The Man Who Knew Documentary

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BlueSkiesBurn
6/21/11 2:17:33PM
This is not a political thread

We watched this documentary in my graduate program on leadership and styles of leadership.

The story is of a man named John O'Neill. He was FBI's leading expert on al-Qaeda. I mean, he got things done that were unprecedented at the time, but he also had massive personal problems that ultimately lead to a clash at the top of the FBI, his voice no longer being heard, and him dismissed. There's only one problem...he knew a major attack was coming. John O'Neill's job after leaving the FBI? Head of security at the World Trade Center.


I found this documentary VERY interesting and I'm not concerned about the politics. It's very interesting to examine from an administrative perspective.

For example, should his personal life have impacted the information he was providing to the head's of the Bureau? Was his style of leadership so awful that it ultimately affected many more than him, or was the style of leadership above him not capable of understanding that, while he was different, he was effective?

Please avoid all political discussion, I really just thought this was a very good documentary and I know there's plenty of people on this site that will want to see this, if they haven't already.

Video

The Man Who Knew Homepage on PBS
emfleek
6/21/11 2:24:28PM

Posted by BlueSkiesBurn

This is not a political thread

Please avoid all political discussion, I really just thought this was a very good documentary and I know there's plenty of people on this site that will want to see this, if they haven't already.



This. The thread stays for now. It's gone as soon as the first turd is thrown. Think before you post, please.
bojangalz
6/21/11 2:26:28PM
Pretty sure I've seen this one already. He's the guy who had the centers doing emergency evacuation drills like twice a month right? Didn't he take the gig after the bombing in the basement/loading area of the trade centers. From what I remember this guy fought against complacency tooth and nail. A lesson that can be carried into every walk of life.

Lots of people died in those towers that day. But many, many more would have died were it not for him.
BlueSkiesBurn
6/21/11 2:42:44PM

Posted by bojangalz

Pretty sure I've seen this one already. He's the guy who had the centers doing emergency evacuation drills like twice a month right? Didn't he take the gig after the bombing in the basement/loading area of the trade centers. From what I remember this guy fought against complacency tooth and nail. A lesson that can be carried into every walk of life.

Lots of people died in those towers that day. But many, many more would have died were it not for him.



He was actually in charge of the Washington counterterrorism office. He had worked in white collar crimes before this, but was the principal agent in the arrests of some major terrorist figures. He just had a way with people, troops, and informants. When nobody else could crack them, he could. He actually was the agent responsible for identifying Ramzi Yousef, who was responsible for the bombing of the Khobar Towers in Saudi Arabia.

The problem was that he was as blunt of an individual you'd ever meet. He personally cussed out FBI Director Freeh on more than one occasion. The beginning of the end for him came when he got into a war of words with Barbara Bodine who was the U.S. Ambassador to Yemen.

O'Neill had tracked part of the mainframe of al-Qaeda to Yemen and believed that the majority of the information that al-Qaeda was passing along was through a back-channel located in Yemen. Bodine fought him tooth and nail and this ultimately led to a smear campaign against him and his dismissal from the FBI.

He took the job as head of security for the WTC and was in the building when the planes struck. He did not live. It wasn't until after that they found out that O'Neill was right. That back-channel was in Yemen, and it was right where he said it would be and they wouldn't let him go.

The whole smear campaign started over the bombing of the USS Cole and how to handle it. Turns out, O'Neill was right.
FlashyG
6/21/11 2:49:23PM

Posted by bojangalz

Pretty sure I've seen this one already. He's the guy who had the centers doing emergency evacuation drills like twice a month right? Didn't he take the gig after the bombing in the basement/loading area of the trade centers. From what I remember this guy fought against complacency tooth and nail. A lesson that can be carried into every walk of life.

Lots of people died in those towers that day. But many, many more would have died were it not for him.



I think you might be referring to Rick "Hard Core" Rescorla who died in the Sept. 11 attacks after successfully evacuating 3700 employees of Morgan Stanley. He apparently insisted on going through floor to floor to make sure nobody was missed.

He was also a character and the person on the cover of the book "We Were Soldiers Once...and Young" which was turned into a Mel Gibson movie about 10 yrs ago.

Easily one of the most interesting men I've ever read about and described by some as the "Best Platoon leader they ever saw"

BlueSkiesBurn
6/21/11 2:53:20PM

Posted by FlashyG


Posted by bojangalz

Pretty sure I've seen this one already. He's the guy who had the centers doing emergency evacuation drills like twice a month right? Didn't he take the gig after the bombing in the basement/loading area of the trade centers. From what I remember this guy fought against complacency tooth and nail. A lesson that can be carried into every walk of life.

Lots of people died in those towers that day. But many, many more would have died were it not for him.



I think you might be referring to Rick "Hard Core" Rescorla who died in the Sept. 11 attacks after successfully evacuating 2700 employees of Morgan Stanley. He apparently insisted on going through floor to floor to make sure nobody was missed.

He was also a character and the person on the cover of the book "We Were Soldiers Once...and Young" which was turned into a Mel Gibson movie about 10 yrs ago.

Easily one of the most interesting men I've ever read about and described by some as the "Best Platoon leader they ever saw"




Thanks for that, Gord, I wasn't sure who he was referring to. There were parts of his analysis that were applicable to O'Neill as well. O'Neill would not tolerate complacency or people giving him the brush-off. He was a very in your face Chief. To the point that it wound up circumventing his own cause and, in some senses, cost him his life.
FlashyG
6/21/11 2:59:40PM
They do sound quite similar, I'll be giving your documentary a look tonight
BlueSkiesBurn
6/21/11 3:02:07PM

Posted by FlashyG

They do sound quite similar, I'll be giving your documentary a look tonight



By all means, let me know what you think. I will say this about the documentary, there's not much of an epilogue. If I had to pick one thing about this documentary that I didn't like, that would be the only thing. They sort of just end it after he dies in the attacks on 9-11.. Most of the "after the fact" information that you get is given throughout the course of the interviews with the various people. You have to extrapolate and figure out the timeline for yourself, somewhat...it's really well done, though.
bojangalz
6/21/11 4:41:21PM

Posted by FlashyG



I think you might be referring to Rick "Hard Core" Rescorla who died in the Sept. 11 attacks after successfully evacuating 3700 employees of Morgan Stanley. He apparently insisted on going through floor to floor to make sure nobody was missed.





Yeah, I was getting the two confused. I youtube'd The Man Who Knew, and recall seeing at least parts, if not all of it. But Rescorla was the guy who I was thinking of.
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