This section was compiled and published on the Web for FRONTLINE's original
1999 report on Osama bin Laden. It explores the fears and concerns of one
Muslim-American community in Texas following the 1998 U.S. embassy terrorist
bombings in East Africa. It also links to articles by the eminent scholar of
Islamic civilization, Bernard Lewis, and offers a book excerpt written by
foreign policy expert Samuel P. Huntington, which examines Islam's worldwide
This is the 2000 report of the National Commission on Terrorism, which was set
up by Congress in the aftermath of the bombing of the U.S. embassies in Nairobi and Dar es Salaam.
Recent commentators have called the report prescient--the commission
predicted that there would be a terrorist attack on the United States on the scale
of Pearl Harbor. It also noted that our multibillion dollar counterterrorism
effort designed to thwart and warn against such an attack is plagued by
procedures that have made it difficult for the CIA to employ "the services of
clandestine informants" while the FBI "suffers from bureaucratic and cultural
obstacles in obtaining terrorism information." (PDF version)
A collection of three articles from The Atlantic Monthly explores the
origins and consequences of the Islamic fundamentalist "struggle," or jihad,
against the U.S. Historian Bernard Lewis, in "The Roots of Muslim Rage"
(September 1990), addresses the question of "why so many Muslims deeply resent
the West"; journalist Mary Anne Weaver, in "Blowback" (May 1996), traces how
the CIA's operations in Afghanistan contributed to the rise of Osama bin Laden;
and correspondent Robert D. Kaplan, in "The Lawless Frontier" (September 2000),
reports from the Afghanistan-Pakistan border and describes the Taliban's
destabilizing influence on the region.
Also from The Atlantic Monthly, this July 2001 article by Reuel Marc Gerecht, a former official in the CIA's Directorate of Operations, argues that the U.S. counterterrorism program in the Middle East and its environs is virtually nonexistent.
"The Biggest Foundation," written by Edith Iglauer for The New Yorker in 1972, chronicles the challenges that engineers faced in constructing the twin towers of the World Trade Center, which were, at the time, the two largest buildings in the world. Part of a package of articles and profiles that
The New Yorker has posted online, Iglauer's piece is accompanied by a profile of Osama bin Laden, written in 2000 by Mary Anne Weaver, and reporting by Michael Specter on the events of September 11, 2001.
Along with its continuously updated coverage of the attacks on the World Trade
Center and the Pentagon, Time posted this collection of 14 photos by
award-winning photojournalist James Nachtwey.
Salon.com's Washington correspondent, Jake Tapper, reports on the findings of
the Hart-Rudman Commission. The commission, a bipartisan entity chaired by two
former U.S. senators, Gary Hart (D-Colo.) and Warren Rudman (R-N.H.), studied
issues of national security for over two years and issued its findings in January 2001. According to Tapper, both the
White House and the national news media paid little attention to the
commission's recommendations for dealing with domestic terrorism. He quotes
Hart as saying, "We predicted it. We said Americans will likely die on American
soil, possibly in large numbers."
The editors of The New Republic call for rethinking America's
place in the world, starting with the "recognition that we are living in a new
era of anti-Americanism."
Middle East reporter Robert Fisk writes in The Nation that we have to
examine the idea of "mindless" terrorism if we are ever to realize just how
hated America has become. There are reasons, he says, for anti-American
CNN offers extensive materials relating to the U.S. embassy bombings trial,
including transcripts of testimony, court documents, analysis, and
The Online NewsHour has assembled a forum space for students to discuss the
terrorist attacks, along with a detailed background report. In "A World At
Peace," a lesson plan designed for students in grades 2-6, students are
encouraged to explore the United Nations' Declaration of Human Rights and then
use photo galleries and other resources to imagine and write about a world at peace. There
are also links to sites that are designed to help students deal with violence
and death, such as "Sesame Street's 'Tragic Times, Healing Words.'"