The Cell: Inside the 9/11 Plot, And Why the FBI and CIA Failed to Stop It
by John Miller and Michael Stone and Chris Mitchell
What Went Wrong
A review by Adrienne Miller
If a book has three authors, watch out. Having just finished The Cell, by John Miller and Michael Stone ("with" Chris Mitchell), I'm even more confused about who knew what when than I was before. First of all, whose story is this? Whose POV? Is it ABC reporter John Miller's? Is it one of the other authors'? Is it that of Neil Herman, Louie Napoli, or Tommy Corrigan, the three veterans of New York's Joint Terrorism Task Force, who'd for decades been investigating radical Islamic terrorists, and who, as far as I can tell, are The Cell's main sources?
A book like The Cell is useful or important if it does one of two things: 1) breaks news, or 2) gives a more lucid, more cogent, more comprehensive overview of a story than, say, a series of newspaper articles could. The Cell succeeds at neither of these, and its only revelation is that El Sayyid Nosair, the man who assassinated Rabbi Meir Kahane in New York in 1990, was possibly an integral member in al-Kifah, the organization that would later become al Qaeda. Statements such as Neil Herman's "I always thought that the 26-month period between the Kahane assassination and the first WTC bombing was a key period — a time when we could have really made a statement. But that time was lost," have a tell-us-something-we-didn't-know whiff. Also included here, somewhat perfunctorily, is the story behind John Miller's now-famous 1998 interview with Osama bin Laden (which also became an article for Esquire). It's puzzling that three such experienced and knowledgeable reporters could have written such a chaotic mess of a book.
Adrienne Miller is Esquire's literary editor.
to Esquire and Save 75%
Get 12 fantastic issues of Esquire magazine
for only $8. The best culture, entertainment, style, financial advice, women
and more delivered right to your door every month ? at an incredible 81% savings
off the newsstand price! What could be better... or easier?
here to subscribe now!