To twotriple.

I think... I think I'm
gonna be in my prime this year.

- Really? Really?
- Yeah, yeah, yeah.

- I think... I think...
- Why do you think that?

- You think that?
- Hey.

You guys can get on out of here.

Welcome to a new century, fellas.

All right, boss.

Hey, Vince, you need a ride uptown?

No, I'm gonna hang here
for a minute.

All right.

Happy New Year, y'all.

Yeah, happy New Year. Take care, Floyd.


I think there's something
you should know.

I was gonna say...

you can relax now.

The bad guys lost tonight.

Vince, tell me honestly.

What is it we did here?

What are you talking about?

We stopped them.

We won.

We won?

I'm telling you,
it's like whackamole.

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.

Well, our broadcast
is coming to an end.

I should remind you that if you,

if you want to see more of it,
and some of it

has been fantastic
from around the world,

Sam Donaldson will be on duty
at 8:00 eastern time...

I was tempted to say tomorrow
but I really mean today...

From Washington for a broadcast
called "Dawn of a New Era."

And he will have all
of the great highlights

that we've seen touches of
in the last few minutes

from around the world.

And just before we leave,
some absolutely unplanned,

unrehearsed comments.

I feel a little bit,
as I think a lot of us do,

like the people that were
entering the 20th century

100 years ago with great fascination

that we were on the edge of the unknown

and, because there was so much
yet to be known,

a real hunger to know more
and a certain trepidation.

They were coming
into the technological age

and we now go into
a new technological age.

There'll be lots of time
in the days ahead

to revisit all of the commentary

that has been offered up
about the millennium

in the last several days
and weeks and months.

I remind myself of only one
thing at the end of this thing

and it's what one
of our great futurists...

We do have futurists, you know.

At the end of the 20th century said,

"Remember when you put
the known and the unknown

"into a computer, the unpredictable

always outweighs the predictable."

So the future is exciting,
and it is uncertain.