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Tragic Story Of FBI Agent Who Warned About Growing Threat Of US Terrorist Attack Prior To 9/11

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Tragic Story Of FBI Agent Who Warned About Growing Threat Of US Terrorist Attack Prior To 9/11

A former FBI agent who was killed in the 9/11 attacks had previously warned the government about the growing threat of terrorism in the US.

John P O'Neill was an FBI agent who worked in counter-terrorism, he went on to become a Special Agent in Charge within the organisation.

Credit: FBI
Credit: FBI

His first terrorism case with the FBI was an investigation of the 1993 attack on the World Trade Center, which would go on to influence him throughout the rest of his career.

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After investigating the 1996 bombing of the Khobar Towers in Saudi Arabia - O'Neill began to speak out to the FBI and the government about the threat of a US terror attack.

In 1997, O'Neill told the Associated Press: "A lot of these groups now have the capability and the support infrastructure in the United States to attack us here if they choose to do so."

And just one month later, speaking at the National Strategy Forum in Chicago, O'Neill said: "I think interesting times lie ahead.

"Certainly, we as citizens will be challenged. I know the FBI will continue to be challenged in the years to come.

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Credit: PA
Credit: PA

"Unfortunately, I cannot predict that no Americans will be injured or killed as a result of a terrorist attack."

As part of his role, O'Neill learnt about al-Qaeda and Osama Bin Laden - in fact he was one of the first people in the world to recognise the risk the terrorist group posed to the US.

In 2000, he and his team were pivotal in stopping al-Qaeda's planned Millennium Attacks on tourist sites in Jordan and the busy Los Angeles airport, iNews reports.

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On 22 August 2001, O'Neill retired from his role at the FBI and started a new job as head of security at the World Trade Center.

Just days before 9/11, O'Neill had been talking to his friend Chris Isham, a producer at ABC News, about the possibility of an attack in New York.

Credit: PA
Credit: PA

During the conversation Isham had jokingly told his pal he would be safe in the World Trade Center building as 'at least they're not going to bomb it again', to which O'Neill replied: "They'll probably try to finish the job."

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Tragically, O'Neill's chilling prediction came true just days later - and he died in the attacks, which killed 2,996 people.

O'Neill's navy-blue FBI jacket and the passport he used to carry out his work within the bureau are currently on display at the Revealed: The Hunt for Bin Laden exhibition within the 9/11 Memorial & Museum in New York.

Featured Image Credit: Federal Bureau of Investigation

Topics: US News, FBI

Claire Reid
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