Good confirmation of the presence of CIA Minders during commission interviews.
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By: By Jeff Stein / January 14, 2015 9:24 AM ESTJust before Christmas, former FBI special agent Mark Rossini greeted me with his usual good cheer when we met for drinks in a midtown Manhattan restaurant. He told me his life had finally taken a turn for the better. He’s spending most of his time in Switzerland, where he works for a private global corporate-security firm. “Life’s good,” he said.
Good, but with a few major changes. Rossini was drinking club soda instead of the expensive cabernets he quaffed when I first knew him as a high-flying FBI official in Washington a decade ago, when he was a special assistant to the bureau’s chief spokesman, John Miller (now with the New York City Police Department). “I’ve cut back,” he said. “Feeling good.”
But when I ask him how he’s really doing, the light in his eyes dims. “Well, you know, I still miss the job,” he said, shaking his head. A boneheaded move—showing confidential FBI documents to his actress-flame Linda Fiorentino, who said she was researching a script about L.A. wiretapper extraordinaire Anthony Pellicano—cost him his career in 2008 and nearly landed him in jail.
“What’s past is past,” he said. But not all of it. He quickly told me of an encounter the day before on a street in Yonkers, where he keeps an apartment. He’d run into a close family friend who’d lost relatives at the World Trade Center on 9/11. “Mark,” she told him, “you’ve got to get to the bottom of this.”
“She says that every time I see her,” he said, his mouth turning down. But now, at 53, six years out of the bureau, he’s making a determined effort to do just that—to close some of the gaping holes in the official 9/11 narrative, which blames the attacks on a vague “intelligence failure.”
Rossini is well placed to do just that. He’s been at the center of one of the enduring mysteries of 9/11: Why the CIA refused to share information with the FBI (or any other agency) about the arrival of at least two well-known Al-Qaeda operatives in the United States in 2000, even though the spy agency had been tracking them closely for years.
That the CIA did block him and Doug Miller, a fellow FBI agent assigned to the “Alec Station,” the cover name for CIA’s Osama bin Laden unit, from notifying bureau headquarters about the terrorists has been told before, most notably in a 2009 Nova documentary on PBS, “The Spy Factory.” Rossini and Miller related how they learned earlier from the CIA that one of the terrorists (and future hijacker), Khalid al-Mihdhar, had multi-entry visas on a Saudi passport to enter the United States. When Miller drafted a report for FBI headquarters, a CIA manager in the top-secret unit told him to hold off. Incredulous, Miller and Rossini had to back down. The station’s rules prohibited them from talking to anyone outside their top-secret group.
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