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The Cell: Inside the 9/11 Plot & Why the FBI & CIA Failed to Stop It
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The Cell: Inside the 9/11 Plot & Why the FBI & CIA Failed to Stop It

3.84  ·  Rating Details  ·  328 Ratings  ·  33 Reviews
In The Cell, John Miller, an award-winning journalist and coanchor of ABC's 20/20, along with veteran reporter Michael Stone and Chris Mitchell, takes readers back more than 10 years to the birth of the terrorist cell that later metastasized into al Qaeda's New York operation. This remarkable book offers a firsthand account of what it is to be a police officer, an FBI agen ...more
Paperback, 384 pages
Published May 14th 2003 by Hachette Books (first published 2002)
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Jun 06, 2011 Jens rated it liked it
Read this for a class called "Terrorist Cells" Wow. Miller's writing is captivating to say the least. He manages to turn this messy story with many characters and motives into something coherent that reads like a hard-boiled detective novel. The passage, "Norris felt that Nosair was involved in something much larger, something that would come back to haunt law enforcement - hell, even the whole city. And Eddie Norris didn't know the half of it." sounds like the opening line from the trailer of t ...more
Dec 22, 2012 Jenny.p rated it really liked it
Shelves: 9-11-books
A gripping account of the evolution of the counter intelligence agencies and people who have been in pursuit of al Qaeda since the early 1990s. Miller takes on the responsibility of answering the most basic yet complicated questions to come of the 9/11 attacks: "how could we have let this happen?" As one of the only Western journalists who has first hand experience with bin Ladin having met and interviewed him in 1998, Miller is the perfect person to write this story. His writing style is comple ...more
Read during a phase to try and make sense of all the coincidences that seemed to occur around the September 2001 tragedy. End result? More money for war, less secular Middle East countries, more terrorist activity (political diplomacy is the #1 factor in its creation), continued oil alliance with opec, the US dollar remains then global standard.
Apr 04, 2012 Mike rated it liked it
The Cell was the first 9/11 book i have read. The catastrophe of 9/11 is mired with so many conspiracy theories that i have been turned off of researching this subject. This book was incredible. Not in the wow sense but in the I just don't believe a lot of what the authors have written. There are many implied scenarios when facts were light or nonexistent. The book read as if it were a funding campaign to increase the national security budget, although it may have been the case.
Ankur Maniar
Sep 02, 2015 Ankur Maniar rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
One of the best non fiction I've read in a long long time. A book which scores equal points for crisp narrative, information, in-depth analysis and commentary on events. One after the other, the chapters unfold the story of how 9/11 was a disaster which could have been avoided or atleast the damage could have been reduced considerably. The two organisations, generally considered the best in the world, CIA and FBI made blunders after blunders in spite of repeated warnings, information at hand and ...more
Oct 13, 2013 Annie rated it really liked it
Amazing book. The author clearly showed both the dogged determination to track down terrorists, to act on information obtained and the bureaucratic nightmare that allowed turf battles, power struggles, political correctness and disinterest to prevail. September 11, 2001 could have been prevented. It happened because of an inability for agencies like the CIA, FBI, and NSA to work together and respond to the many, many red flags that popped up all over. When the Patriot Act was signed into law, I ...more
Erik Graff
Apr 24, 2013 Erik Graff rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: no one
Recommended to Erik by: no one
Shelves: history
Three-four years after the event I start reading the books appearing about 9-11. Meanwhile, at work, our IT director, not a political guy, tells me about the film Loose Change and I pick up that and the 9-11 Commission Report. Watch the first, read part (yawn) of the second (it's mostly about preventative measures). Cognitive dissonance, big time. Watch a few other documentaries, read a few more books. Big gaps, unanswered questions, much suspicion.

This is a relatively early, mainline approach t
Apr 25, 2016 Jessi rated it liked it
A bit dry but not a bad read. It was an interesting topic and one I'd like to explore more of.
Eric Dalton
Feb 26, 2014 Eric Dalton rated it really liked it
Saw it listed on the credits of the TV movie Path to 9/11. The movie and book were both great.
Sep 11, 2015 Mary rated it it was amazing
A read for everyone!
Barbara Garren
Apr 02, 2013 Barbara Garren rated it it was amazing
I read this book as research/background for a novel I want to write. I have to say, it was riveting. Even with all the notes and annotations I made, I couldn't put it down and finished it in days.

Horrifying because of the reality of it, it's so well written you forget it's non-fiction. It's almost mind-bending, the amount of coincidence involved. I lived in New York during the first WTC Bombings - so parts of this were so hard to read, but I'm glad I did.

This is non-fiction writing at it's fin
Nov 02, 2014 John rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 1history, box19
Slow read but a good one. Covers a lot of ground - worth the effort
Feb 01, 2014 Stefanie rated it really liked it
A good primer on the history
Sep 06, 2011 Lincoln rated it it was amazing
Very well done book. The detail is amazing and the whole thing extremely sad, and frustrating. There are a lot of true heroes that are working their butts off every day trying to bust these bad guys and I think this book does a good job of honoring their hard work even though they couldn't prevent the big attack. It also does a good job at bringing to light the absolute evil of these terrorists. At the tenth anniversary of the attacks, I thought it an appropriate read.
Nov 06, 2011 Lee rated it really liked it
The book was written by John Miller the last Western journalist to interview Osama Bin Laden. In this book he outlines the rise of radical Islam from the assassination of Meir Kahane to the first World Trade Center Bombing, the war against the Russians in Afghanistan, the bombings in Saudi Arabia, the bombings of the US embassies in Africa and the Cole and the 9/11 plot. A nicely laid out history of the war of radical Islam and Al Queda against the West.
Brian Bova
Oct 04, 2014 Brian Bova rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: books-owned
Good reading. This book shows how much our government knew prior to 9/11 and did nothing about it. The higher ups "looked away" when they were given authentic information concerning pre-9/11 terrorist activities throughout the world including many US States. Makes you wonder what the government is really concerned about throughout the world.
Matt McNabb
Dec 06, 2009 Matt McNabb rated it it was amazing
I remember John Miller as a journalist when I was growing up in northern New Jersey. His yeoman-like effort on this book is outstanding. The subject matter is uncomfortable at times, and I felt angry more than once. Even the answers don't supply all the answers, so don't expect that. But expect a terrific history and timeline leading up to 9/11.
James Piper
I was surprised at how interesting I found it. There was so much the FBI and NYPD knew about jihadists living in and around NYC prior to Sept. 11th. There are ironic moments like how they caught the bombers involved in the 93 bombing.

Lots of muslim or arabic names which can be disorientating when you're not used to it.

Nick W.
Jun 18, 2015 Nick W. rated it really liked it
Chronicles the woeful sharing of intelligence between agencies before the events of 9/11. Written by a crime reporter who actually got to interview bin Laden shortly before he became a very wanted man. Great stories and buildup at the beginning, but toward the end felt in a hurry to wrap up.
Jun 09, 2015 Rose rated it really liked it
Excellent - I was looking for information on an FBI operation briefly mentioned in Lawrence Wright's The Looming Tower called TERRSTOP. It saved so many American lives but we never hear about it. I had to go directly to the former FBI agent Ali Soufan to find information & he recommended The Cell.
Jun 22, 2011 Tim rated it liked it
Interesting. Even though we had the information on the 911 terrorists we were unable to use the information to stop the attacks from happening. Hopefully we have learned something and it won't happen again.
Megan Jones
May 05, 2012 Megan Jones rated it it was amazing
Insightful and gripping. This book details the history of Al Qaeda and the impact on the US. Very engaging and vivid, with insight into the personalities and challenges they faced. Great!
Oct 01, 2009 Paul rated it liked it
Heavy on facts, but light on analysis. The 9/11 report gives more insight. It shows again how big government doesn't work. People have to provide intellegence, not machines and beaurocrats
Joe Albanese
Aug 03, 2012 Joe Albanese rated it really liked it
Read this for my college class on terrorism. Very good introduction to the events leading up to the 9/11 attacks. Much easier to read than the 9/11 commission report.
Dec 15, 2008 Jessica rated it liked it
Shelves: educational
Interesting background on events leading up to 9/11. Slow reading with lots of details, but good to help understand what happened and those behind it.
Nov 05, 2010 Angrywhiteboyclothing rated it it was amazing
FASCINATING READ!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! The FBI and CIA are ALL F*CK UPS!!!!!!! 9/11 was an INSIDE JOB! OPEN UR POLITICALLY CORECT MINDS U SHEEPLE!!!!!!!!!!
Sheryl Fredricks
Apr 17, 2008 Sheryl Fredricks rated it really liked it
Educational. SAD!!! I hate that this happened especially with the warnings that we had...
Jul 12, 2010 Jose rated it it was amazing
excellent audio book, but it's abridged version..great for a quick trip to sd. yvonne dug it.
Apr 07, 2013 Stephen rated it it was ok
Ended in a predictable....we should have stopped Bin Laden.
Dec 24, 2007 Brian rated it really liked it
Good account of how the FBI and CIA blew it.
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