Why Top Secret America Misfires – A Conversation with Coleen Rowley


 In hindsight, it’s easy to see how we got here and obvious as to where we are going…Date of conversation, March 20, 2011.

A conversation with Coleen Rowley concerning Why Top Secret America Misfires Intelligence Failures, Media Failures – New York Times Bill Keller – Huffington Post Arianna Huffington – The Lies that Led to war – Valerie Plame, Plamegate, Joe Wilson YellowCake, Niger – Pentagon Papers Daniel Ellsberg – Wikileaks – Bradley Manning – CIA, FBI, DIA, Bush, Rumsefeld, Cheney, Tenet, Rice, Mueller, Freeh, Perle, Powell, Condoleezza Rice – 9/11 Foreknowledge – Afghanistan – Libya – Middle East Protests – NSA Illegal Wiretapping on America – False Data – War on Terrorism – Out of Control Agencies – Defense Spending – Security – Freedom – Liberty – Corruption…

Mp3 Audio Download Link (1hrs47min25sec 64k 49Mb)


alternate download link – (73.7Mb 92kb|mp3 file)





Coleen Rowley (Retired, former FBI)

Coleen Rowley grew up in New Hampton, Iowa, a small farm town about 35 miles south of the Minnesota border. Her father, Larry Cheney, was the town’s letter carrier for 31 years. Her mother stayed at home and raised the family’s five children.

From the time she was eleven years old, Coleen was determined that she would one day become an FBI agent. In January of 1981, she was appointed a Special Agent with the FBI and initially served in the Omaha, Nebraska and Jackson, Mississippi Divisions…

In 1973, Coleen graduated valedictorian of her high school class. She then obtained a B.A. degree in French from Wartburg College (Waverly, Iowa), graduating Summa Cum Laude in 1977. She attended the College of Law at the University of Iowa and graduated with honors in 1980, passing the Iowa Bar Exam that summer.

FBI  –

In 1984, she was assigned to the New York Office where, for more than 6 years, she worked on Italian organized crime and Sicilian heroin drug investigations. She had the opportunity to further her language proficiency in Italian at the Defense Language Institute in Monterey, California. She also served three separate temporary duty assignments in the Paris, France Embassy and the Montreal Consulate.

In 1990, Coleen was transferred to Minneapolis where she assumed the duties of Principal Legal Advisor (which later became “Chief Division Counsel”). Her responsibilities entailed oversight of the Freedom of Information, Forfeiture, Victim-Witness and Community Outreach Programs as well as providing regular legal and ethics training to FBI Agents of the Division and some outside police training.

In May of 2002, Coleen brought some of the pre 9/11 lapses in the investigation of Zacarias Moussaoui to light. The 9/11 Commission subsequently described Moussaoui as an “Al Qaeda mistake and missed opportunity,” the investigation of whom may have led to the center of the Al Qaeda plot if it had been pursued in a timely and effective manner.

In June of 2002, Coleen testified to the Senate Judiciary Committee about some of the endemic problems faced by the FBI and the intelligence community.

In April 2003, following an unsuccessful attempt to warn the Director and other administration officials about the dangers of launching the invasion of Iraq, she “stepped down” from her legal position and returned to being an FBI Special Agent.

Coleen retired from the FBI in December 2004. She has been invited to speak publicly to a number of groups, ranging from school-aged children to business-professional-civic groups on two principal topics: ethical decision-making (and) balancing civil liberties with the need for effective investigation. She wrote a chapter on the latter topic for Patriotism, Democracy and Common Sense: Restoring America’s Promise at Home and Abroad, a book published by the Milton Eisenhower Foundation.

Coleen does not accept payment for her speaking engagements, and has contributed her honoraria to charitable organizations, including the ecumenical Servant Leadership School in Washington DC (which assists with social problems of the inner city) and the Central Asia Institute (which builds schools for children in Pakistan and Afghanistan).





“Top Secret America” is a project nearly two years in the making that describes the huge national security buildup in the United States after the September 11, 2001, attacks…

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More than a dozen Washington Post journalists spent two years developing Top Secret America…


Posted ImageDana Priest
Investigative reporter Dana Priest has been The Washington Post’s intelligence, Pentagon and health-care reporter. She has won numerous awards, including the 2008 Pulitzer Prize for public service for “The Other Walter Reed” and the 2006 Pulitzer for beat reporting for her work on CIA secret prisons and counterterrorism operations overseas.

Posted ImageWilliam M. Arkin
William M. Arkin has been a columnist and reporter with The Washington Post and washingtonpost.com since 1998. He has worked on the subject of government secrecy and national security affairs for more than 30 years. He has authored or co-authored more than a dozen books about the U.S. military and national




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