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In Memory of John P. O'Neill

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In Tribute to John P. O'Neill
49 years old.   Residence: New York, N.Y.
Died in World Trade Center

NOTE:  The visitor remarks and comments below are NOT NECESSARILY the feelings or beliefs of this website's webmaster or sponsors.

50 Total Comments
Page:  2 of 3

I didn't know him personally, but I still miss John O'Neill. Now that Yemen is back in the news, I think of John and his agents and their tireless effort to garner information on Osama Bin Laden, the Cole incident, etc. and thank them. To "the man that knew," I salute you. To his family, my heart still sorrows for your loss.

*** Posted by Kathleen Kosares on 2009-12-29 ***


You're a national hero.... That goes beyond any one thing you did.... Never forgetting.

*** Posted by Mick on 2009-09-11 ***

I just watched a rerun of "The Path to 9/11" this evening, as I had missed the broadcast 2 years ago. R.I.P., JOHN P. O'NEILL.

*** Posted by Samantha Moodley on 2009-06-18 ***

This is an example of a true American, John P O'neill. What an outstanding American! I just watched the documentary, "The Man Who Knew." I write this note with tears in my eyes filled with emotion for this man and his family. I am simply amazed by his work and his talents. This American will always be remembered by thousands of us. God bless.

*** Posted by Anthony on 2009-03-16 ***

I worked with John in the 1980s, and we shared a small office for a couple of years. Later, when he was in Chicago, I called him to ask for a hotel recommendation since my family and I were going to visit Chicago for Christmas. He responded that he was scheduled to be out-of-town at the time of our visit, and he insisted that we stay at his apartment rather than pay for a hotel room. When we arrived at his apartment, I opened the refrigerator and saw a note of welcome from John. He was a good guy well before New York, Yemen, and the WTC, and he never ever forgot where he came from.

*** Posted by Ed on 2008-12-14 ***

I salute you, John P. O'Neill. Your bravery goes beyond any nature, and I watched your struggle to make the world safe, and you still made it with all the obstacles. Good job, Mr. O'Neill, and our hearts are with you from Kenya. Rest in peace, Mr. O'Neill. Sir, you have all my respect.

*** Posted by Gicheru (Kenya) on 2008-09-29 ***

You memory and legacy remains in our hearts and our minds. Never to be forgotten. Thanks You.

*** Posted by Donna on 2008-09-11 ***

I will never forget the heroes of 9/11. I will always remember!

*** Posted by Beth O'Neill on 2008-09-08 ***

John P. O'Neill was a visionary. Like all of us, he had his flaws. Yet those flaws did not detract from his energy, drive, and patriotism. America needs more heroes like him. He was not politically correct and not afraid to make enemies to do the right thing for his country. I will always honor him as an American Hero.

*** Posted by Mike Chamness on 2008-07-17 ***

I think about you and our story every day. You are proof that there are good souls and benevolent forces in the universe.

Donna (Vanessa's Mom)

*** Posted by Donna Marsh O'Connor on 2008-07-16 ***

Thank you, John,

Although your voice was not heard, your memory will live forever.

Marea Whitley, Australia.

*** Posted by Marea Whitley on 2008-07-15 ***

I salute you, John Patrick O'NEIL! I just finished reading "The Looming Tower," by Lawrence Wright. Your stealth of determination of being the professional protector of the United States of America will always be carried in my heart!

*** Posted by JD on 2008-01-25 ***

I am reading "The Cell" and in doing so, I Google all those in it who "move" me. I am at a point in the book where John O'Neill is a major person in the fight against terrorism. I had no idea that he died in 9/11, and I am so saddened to read this. It sounds like he was a GREAT man.... And how horrific that he died by the hands of those he was trying to fight....

*** Posted by Nancy on 2007-07-22 ***

I am reading the book written about John during my third year in a row in Afghanistan fighting terror. Since I do similiar work as he did, this book is giving me great insight on the inner workings of a terrorist. In my opinion, John was a great man and patriot. If only there were more like him.

*** Posted by an army guy on 2007-04-14 ***

The story of John O'Neill is one that all Americans should know and understand. His efforts to protect many people fell on too many deaf ears for too long in both political parties and across the power spectrum. Having just watched the DVD of World Trade Center, it reminded me again of his efforts. It was still just as upsetting and moving to see this more than five years after the tragedy of 9/11 and still feel pride in the way so many people came together as one during a most difficult time.

*** Posted by Stephen W. Kennedy on 2006-12-25 ***

Your courage, your conviction, and your single-minded devotion in trying to achieve what was right is an inspiration to all of us for times to come. It's a pity that the ones in the seat of power didn't heed your timely warnings and didn't pay the proper respect to your foresightedness regarding Al Qaeda and Usama Bin Laden. May your soul rest in eternal peace.

*** Posted by Sid on 2006-11-20 ***

I have just recently started reading everything I can regarding events leading up to 9-11 as well as the beginning of Al Qaeda. There is one name that becomes prominent in all of this. And that is John O'Neill. Had more people listened to him and had he been able to pull all the security informational departments together, many terriorist events could have been prevented. It becomes clear that the reason the 9-11 attacks were not prevented was due to the lack and delay of CIA departments relaying information to the FBI and others. Something that John O'Neill spent his entire career trying to overcome. And it is tragic that the prediction he made about the terrorist coming back to finish the job at the WTC had to involve his death. May he rest in peace. Thanks John for all you did in gathering the necessary data to confirm the existance of Al Qaeda and for providing the information necessary to capture those responsible for so many terrorist acts.

*** Posted by Roe on 2006-11-08 ***

John was a true American Hero. One of the best our country had. I wish I had the honor to know him. He was a great loss to our country. God bless him.

*** Posted by Pat on 2006-10-01 ***

Rest in peace and may God be with you and your family.

*** Posted by Crystal on 2006-09-26 ***

John P. O'Neill
From SourceWatch

In August 2001, John P. O'Neill resigned from his post at the FBI. O'Neill became the security chief of the World Trade Center - where he died during the events of 9/11. [1] (http://www.rememberjohn.com/)

O'Neill was the FBI's Chief of International Terrorism Operations[2] (http://www.nationalstrategy.com/speakers/oneill.html); and Assistant Special Agent in Charge of Counterterrorism and National Security [3] (http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/knew/john/timeline.html). In the 8 October 2002 testimony of former Director Louis J. Freeh (http://www.fbi.gov/short/10-08-02jicifreeh.pdf), O'Neill "was FBI's counterterrorism chief who helped forge what became the excellent and unprescedented FBI-CIA relationship in counter-terrorism".

"All the answers, everything needed to dismantle Osama bin Laden's organization can be found in Saudi Arabia," John O'Neill, the FBI's former top bin Laden investigator, said shortly before his death in the World Trade Center. O'Neill explicitly referred to interference from US policymakers concerned about U.S.-Saudi relations. He "complained that the F.B.I. was not free to act in international terror investigations because the State Department kept interfering," according to a New York Times account of O' Neill's interview with French journalist Jean-Charles Brisard shortly before his death. O'Neill "explains the failure in one word: oil." [4] (http://www.alternet.org/story.html?StoryID=16749)

Richard A. Clarke writes on page 14 in Against All Enemies. Inside America's War on Terror (March 2004) that John O'Neill was his "closest friend in the Bureau and a man determined to destroy al Qaeda until the Bureau had driven him out because he was too obsessed with al Qaeda and didn't mind breaking crockery in his drive to get Usama bin Laden. O'Neill did not fit the narrow little mold that Director Louis Freeh wanted for his agents. He was too aggressive, thought outside the box. O'Neill's struggle with Freeh was a case study in why the FBI could not do the homeland protection mission. So, O'Neill retired from the FBI and had just become director of security for the World Trade Center complex the week before."

Most of the victims of the September 11 attack seemed tragically random -- they were just going to work. Not John O'Neill. Until last August [2001], he'd been the FBI's top expert on Al Qaeda and Osama bin Laden, a lead investigator of the USS Cole and African embassy bombings. Leaving the Bureau in frustration, he'd taken a job he thought of as retirement: World Trade Center security chief. But when he died it became clear: His own life contained as many mysteries as his enemy's. -- Robert Kolker, New York Metro.com (http://www.newyorkmetro.com/nymetro/news/sept11/features/5513/)

[This is] an abridged chronology taken from "The Counter Terrorist" by Lawrence Wright for The New Yorker Issue of 2002-01-14 (http://www.newyorker.com/fact/content/?020114fa_FACT1) (8000 words) subtitled "John O'Neill was an F.B.I. agent with an obsession: the growing threat of Al Qaeda.":

O'Neill was worried that terrorists had established a beachhead in America. In a June, 1997, speech in Chicago, he warned, "Almost all of the groups today, if they chose to, have the ability to strike us here in the United States." He was particularly concerned that, as the millennium approached, Al Qaeda would seize the moment to dramatize its war with America. The Jordanians in December 1999 discovered an Al Qaeda training manual on CD-ROM. What followed was, according to Richard A. Clarke, the most comprehensive investigation ever conducted before September 11th. O'Neill's job was to supervise the operation in New York. After the millennium roundup, O'Neill suspected that Al Qaeda had sleeper cells buried in America. "He started pulling the strings in Jordan and in Canada, and in the end they all led back to the United States," Clarke said. "There was a general disbelief in the F.B.I. that Al Qaeda had much of a presence here. It just hadn't sunk through to the organization, beyond O'Neill and Dale Watson"--the assistant director of the counter-terrorism division. Clarke's discussions with O'Neill and Watson over the next few months led to a strategic plan called the Millennium After-Action Review, which specified a number of policy changes designed to root out Al Qaeda cells in the United States.

In Yemen for investigation of the [12 October 2000] USS Cole bombing, Michael Sheehan, who was the State Department's coŲrdinator for counter-terrorism at the time, made clear to Barbara Bodinein, the American Ambassador to Yemen, "in a cable under [then Secretary of State] Madeleine Albright's signature saying that there were three guiding principles," Sheehan said. "The highest priorities were the immediate safety of American personnel and the investigation of the attack. No. 3 was maintaining a relationship with the government of Yemen--but only to support those objectives."
After two months in Yemen, O'Neill came home feeling that he was fighting the counter-terrorism battle without support from his own government. He had made some progress in gaining access to evidence, but so far the investigation had been a failure. Concerned about continuing threats against the remaining F.B.I. investigators, he tried to return in January of 2001. Bodine denied his application to reŽnter the country. She refuses to discuss that decision. "Too much is being made of John O'Neill's being in Yemen or not," she told me. "John O'Neill did not discover Al Qaeda. He did not discover Osama bin Laden. So the idea that John or his people or the F.B.I. were somehow barred from doing their job is insulting to the U.S. government, which was working on Al Qaeda before John ever showed up. This is all my embassy did for ten months. The fact that not every single thing John O'Neill asked for was appropriate or possible does not mean that we did not support the investigation."

In March, 2001, Richard Clarke asked the national-security adviser, Condoleezza Rice, for a job change; he wanted to concentrate on computer security. "I was told, 'You've got to recommend somebody similar to be your replacement,' " Clarke recalled. "I said, 'Well, there's only one person who would fit that bill.' " For months, Clarke tried to persuade O'Neill to become a candidate as his successor. In July 2001, O'Neill decided to retire the following month from the FBI and take the job of chief of security for the World Trade Center. Meanwhile, intelligence had been streaming in concerning a likely Al Qaeda attack. "It all came together in the third week in June," Clarke said. "The C.I.A.'s view was that a major terrorist attack was coming in the next several weeks." On July 5th, Clarke summoned all the domestic security agencies--the Federal Aviation Administration, the Coast Guard, Customs, the Immigration and Naturalization Service, and the F.B.I.--and told them to increase their security in light of an impending attack. When O'Neill told ABC's Isham of his decision to work at the Trade Center, Isham had said jokingly, "At least they're not going to bomb it again." O'Neill had replied, "They'll probably try to finish the job." On the day he started at the Trade Center--August 23rd--the C.I.A. sent a cable to the F.B.I. saying that two suspected Al Qaeda terrorists were already in the country. The bureau tried to track them down, but the addresses they had given when they entered the country proved to be false, and the men were never located.

*** Posted by Jan jaap on 2006-09-17 ***

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