Kicking and screaming!

That’s how Anthony, anyway, will be coming to this blog.

With more than 70 years of reporting and writing experience between us (eight books and more documentaries and articles than we can count), however, we think we have lots still to say. And this is going to be the place we say it.

We’ll be digging into our archives to share stories we’ve written nowhere else, fleshing out and elaborating on the revelations in our latest book, The Eleventh Day. We’ll also be commenting on stories and events that grab our attention – particularly from the worlds of politics, intelligence, and organized crime. Bear with us as we get the bugs out (that was not a jibe, Mr. Murdoch). We hope eventually to be worth the wait.

 Anthony Summers & Robbyn Swan

Anthony Summers & Robbyn Swan

Anthony Summers, the author of seven best-selling non-fiction books, is a former senior journalist with BBC television.  His specialty was coverage of the United States, the Middle East, and the Vietnam War. He smuggled cameras into the Soviet Union to obtain the only interview with Andrei Sakharov when he won the Nobel Prize. He contributes articles to Vanity Fair as does his wife and co-author, the American journalist Robbyn Swan. 

Together Anthony Summers & Robbyn Swan have written:

            Sinatra: The Life

            The Arrogance of Power [a biography of Richard Nixon]

           Official & Confidential [a life of FBI director J. Edgar Hoover]

Mr. Summers is also the author of:

            Goddess [a biography of Marilyn Monroe]

            Honeytrap [with Stephen Dorril, onBritain’s Profumo spy scandal]

            Not in Your Lifetime [an investigation of the assassination of JFK]

            The File on the Tsar [on the fate of the Romanovs,Russia’s imperial family]

The couple’s latest book, The Eleventh Day: The Full Story of 9/11 and Osama bin Laden, an investigation of the terrorist attacks of September 11 was published on July 19 by Ballantine.


Filed under General

6 responses to “Kicking and screaming!

  1. Mike

    In your research did you get any feedback (i.e. a candid explanation) from either government officials or media in regard to the al-Hazmi and al-Mihdhar withholding issues? I don’t understand why both the government and the media have gotten a pass on this issue. What could be more bizarre than CIA officials giving dire warnings of a possible attack while concurrently withholding crucial information about the likely perpetrators of those attacks? Or the FBI UBLU on false pretenses preventing the Cole investigators from involvement and instead handing a routine priority intel side investigation to rookie agent Robert Fuller?

    • Mike, Thanks for your thoughts. Sorry it’s taken a few days to post a reply, but we’re new to this!

      You’ve of course hit on one of the most critical areas covered in our book. We should explain (for those less read-in on the details of the 9/11 story) that the CIA was following two of the 9/11 hijackers – Nawaf al Hazmi and Khalid al Mihdhar – and later claimed to have “lost” them just prior to their entry into the U.S. in January 2000. Moreover, the Agency did not share what it learned of the pair’s affiliation and their movements – including their possession of valid U.S. entry visas – with the FBI. It was by law the Bureau’s agents who should have had the mission of arresting – or tracking – Mihdhar and Hazmi once they entered the U.S.

      Was this mere bungling as the CIA later claimed? The Agency’s own Inspector General called for an Accountability Review Board to examine the actions of named officers – including Director Tenet himself – over the matter. Tenet’s successor, Porter Goss, declined to convene such a Board, however. His reason? That the individuals involved were among the Agency’s “finest”.

      The second issue your raise – the FBI’s mishandling of the Mihdhar/Hazmi lead once they did finally get a heads up from the CIA in August 2001 – wasn’t the first or the last of the Bureau’s mistakes. The headquarters agent responsible for assigning the case misinterpreted a rule about information sharing with criminal case agents when an intelligence issue was involved. The crucial search for Hazmi and Mihdhar was assigned to a single fledgling intelligence agent – rather than any of the experienced criminal agents involved in the on-going investigation of al Qaeda’s bombing of the USS Cole.

      We could not resolve this issue, but we have – with multiple pages of source notes – laid out the possible explanations – including the suggestion that the Agency may have hoped to track the pair’s U.S. movements itself – perhaps using an allied intelligence agency as surrogate, thus ensuring deniability.

  2. ron litz

    I am half way through Mr Summers book Official and
    Confidential,and am shocked at how corrupt our FBI and political
    people were (and are). More people should have been upset about this.
    You did a great job. I will be reading your other books! Thank you for
    risking yourself.

  3. I really do hope that you are going to be elaborating further on this theme.
    I am used to a tad more information.

  4. I have always enjoyed Anthony Summers reporting and have always maintained that if he is part of any story, he can be counted on for the truth.

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