New York – On September 11, 2001, the United States suffered the deadliest terrorist attack in its history. To most people, the attack was a sudden and extraordinary act of aggression. But a group of law enforcement agents, analysts, and other government officials knew better; the roots of the attack were sown decades earlier. HISTORY® presents a major historical investigation of the events that led to that day in the limited documentary series, “Road to 9/11.” The six-hour, three consecutive night event premieres on Labor Day, Monday, September 4 at 9pm ET/PT on HISTORY.
Steve Coll, winner of the Pulitzer Prize for his book, Ghost Wars: The Secret History of the CIA, Afghanistan, and Bin Laden from the Soviet Invasion to September 10, 2001 and The Bin Ladens: An Arabian in the American Century, was the Series Adviser. F. Murray Abraham narrates the series.
“Road to 9/11” provides, for the first time, a 360 degree overview of events that led to the attack. The comprehensive, dramatic narrative weaves together the complex global connections and webs that were developing over two decades. As the threat quietly grew, only a few people recognized it; most Americans were distracted by other issues on the home front.
Featuring more than 50 interviews, the story is told by the people who were there, some speaking on US television for the first time – the investigators and officials who understood and warned of the threat, but were unable to imagine the magnitude or foil the deadly plot conceived by Osama bin Laden and Khalid Sheik Mohammed.
Brooklyn Jihad (1990-1995) – Night one begins in New York in November 1990 when an extremist rabbi is gunned down in a midtown Manhattan hotel. During the course of the investigation, agents discover a Brooklyn-based terrorist cell with connections to Osama bin Laden. In 1993 a group of cell members, including Ramzi Yousef, successfully set off a bomb in the World Trade Center killing six and wounding dozens. Investigators learn that financing for the attack came from Yousef’s uncle; his name is Khalid Sheik Mohammad, the future mastermind of the 9/11 plot.
The Bin Ladens (1995-2000) – Night two moves from New York to Washington, DC where the CIA and Clinton Administration officials are trying to understand and react to the rise in jihadi terror. A number of classified operations are planned during this time targeting Osama bin Laden, resulting in near misses or shots not taken. An intimate profile of bin Laden emerges through rare interview footage with him and commentary from people who knew him personally.
The Days of Terror (2000-2003) – The final episode explores how the September 11th attack came to be. For the first time, using first-person accounts, a full examination of the true mastermind of the attack, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed. Night three also examines the lives and actions of the men recruited to carry out the attacks. In Washington, there is a disconnect among government agencies – information withheld, missed signals, and ensuing conflicts. The film also details the tragic day of 9/11, and how the United States and the world were changed forever.