20 Years Later: Where Were You on 9/11?

September 8, 2021

To commemorate the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, TrapWire has reached out to some of our team members to discuss what they were doing on that day. The following is from our Director of Business Development, Mike Maness, who spent almost two-decades as a Senior Case Officer and Field Manager for CIA.

On September 11, 2001, I was serving as the DCOS in an overseas post, where I was also the primary liaison officer for the host country’s counterterrorism unit. Most of that day had been a blur of frantic STU-III calls, Flash Action cables, and meeting after meeting with the Ambassador and the RSO…all interspersed with clips coming across CNN of the horror (and fear) of what had happened in New York, DC and Shanksville.

Sometime late that night I was called by the Chief of their national intelligence service and asked to come to their headquarters for a meeting.  I was exhausted, and still had numerous unanswered cables and phone calls to deal with, but decided I should head over and at least meet with the liaison to brief them on what I could. An hour later I was walking into their headquarters. Another blackout had once again rendered this part of the city totally dark, but I could see a soft glow of light emanating from the ground floor windows. When I walked through the front doors of the office building I was stunned at what I saw. The entire counterterrorism directorate was assembled there. Some 25-30 people. All of them wearing their best suits or dresses. They were lined up to one side of the long dark hallway, lit by the yellow glow of dozens of candles placed on windowsills. One after the other, they shook my hand and expressed their sorrow and condolences for what had happened in my country. Several of them vowed to do whatever they could to help. I had a lump in my throat as I worked my way down the line. These people owed me nothing. They worked in a cold, dark building that rarely had electricity, for very little money. Most didn’t own cars and had walked from their homes to be at the office that evening. Over the next six months, we worked 16-hour days with this group of dedicated officers in the post-attack investigations. I have never been prouder of any group I worked with.

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