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Stolen documents, Early retirement, and Sudden death
by Mr. Smarty Pants reposted
Saturday Nov 17th, 2001 8:28 PM
O’Neill, formerly the director of antiterrorism for the FBI’s New York office, complained that he was constantly being hampered in his investigations into international terrorism.
Excerpted from Global IMC post.
See for full posting.

I've noticed a few postings recently about O'Neill here on Indy. I snagged a couple stories about him weeks ago that are very interesting.


Eulogy stuff from the LA Times:

Anti-Terrorist Elite Bury Victim of Cause

ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. -- Some of those waging the nation's war on terrorism paused Friday to pay their respects to one of their own, John P. O'Neill, the former hard-charging FBI counter-terrorism chief who died in the World Trade Center Sept. 11 at the hands of the kind of terrorists he spent years investigating.

In a service at St. Nicholas of Tolentine Roman Catholic Church, assistant FBI director Barry Mawn told more than 1,000 mourners that O'Neill was perhaps the best weapon the bureau ever had to fight terrorism.

Like others, Mawn noted that O'Neill had spent the last four years almost single-mindedly pursuing Osama bin Laden, the Saudi militant believed to be behind the attacks that killed O'Neill.

For that reason, Mawn said, the now-global investigation into the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon is also an intensely personal one for the FBI, and for other counter-terrorism authorities around the world who considered O'Neill a valued colleague and a friend.

"To think that these terrorists are the ones who ended John's life is not something that any of us can let stand," said Mawn, head of the FBI's New York office, where O'Neill had most recently worked. "We are going to bring the people responsible for these awful events to justice, and we are going to do it in the name of John O'Neill."

As head of counter-terrorism for the New York field office, O'Neill led a specialized squad of agents around the world in pursuit of Bin Laden and his Al Qaeda network.

The long-term investigation took O'Neill and his team to Yemen after the bombing of the U.S. destroyer Cole last year, to Africa after the bombings of two U.S. embassies in 1998 and to the World Trade Center after the first terrorist attack in 1993.

Their work also led to the indictment of Bin Laden and some of his top aides for their suspected role in the embassy bombings. A $5-million bounty was placed on Bin Laden's head.

In recent years, O'Neill had warned often about the increasing threat to the United States from terrorists intent on hitting the nation where it hurt most.

"A lot of these groups now have the capability and the support infrastructure in the U.S. to attack us here, if they choose to," O'Neill said in a widely circulated 1997 speech.

O'Neill's warning was realized on the morning of Sept. 11, when the first of two hijacked Boeing airliners crashed into his office building. He had retired just two weeks earlier at age 49, and was one hour into the second day of his new job as chief of security at the World Trade Center.

O'Neill made his way down from his office on the 34th floor of the north tower, called his son and a friend at FBI headquarters to say he was safe, and then rushed back inside to help evacuate others.

O'Neill was never heard from again. His body was recovered from the rubble a week ago, and brought to his hometown of Ventnor City, N.J. He was buried Friday in Holy Cross Cemetery.

On Friday, hundreds of federal, state and local law enforcement officers packed the church where O'Neill had been an altar boy. Among them were former FBI Director Louis J. Freeh, several ranking FBI officials and dozens of agents, retirees and former colleagues.

James K. Kallstrom, the former head of the New York bureau and a longtime friend, described O'Neill in a eulogy as a leader and "resident scholar" in the FBI's fight against terrorism.

"John was the best the FBI had. When it came to fighting terrorism, John was the FBI," Kallstrom said. "And John knew all too well what the general public knows today: We are at war with evil."

After the service, a police honor guard led the pallbearers under the FBI flag and onto a street filled with onlookers. Behind them, bagpipers played "God Bless America."

It was a fitting tribute to O'Neill, whose mother, Patricia O'Neill, recalled Friday, "never wanted to do anything else but be in law enforcement. It was all he talked about."

While still a teen, O'Neill would fall asleep listening to a police scanner and watching Efrem Zimbalist Jr. on TV in "The FBI," she said.

Within days of graduating from Holy Spirit High School in Atlantic City, O'Neill signed on with the FBI as a fingerprinting clerk.

He rose quickly, becoming an agent and holding various field and management positions in Washington, Chicago, Baltimore and New York. He earned college and graduate degrees while working full time on counterintelligence, organized crime, public corruption, racketeering and fraud cases.

O'Neill grew to love one particular kind of case the most, colleagues said: counter-terrorism. By 1993, he was playing a lead role in the investigation into the first World Trade Center attack, which killed six and injured thousands.

By 1995, O'Neill was the agency's counter-terrorism chief, in charge of coordinating information about abortion-clinic bombings. He returned to New York in 1997 to become special agent in charge of the national security division, and soon began overseeing large counter-terrorism investigations.

First, in August 1998, two U.S. embassies were bombed, in Tanzania and Kenya, within minutes of each other. At least 224 people were killed, including 12 Americans. The New York office dispatched squads of investigators, along with other FBI staff from other field offices.

On the eve of the millennium, O'Neill and the rest of the New York counter-terror squad traveled the globe, searching for suspected terrorists who were part of a coordinated effort to push the United States out of the Middle East. Authorities now believe Bin Laden was behind those plots and the embassy bombings.

The millennium attacks never occurred; one plot to blow up a U.S. warship in Yemen failed when the attack skiff sank under the weight of too much explosives. But 10 months later, terrorists tried it again and succeeded, blowing a hole in the Cole and killing 17 sailors in a suicide attack. O'Neill's pit-bull-like antics in Yemen--and elsewhere--won him deep respect from his staff and other counter-terror experts. But they also got him into trouble with ambassadors, politicians and foreign heads of state who thought he was belligerent and insensitive.

O'Neill, his friends said Friday, thought his detractors seriously underestimated the terrorists they were up against. They spoke of his nearly obsessive desire to track down terrorists as an act of patriotism prompted by the fear that a far more serious attack was on the horizon.

In recent months, he had become a bit gloomy, friends said, after he became the subject of an internal FBI investigation. A briefcase he left at a Florida hotel, which contained classified information about counter-terror operations, had been stolen.

On Friday, Mawn, his former boss, dismissed the lost briefcase as "nothing," something that O'Neill would have received a verbal reprimand for. O'Neill, he said, wanted to stay on with the FBI and clear his name, but he'd already decided to retire and enter the private sector.

Here's a link to a Bio:

Here's Excerpt's from a speach to the National Strategy Forum June11, 1997 (haven't read):

Could anyone that reads spanish see if there's new info about him here?:,6993,A118383-915,00.html
also in cache at:,6993,A118383-915,00.html+%22John+p.+o%27Neill%22+FBI&hl=en

Here's a different one in german. I did a babelfish and it looks like there's some very interesting info reagarding O'neill and a french writer. Could someone do a good translation?
also at:

Here's a Pravda article related to the last set of links:


A new book on Osama Bin Laden gives an interesting insight into US intelligence before September 11th. FBI investigators into international terrorism were hampered and Col. Gaddafi issued an arrest warrant against Bin laden in 1998.

Jean-Charles Brisard, co-author of the book "Ben Laden: La Verite Interdite" (The Forbidden truth), with the journalist Guillaume Dasquile, claims that investigations into Bin Laden’s affairs were constantly interfered with by the US State Department.

The book quotes former FBI official, John P. O’Neill, who was killed in the WTC on September 11th, after having left the FBI through frustration before becoming the Chief of Security for the Twin Towers. Brisard met O’Neill in June and July, 2001 and declares that the former FBI agent complained that American foreign policy was dominated by oil interests.

"All the answers, everything needed to dismantle Osama Bin Laden’s organisation can be found in Saudi Arabia", O’Neill is quoted as saying to Brisard in one of these meetings. He claimed that the USA was reluctant to antagonise Saudi Arabia because of oil contracts.

O’Neill, formerly the director of antiterrorism for the FBI’s New York office, complained that he was constantly being hampered in his investigations into international terrorism. He claimed that the State Department kept interfering with his investigations into the WTC bombing in 1993, US Embassy bombings in 1998 and the suicide attack on the US destroyer, Cole, in October, 2000. He told Brisard that he was becoming frustrated and that for this reason, he would leave the FBI to join the private sector.

The book also reveals that the first international warrant for the arrest of Osama Bin Laden was issued by Colonel Gaddafi of Libya in 1998, for the murder of two German antiterrorist agents in Libya in 1994, on Bin Laden’s orders. The document, file number 1998/20032, accused Bin Laden of being responsible for the murders. Bin Laden’s involvement with the Libyan opposition faction, the Libyan Islamic Fighting group, put him on a collision course with Gaddafi, because this group had been in turn involved with an attempt by MI5, the British secret services, to assassinate Gaddafi in 1996.

Jean-Charles Brisard claims that the document was forwarded to him by an ex-Interpol officer who told him that the US and British secret services were hiding it from the public.
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