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4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 4.00 (538 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Ali H. Soufan Narrator: Neil Shah Publisher: Blackstone Audio Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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A book that will change the way we think about al-Qaeda, intelligence, and the events that forever changed America

On September 12, 2001, FBI Special Agent Ali H. Soufan was handed a secret file. Had he received it months earlier—when it was requested—the attacks on New York and Washington could have been prevented. During his time on the front lines, Soufan helped thwart plots around the world and elicited some of the most important confessions from terrorists in the war against al-Qaeda—without laying so much as a hand on them. Most of these stories have never been reported before and never by anyone with such intimate firsthand knowledge. 

This narrative account of America’s successes and failures against al-Qaeda is essential to an understanding of the terrorist group. We are taken into hideouts and interrogation rooms. We have a ringside seat at bin Laden’s personal celebration of the 9/11 bombings. Such riveting details show us not only how terrorists think and operate but also how they can be beaten and brought to justice.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “Superb. An education. And the best book on al-Qaeda out there, bar none.”

    Robert Baer, former CIA official and New York Times bestselling author

  • “Unfortunately, we only have one Ali Soufan. Had American intelligence listened to him, 9/11 might never have happened. No one did more to unravel the story of al-Qaeda than Ali Soufan. Thankfully, he’s left another legacy in this book. Anyone who wants to know what really happened should read it. It’s an inspiring but wrenching story told from the heart of a great American.”

    Lawrence Wright, New York Times bestselling author

  • “Although many have claimed to tell the inside story of the hunt for al-Qaeda, Ali Soufan has a better claim than most…This is one of the most valuable and detailed accounts of its subject to appear in the past decade.”


  • “This is an absorbing account of America’s fight back after 9/11, full of revealing or amusing details…So ultimately this book is cheering as well as fascinating because it reveals the dedication of those who defend us, as well as the weird frailties of those who try to kill us.”

    Sunday Times (London)

  • “The revelations uncovered are worth it; this is a story that had to be told.”


  • “The author recounts a long career on the trail of al-Qaeda and other Islamic terrorist groups, a quest that sometimes seems to have begun before those groups were even up and running. There is not a whisper of self-promotion in his narrative, but it is clear that Soufan was on the case early and often.”

    Kirkus Reviews

  • “Soufan describes many instances in which he uses his knowledge and a savvy rapport to exploit the personal foibles and intellectual weaknesses of his subjects…The story of America’s most famous Arab American FBI agent couldn’t come at a more poignant time.”

    Mother Jones

  • A New York Times Bestseller

Listener Opinions

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 by Neal Powers | 2/14/2014

    " Advocates of EIT, Enhanced Interrogation Techniques, need to read this book to see how Cheney and the CIA got it wrong. Intelligent interrogators like Soufan can get more useful information in one day than waterboarding will produce in months. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 by Holland G | 2/8/2014

    " I thought this was a great book. Very informative and very interesting. The book is filled with very good information about the FBI's work in the war against terror. If all of our FBI, CIA, etc., agents are as sharp and dedicated as Soufan, our country is in good hands. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Shannon Jaros | 1/20/2014

    " We all know of the 9/11 attacks, however Ali Soufan the author himself knows more about the events leading up to that catastrophic event, what happened that day and the aftermath than the majority of the people in the world. The Black Banners: The Inside Story of 9/11 and the War Against Al-Queda by Ali Soufan is a riveting true account of his interactions involving just what the title speaks of. Enlightening the public on such a private matter to the Country's government and high superiors, sections of print are blocked out to keep the public from knowing that information. This along with the fact that his story gives an inside view on the way our government worked in that time and the large issues that arose when so much was at stake makes this book even more enticing. Throughout the story Ali recounts his and his colleagues struggles as they put in blood and sweat to work against the terrorist groups that wanted to bring down America, Al-Queda and the Taliban and the infamous man himself, Osama Bin Laden. The truth hidden from the public eye on such devastating, shady and corrupt events are laid out in the pages of this book, take a look. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 by Sarah | 12/29/2013

    " One of the best books about Al-Qaeda and the FBI's investigation of them post-9/11 and onward that I've ever read. Ali H. Soufan's story is an essential one for anyone who wants to understand how we could have prevented such a tragedy in 2001; it is also a startling portrait of multi-level incompetence in the U.S. intelligence agency. You'll also read about John O'Neill, Soufan's mentor and best friend, who saw Al-Qaeda's attack on U.S. coming but whose warnings were dutifully ignored by his superiors and who was unfortunately one of the many American victims of 9/11 in the Twin Towers. I can only hope that the redactions in the text will be overturned by the courts as Soufan fights the censorship of his book by the U.S. government; this information is so essential to the public. "

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