Former agent Ali Soufan served with the FBI for eight years. He investigated highly sensitive and complex international terrorism cases, including bombings and attacks around the world. In this episode of FBI Retired Case File Review, Ali Soufan reviews his investigation of the attack on the USS Cole where suicide terrorists exploded a small boat alongside the Navy Destroyer—as it was refueling in the Yemeni port of Aden. The blast ripped a 40-foot-wide hole near the waterline of the Cole, killing 17 American sailors and injuring many more. Ali also discusses the events surrounding 9/11. He also discusses his New York Times top 10 bestseller book The Black Banners: The Inside Story of 9/11 and the War Against al-Qaeda and the 10-part Hulu television series “The Looming Tower” in which he and his work are portrayed.
During his FBI career, Ali Soufan was assigned to and later supervised the New York Office’s the Joint Terrorism Task Force where he coordinated both domestic and international counterterrorism operations. He often operated out of hostile environments and carried out sensitive extraterritorial missions and high-level negotiations, and has received numerous awards and commendations for his counter-terrorism work. These include the Director of the FBI’s Award for Excellence in Investigation, the Respect for Law Enforcement Award for “relentless pursuit of truth and bringing terrorist subjects before the bar of justice,” and a commendation from the U.S. Department of Defense that labeled him “an important weapon in the ongoing war on terrorism.”
Currently, Ali Soufan is the Chief Executive Officer of The Soufan Group and Founder of The Soufan Center and also serves as a member of the Homeland Security Advisory Council. Mr. Soufan has testified before the U.S. Congress, and Presidential Commissions, and appeared on 60 Minutes, Frontline, The BBC, Newsweek, The Washington Post, The New York Times, and The Wall Street Journal. He is the author of, Anatomy of Terror: From the Death of bin Laden to the Rise of the Islamic State, which lays bare the psychology and inner workings of al-Qaeda, the Islamic State, and their spawn, and shows how the spread of terror can be stopped.
Supervisory Special Agent (Former)
11/1997 – 5/2005
“We had to operate under very difficult conditions by the host government who did not want to believe that it was a terrorist attack.” – Former Agent Ali Soufan
The following are links to a FBI Website and news articles about the investigation into the bombing of the USS Cole and a profile on former agent Ali Soufan:
FBI.gov Website: Famous Cases – USS Cole Bombing
The New Yorker – July 3, 2006: The Agent – Did the C.I.A. stop an F.B.I. detective from preventing 9/11?