The Black Banners (Declassified) w/ Ali Soufan – Ep 85

Ali Soufan, former FBI agent who investigated al Qaeda in the late 1990’s up to and including the 9/11 attacks, chairman and CEO of The Soufan Group, and author of several great works, including the recent second edition of “The Black Banners”, now completely unredacted, stops by the podcast to discuss his work as a federal agent, his portrayal in The Looming Tower (both the award winning book by Lawrence Wright and the Hulu limited series), his youth in Lebanon and how he was dared to apply for an opening as a FBI agent, his thoughts on the Global War on Terror and how U.S. military operations have changed the “landscape” of the Middle East, the long journey of fighting to unredact The Black Banners, and a whole lot more.

Ali Soufan is Chairman and CEO of The Soufan Group, and a leading national security and counterterrorism expert.  Previously, as an FBI Supervisory Special Agent, he investigated and supervised complex international terrorism cases, including the East Africa embassy bombings, the attack on the USS Cole, and the events surrounding 9/11. He also serves as a member of the Homeland Security Advisory Council. 

He is the author of Anatomy of Terror: From the Death of bin Laden to the Rise of the Islamic State and the New York Times top-10 bestseller The Black Banners: The Inside Story of 9/11 and the War Against al-Qaeda, which won the 2012 Ridenhour Book Prize.

Ali has testified before the U.S. Congress and the British Parliament’s Home Affairs Committee. He’s also contributed to and been profiled and interviewed by 60 Minutes, Frontline, The New Yorker, Newsweek, the Washington Post, the New York Times, and the Wall Street Journal, among others – and also appeared on CNN, MSNBC, Fox News, and the BBC.

 Many of our book and film buff listeners have probably seen his work detailed in several nonfiction books, including The Looming Tower, by Lawrence Wright, which was adapted into a 10-part Hulu series in 2018.


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Fortress On A Hill is hosted, written, and produced by Chris ‘Henri’ Henrikson, Danny Sjursen, and Keagan Miller.

Intro / outro music “Fortress on a hill” written and performed by Clifton Hicks.  Clifton’s Bandcamp pageClifton’s Patreon page

Cover and website art designed by Brian K. Wyatt Jr. of B-EZ Graphix Multimedia Marketing Agency in Tallehassee, FL

Note: The views expressed in this podcast are those of the hosts alone, expressed in an unofficial capacity, and do not reflect the official policy or position of the Department of the Army, Department of Defense, or the U.S. government.

From Afghanistan with sorrowful results – Ep 29

It’s been WAY too long since we’ve done headlines, so we do our best to catch you up.  I break down the current situation in Yemen and discuss some updates, including the American contractors working as mercenaries there while Danny takes us back to the seventeen year old war in Afghanistan, showing the headlines missed during the week while the media was focused on a photo of the senior commander in Afghanistan carrying his rifle.


America Is Headed For Military Defeat in Afghanistan – Danny Sjursen – The American Conservative

Tank plant in Ohio that Trump “saved” – nothing in piece suggested he actually “saved” it.

1.3 million Iraqi children displaced by war with Islamic State

Al Qaeda commander gets numerous emergency surgeries while held at GITMO.

US exempts Iran’s Chabahar Port from sanctions – helpful to Afghanistan’s economy.

Iraq asks US to consider how sanctions will affect Iraq’s economy / etc.

Marine veteran protests Leupold at Blazers game

Think Progress on Leupold protest

Second Saudi journalist tortured and murdered by Saudi authorities

The Ministry of Defense in the UK is being petitioned to stop recruiting 16 and 17 year olds.

Low IQ draftees were chosen after Vietnam leaders couldn’t make numbers.

Rust costs 21 billion per year

Statistical connections between veterans and mass shooters

Army secretary says NCOs should visit barracks on weekends to prevent suicide

Hypertension linked to Agent Orange exposure

VA moving hundreds of docs from union admin spots back to providing care for veterans

1 in 5 generals couldn’t deploy for medical reasons in 2016

There’s a strong possibility that several of the northern Marianas Islands will become bombing ranges for the US Navy – ep from Chapo Traphouse

The Trump administration is demanding the Supreme Court immediately rule on the ban on transgender people serving in the military.

VA isn’t providing benefits correctly to veterans with ALS

85k children under believed to have died in the war in Yemen – CNN

Trump may declare the Houthis a terrorist organization

Finland and Denmark have joined Germany in ceasing all weapons sales to Saudi Arabia over their war crimes in Yemen, along with the continuing fallout from the assassination of Washington Post writer Jamal Khashoggi

Yemenis killed in assassination by American contractors


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FOH is hosted, written, and produced by Chris ‘Henri’ Henrikson and Danny Sjursen

Intro / outro music “Fortress on a hill” written and performed by Clifton Hicks.  Clifton’s Bandcamp pageClifton’s Patreon page

Thanks to Nate Bethea from What A Hell of a Way to Die for editing and mixing this episode

Cover and website art designed by Brian K. Wyatt Jr. of B-EZ Graphix Multimedia Marketing Agency in Tallehassee, FL

Note: The views expressed in this podcast are those of the hosts alone, expressed in an unofficial capacity, and do not reflect the official policy or position of the Department of the Army, Department of Defense, or the U.S. government.