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.

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