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Frontline: Season 2002

2002x19 The Man Who Knew

  • 2002-10-03T20:00:00-05:00 on PBS
  • 57 mins
  • United States
  • English
  • Documentary, News

As an FBI agent who specialized in counter-terrorism, John P. O'Neill investigated the bombing of the American embassies in Kenya and Tanzania, the USS Cole in Yemen, the Khobar Towers in Saudi Arabia, and the first attack on the World Trade Center. O'Neill came to believe America should kill Osama bin Laden before Al Qaeda launched a devastating attack, but his was often a lonely voice. A controversial figure, O'Neill's hot pursuit of terrorists and his James Bond style led to nicknames like "Elvis," "The Count," and "the Prince of Darkness" inside the buttoned-down world of the FBI. In the end, he was forced out of the job he loved and entered the private sector - as director of security for the World Trade Center. He died there on September 11. His story is the stuff of Hollywood - yet it's true. O'Neill's relentless obsession with Al Qaeda, and his efforts to get the government to pay attention to the growing threat posed by Osama bin Laden inform the question on every American's mind after September 11: What did the government know?