Since the death of Osama bin Laden, Yemen has become the hottest front in the war against Al Qaeda. Now, with headlines about a terrorist plot to bomb a U.S.-bound airliner, award-winning reporter Ghaith Abdul-Ahad travels deep into Yemen's radical heartland. In this first-hand report, FRONTLINE looks at how members of Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) and affiliated militants have seized control of areas in southern Yemen and are winning some popular support. Is the United States’ expanded drone policy in fact strengthening this new fortified insurgent base?
Originally broadcast May 29, 2012
In a rare interview with Ali Soufan, the FBI agent who was at the center of the 9/11 investigations, FRONTLINE correspondent Martin Smith uncovers an insider's view on the "war on terror." One of only eight Arabic-speaking FBI agents, Soufan explains why he believes the attacks on the World Trade Center could have been prevented and how the use of enhanced interrogation techniques failed to produce actionable intelligence.
Originally broadcast Sept. 13, 2011
From the creation of black site prisons abroad and super-secret facilities here in America, to targeted killings and covert wars waged by special forces, and the creation of a multibillion-dollar terrorism-industrial complex, FRONTLINE and Washington Post reporter Dana Priest ask how a decade of fighting terrorism has reshaped the country and whether it has made us any safer.
Originally broadcast September 6, 2011
As troops return from Iraq and Afghanistan, U.S. government spending on veterans' education will more than double to $9.5 billion this year, and a growing percentage of this money has been ending up in the pockets of for-profit colleges. In a follow-up to FRONTLINE's College, Inc., correspondent Martin Smith investigates how the for-profit schools are aggressively recruiting huge numbers of new veterans with educational promises that many now question whether they can keep.
Originally broadcast June 28, 2011
FRONTLINE carries out an in-depth investigation into the United States' unprecedented campaign of targeted killing, entering the lawless border regions of Afghanistan and Pakistan, making contact with defiant Taliban militia leaders and meeting with the U.S. Special Forces who are targeting them. After almost 10 years of war, this film asks: Can the U.S. get out of Afghanistan?
Originally broadcast May 10, 2011
Afghan journalist Najibullah Quraishi journeys deep into enemy territory to meet a different band of militants and foreign fighters who say they are loyal to Osama bin Laden and are readying a new offensive against coalition forces. As the United States faces a major strategic review in Afghanistan, Quraishi's journey sheds light on a question of growing importance: Is Al Qaeda once again becoming a significant presence in Afghanistan?
Originally broadcast May 3, 2011
Stephen Grey and Martin Smith go inside the deepest front in America's war against Al Qaeda and the Taliban: Pakistan. They uncover new details about border-crossing CIA-funded Afghan militias, investigate covert support for elements of the Taliban by the Pakistani military and intelligence, and explore the Obama administration's escalated campaign of drone strikes in Pakistan's tribal areas.
Originally broadcast May 3, 2011
Pulitzer Prize-winning Washington Post reporter Dana Priest investigates the terrorism-industrial complex that grew up in the wake of 9/11. Against a backdrop of recent mail bomb threats from Al Qaeda in Yemen and growing concerns about homegrown terrorists, Priest explores the growing reach of homeland security, fusion centers, battlefield technologies, and data collecting into the lives of ordinary Americans.
Originally broadcast January 18, 2011
FRONTLINE profiles a single Fort Carson platoon of infantrymen -- the 3rd Platoon, Charlie Company, 1st Battalion, 506th Infantry -- and finds a group of young men changed by war. Many battle a range of psychiatric disorders, and since returning from Iraq, three members of the 3rd Platoon have been convicted on murder or attempted murder charges; one has been jailed for drunk driving and another for assaulting his wife; and one has attempted suicide. The investigation also examines an overwhelmed military mental health system -- at Fort Carson the rate of PTSD diagnosis has risen 4,000 percent since 2002 -- and the widespread use of prescription psychiatric drugs both at home and in combat.
Originally broadcast May 18, 2010
Tens of thousands of fresh American troops are now on the move in Afghanistan, led by a new commander and armed with a counterinsurgency plan that builds on the lessons of Iraq. But can U.S. forces succeed in a land long known as the "graveyard of empires"? FRONTLINE producers Martin Smith (Beyond Baghdad, Return of the Taliban) and Marcela Gaviria (In Search of Al Qaeda, The War Briefing) once again make the dangerous journey to the front lines of America's biggest fight. Through interviews with the top U.S. commanders on the ground, embeds with U.S. forces and fresh reporting from Washington, Smith and Gaviria examine U.S. counterinsurgency strategy in Afghanistan and Pakistan -- a fight that promises to be longer and more costly than most Americans understand.
Originally broadcast: October 13, 2009
The next president of the United States will inherit some of the greatest foreign policy challenges in American history -- an overstretched military, frayed alliances, and wars on two fronts. FRONTLINE gives viewers a hard, inside look at the real policy choices the next president will face. The report features strategists and diplomats giving their best advice about how to correct past failures and how to shape a realistic foreign policy approach in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan.
Originally broadcast: October 28, 2008
In June 2007, as the American military surge reached its peak, a band of National Guard infantrymen who call themselves "The Bad Voodoo Platoon" was deployed to Iraq. To capture a vivid, first-person account of the new realities of war in Iraq for FRONTLINE and ITVS, director Deborah Scranton (The War Tapes) created "a virtual embed" with the platoon, supplying cameras to the soldiers so they could record and tell the story of their war. The film intimately tracks the veteran soldiers of "Bad Voodoo" through the daily grind of their perilous mission, dodging deadly IEDs, grappling with the political complexities of dealing with Iraqi security forces, and battling their fatigue and their fears.
Originally broadcast: April 1, 2008
9/11 and Al Qaeda, Afghanistan and Iraq, WMD and the Insurgency, Guantanamo, Abu Ghraib, Fallujah, and the Surge. For six years FRONTLINE has been revealing those stories in meticulous detail, and the political dramas played out at the highest levels -- George W. Bush and Tony Blair, Dick Cheney and Colin Powell, Donald Rumsfeld, George Tenet, Condoleezza Rice, Osama Bin Laden.
Now, on the fifth anniversary of the Iraq invasion, the full saga unfolds in a four-and-a-half hour two part special.
Originally broadcast: March 24, 2008
FRONTLINE cuts through the fog of war to reveal the untold story of what happened in Haditha, Iraq -- where twenty-four of the town's residents were killed by U.S. forces in what many in the media branded "Iraq's My Lai." With accusations swirling that the Marines massacred Iraqi civilians "in cold blood," the Haditha incident has led to one of the largest criminal cases against U.S. troops in the Iraq war. But real questions have emerged about what really happened that day, and who is responsible. Through television interviews with Iraqi survivors and Marines accused of war crimes, FRONTLINE investigates this incident and what it can tell us about the harrowing moral and legal landscape the U.S. military faces in Iraq.
Originally broadcast: February 19, 2008
As Iraq descends into chaos and civil war, FRONTLINE examines the rise of its neighbor -- Iran -- as one of America's greatest threats and most puzzling foreign policy challenges. Through interviews with key players on both sides, FRONTLINE traces the tumultuous history of U.S.-Iran relations since 9/11 -- from unprecedented early cooperation in Afghanistan, to the growing crisis over Iran's nuclear ambitions and Tehran's open threats to drive America out of the Middle East.
Originally broadcast: October 23, 2007
For three decades, Vice President Dick Cheney has waged a secretive, and often bitter battle to expand the power of the presidency. Now in a direct confrontation with Congress, as the administration asserts executive privilege to head off investigations into domestic wiretapping and the firing of U.S. attorneys, FRONTLINE meticulously traces the behind-closed-doors battle within the administration over the power of the presidency and the rule of law.
Originally broadcast: October 14, 2007
As the United States begins one final effort to secure victory through a "surge" of troops, FRONTLINE investigates how strategic and tactical mistakes brought Iraq to civil war. The film recounts how the early mandate to create the conditions for a quick exit of the American military led to chaos, failure, and sectarian strife. In Endgame, producer Michael Kirk (Rumsfeld's War, The Torture Question, The Dark Side, and The Lost Year in Iraq) traces why the president decided to risk what military planners once warned could be the worst way to fight in Iraq -- door-to-door -- and assesses the likelihood of its success. Top administration figures, military commanders, and journalists offer inside details about the new strategy.
Originally broadcast: June 19, 2007
FRONTLINE addresses an issue of major consequence for all Americans: Is the Bush administration's domestic war on terrorism jeopardizing our civil liberties? Reporter Hedrick Smith presents new material on how the National Security Agency's domestic surveillance program works and examines clashing viewpoints on whether the president has violated the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) and infringed on constitutional protections. In another dramatic story, the program shows how the FBI vacuumed up records on 250,000 ordinary Americans who chose Las Vegas as the destination for their Christmas-New Year's holiday, and the subsequent revelation that the FBI has misused National Security Letters to gather information. Probing such projects as Total Information Awareness, and its little known successors, Smith discloses that even former government intelligence officials now worry that the combination of new security threats, advances in communications technologies, and radical interpretations of presidential authority may be threatening the privacy of Americans.
Originally broadcast: May 15, 2007
Day after day scores of bodies litter the streets of Baghdad. To staunch the violence, the U.S. has spent billions to "stand up" the Iraqi forces. In Gangs of Iraq, a joint production of FRONTLINE and the "America at a Crossroads" series, FRONTLINE takes a hard look at how the four-year training effort has fared and how the coalition-trained forces have themselves been infiltrated by various sectarian militias. Now, with President Bush sending new U.S. troops to Iraq, it remains to be seen if America and its allies can build a national Iraqi army and police and restore order.
Originally broadcast: April 17, 2007
In the aftermath of the fall of Saddam Hussein, a group of Americans led by Ambassador L. Paul Bremer III set off to Baghdad to build a new nation and establish democracy in the Arab Middle East. One year later, with Bremer forced to secretly exit what some have called "the most dangerous place on earth," the group left behind lawlessness, insurgency, economic collapse, death, destruction -- and much of their idealism. Three years later, as the U.S. continues to look for an exit strategy, the government the Americans helped create and the infrastructure they designed are being tested. FRONTLINE Producer Michael Kirk follows the early efforts and ideals of this group as they tried to seize control and disband the Iraqi police, army and Baathist government -- and how they became hardened along the way to the realities of postwar Iraq. The Lost Year in Iraq is based on numerous first-person interviews and extensive documentation from the FRONTLINE team that produced "Rumsfeld's War," "The Torture Question" and "The Dark Side."
Originally broadcast: October 17, 2006
Five years after the attacks on 9/11 and the massive, multibillion-dollar reorganization of government agencies which followed, Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter Lowell Bergman investigates the domestic counterterrorism effort and asks whether we are any better prepared to prevent another catastrophic attack. Relying on interviews with high-level sources in the U.S. government, Bergman reveals ongoing interagency rivalry as well as troubling flaws in what has been the largest reorganization of the government in half a century. The documentary focuses on who is the real enemy within the United States and whether we are prepared to defeat him.
Originally broadcast: October 10, 2006
FRONTLINE reports from the lawless Pakistani tribal areas along the Afghanistan-Pakistan border and reveals how the area has fallen under the control of a resurgent Taliban militia, which uses it as a launching pad for attacks on U.S. and coalition forces in Afghanistan. Despite the presence of more than 70,000 Pakistani troops, the border region is at the nucleus of the global war on terror, according to U.S. officials. The area, off limits to U.S. troops by agreement with Pakistan's president and long suspected of harboring Osama bin Laden and his deputy Ayman al-Zawahiri, is now considered a failed state. President Pervez Musharraf tells FRONTLINE reporter Martin Smith that Pakistan's strategy, which includes cash payments to militants who lay down their arms, has clearly foundered. In a region little understood because it is closed to most observers, FRONTLINE investigates a secret front in the war on terror.
Originally broadcast: October 3, 2006
On Sept. 11, 2001, deep inside a White House bunker, Vice President Dick Cheney was ordering U.S. fighter planes to shoot down any commercial airliner still in the air above America. At that moment, CIA Director George Tenet was meeting with his counter-terrorism team in Langley, Virginia. Both leaders acted fast, to prepare their country for a new kind of war. But soon a debate would grow over the goals of the war on terror, and the decision to go to war in Iraq. Cheney, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, and others saw Iraq as an important part of a broader plan to remake the Middle East and project American power worldwide. Meanwhile Tenet, facing division in his own organization, saw non-state actors such as Al Qaeda as the highest priority. FRONTLINE's investigation of the ensuing conflict includes more than forty interviews, thousands of pages of documentary evidence, and a substantial photographic archive. It is the third documentary about the war on terror from the team that produced "Rumsfeld's War" and "The Torture Question."
Originally broadcast: June 20, 2006
Kidnappings. Suicide bombers. Beheadings. Roadside bombs. The Iraqi insurgency continues to challenge the most highly trained and best-equipped military in the world. FRONTLINE peels back the layers and gets beyond the propaganda to take a complex look inside the multi-faceted insurgency in Iraq. The investigation includes special access to insurgent leaders, as well as commanders of Iraqi and U.S. military units battling for control of the country and detailed analysis from journalists who have risked their lives to meet insurgent leaders and their foot soldiers. FRONTLINE explores the battle for one Iraqi town and presents vivid testimony from civilians whose families were targeted by the insurgents.
Originally broadcast: Feb. 21, 2006
In the uncertain weeks following Sept. 11, an internal power struggle was underway deep inside the Bush administration. Waged between partisans at the highest levels of the government, that battle -- captured in a series of blunt memos -- exemplifies the struggle to create a legal framework to give the president authority to aggressively interrogate enemy fighters in the war on terror. FRONTLINE goes behind closed doors to investigate the struggle over how and when to use what was called "coercive interrogation." The film begins with a policy born out of fear and anger and tracks how increasingly tough measures were taken to gather information about Al Qaeda, Osama bin Laden, and finally the rising insurgency in Iraq. In an examination that begins at the White House and ends in the public debate about alleged abuses at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and Abu Ghraib, policy makers, government interrogators, and their subjects talk to FRONTLINE about their experiences as part of this internal battle.
Originally broadcast: Oct. 18, 2005
FRONTLINE returns to Iraq, this time to embed with Halliburton/KBR, and to take a hard look at private contractors like Blackwater, Aegis and Erinys, who play an increasingly critical role in running U.S. military supply lines, providing armed protection, and operating U.S. military bases. These private warriors are targeted by insurgents and in turn have been criticized for their rough treatment of Iraqi civilians. Their dramatic story illuminates the Pentagon's new reliance on corporate outsourcing and raises tough questions about where they fit in the chain of command and the price we are paying for their role in the war.
Originally broadcast: June 21, 2005
The first measures of the war in Iraq's psychological toll are coming in: A medical study estimates that more than one in seven returning veterans are expected to suffer from major depression anxiety or Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. For those who have survived, the fighting the battle is not over. For some, the return home can be as painful as war itself. FRONTLINE tells the stories of soldiers who have come home haunted by their experiences and asks whether the government is doing enough to help.
Originally broadcast: Mar. 1, 2005
In November 2004, a FRONTLINE production team embedded with the soldiers of the 1-8 Cavalry's Dog Company in south Baghdad to document the day-to-day realities of a life-and-death military mission that also includes rebuilding Iraq's infrastructure, promoting its economic development, and building positive relations with its people. Filming began three days after the Fallujah campaign was launched in November 2004. There was a surge in violence as an insurgent group, thought to have come from Ramadi, launched a series of ambushes and attacks in Dog Company's sector.
Originally broadcast: Feb. 22, 2005
The House of Saud has controlled every aspect of Saudi life and politics since the kingdom was established in 1932. But outside the Desert Kingdom little is known about Saudi Arabia's secretive royal family. In "House of Saud" FRONTLINE explores how the Al Saud family maintains its hold on power in the face of growing tensions between Islam and modernity. Through interviews with members of the royal family government officials and other experts from Saudi Arabia and the U.S. the two-hour documentary also traces America's relations with the Saudi royal family from their first alliance in the 1930s through Sept. 11 and beyond to the present day.
Originally broadcast: Feb. 8, 2005
Mosques burn and a filmmaker is murdered in a culture clash between Muslims and Christians in the Netherlands. A series of bombs tear apart four commuter trains in Madrid killing 191 people and wounding 1800. Al Qaeda terrorist cells are uncovered in the U.K., Germany, Italy and Spain. FRONTLINE investigates the new front in the war on terror: Europe. Now home to 20 million Muslims, the continent -- which some call "Eurabia" -- is a challenge to intelligence services on both sides of the Atlantic exacerbated by political divisions over the Iraq War.
Originally broadcast: Jan. 25, 2005
With the United States Army deployed in a dozen hot spots around the world, on constant alert in Afghanistan, and taking casualties every day in Iraq, some current and former officers now say the army is on the verge of being "broken." They charge that the army is overstretched, demoralized, and may be unable to fight where and when the nation desires. This fall, FRONTLINE and the Washington Post join forces for an in-depth assessment of the state of the American army and the nation's military establishment. The program digs into the aggressive attempts to assert civilian control and remake the military by Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld and his allies.
Originally broadcast: Oct. 26, 2004
Within days of the Sept. 11 attacks, the questions began: What should be built on the site of Ground Zero? Who should build it? And should anything be built there at all? FRONTLINE tells the inside story of the first stormy year in the plans to rebuild on the site of the World Trade Center. With exclusive access to architect Daniel Libeskind, the one-hour documentary follows the process to build Libeskind's proposed Freedom Tower and reveals how the desire to build the world's most meaningful architectural tribute descended into a billion-dollar battle for the soul of Ground Zero.
Originally broadcast: Sept. 7, 2004
Growing up in the 1990s, Abdurahman Khadr's playmates were the children of his father's longtime friend, Osama bin Laden. How Khadr was raised to be an Al Qaeda terrorist -- and how he ultimately found himself working for the U.S. -- is the focus of FRONTLINE's "Son of Al Qaeda." Through interviews with Khadr as well as his mother and siblings, the documentary recounts his incredible journey from terrorist upbringing to CIA informant, offering a revealing glimpse inside the mindset of an Al Qaeda family.
Originally broadcast: Apr. 22, 2004
FRONTLINE marks the first anniversary of the Iraq war with a two-hour documentary investigation that recounts the key strategies, battles, and turning points of the war from both sides of the battlefield. Through firsthand accounts from many of the war's key participants -- from strategists in Washington to the soldiers who actually fought the battles -- "The Invasion of Iraq" promises to be a definitive television history of America's most recent war.
Originally broadcast: Feb. 26, 2004
As the Bush administration struggles to right its Iraq policy, FRONTLINE correspondent Martin Smith travels across the Iraqi-Turkish border to Kurdish Mosul and Kirkuk, across the rebellious Sunni lands of central Iraq to Baghdad and finally farther south to the sacred Shia cities of Karbala and Najaf, to take a long, hard look at the Iraq to which the president vows to bring democracy. In this diverse and fractured land can his experiment work? Through encounters with tribal sheiks, ayatollahs, politicians, aid workers, soldiers, and U.S. authorities, the film reveals just what the United States is facing.
Originally broadcast: Feb. 12, 2004
With the credibility of President Bush and Prime Minister Blair at stake, BBC reporter Jane Corbin takes viewers inside the high-stakes search for Saddam Hussein's alleged weapons of mass destruction. Through exclusive access to top-secret locations and key U.S. officials leading the hunt, including David Kay, FRONTLINE reveals new details about what the search has uncovered and questions whether the investigation's final results will justify the White House's call for war.
Originally broadcast: Jan. 22, 2004
What is the real story behind the group that U.S. intelligence called "the most dangerous terrorist cell in America?" FRONTLINE and The New York Times join forces to investigate the battle against terrorism here at home in "Chasing the Sleeper Cell." The one-hour documentary is the first in-depth examination of a major, ongoing domestic terrorism case involving Al Qaeda operatives and American citizens they trained. Questions are also raised about the effectiveness of the FBI and the CIA and whether or not the new tools they have are the right ones to contain the threat at home.
Originally broadcast: Oct. 16, 2003
FRONTLINE traces the roots of the Iraqi war back to the days immediately following Sept. 11, when Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld ordered the creation of a special intelligence operation to quietly begin looking for evidence that would justify the war. The intelligence reports soon became a part of a continuing struggle between civilians in the Pentagon on one side and the CIA, State Department, and uniformed military on the other -- a struggle that would lead to inadequate planning for the aftermath of the war, continuing violence, and mounting political problems for the president.
Originally broadcast: Oct. 9, 2003
For the past few months, British Prime Minister Tony Blair has been fighting the biggest political battle of his career. Caught in the center of a high stakes political storm, he tried to personally bridge the gap between the United States and its European allies -- particularly France and Germany -- over the impending war in Iraq. FRONTLINE examines the roots of the discord within the Western alliance, the perilous role Blair has played, and the stakes for him and the West should this old alliance fall apart.
Originally broadcast: April 3, 2003
With the U.S. apparently within days of attacking Iraq, FRONTLINE draws on its 12 years of reporting on Iraq to chronicle the key moments in the history of America's ongoing confrontation with Saddam Hussein. This special two-hour report examines how the West armed Iraq, the mind and methods of Saddam Hussein, the origins of the first Gulf War and its ragged end, the frustrating effort to disarm Iraq through U.N. inspections, how Saddam survived efforts to undermine his power, and the long-standing effort by Washington hawks to remove him.
Originally broadcast: March 17, 2003
The War Behind Closed Doors
This report traces the story behind the Bush administration's abandonment of a long-standing policy of "containment" for Iraq in favor of a more aggressive "preemption" policy -- to be used on Iraq or any nation or group believed to threaten U.S. security. From the long-running policy battle between Secretary of State Colin Powell and Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz to the evolution of the "Bush Doctrine" after Sept. 11, culminating in the September 2002 release of his National Security Strategy, this program recounts how administration insiders -- calling themselves "neo-Reaganites," "neo-conservatives," or simply "hawks" -- set out to achieve a new and muscular foreign policy for America.
Originally broadcast: Feb. 20, 2003
Within three months of Sept. 11, the War on Terror had succeeded in crushing the Taliban. But many of the operation's primary targets -- members of Osama bin Laden's Al Qaeda network of international terrorists -- managed to escape into neighboring Pakistan. FRONTLINE examines the quest to bring the terrorist group to justice in "In Search of Al Qaeda." The one-hour documentary follows the trail of Al Qaeda from the Afghan border areas into Pakistan's cities as U.S. and Pakistani authorities begin to track down some of the network's leaders. The journey continues to other Middle Eastern countries, where local villagers, officials, and others are interviewed about what has happened to Al Qaeda and its efforts to regroup.
Originally broadcast: Nov. 21, 2002
As an FBI agent who specialized in counter-terrorism, John P. O'Neill investigated the bombing of the American embassies in Kenya and Tanzania, the USS Cole in Yemen, the Khobar Towers in Saudi Arabia, and the first attack on the World Trade Center. O'Neill came to believe America should kill Osama bin Laden before Al Qaeda launched a devastating attack, but his was often a lonely voice. A controversial figure, O'Neill's hot pursuit of terrorists and his James Bond style led to nicknames like "Elvis," "The Count," and "the Prince of Darkness" inside the buttoned-down world of the FBI. In the end, he was forced out of the job he loved and entered the private sector -- as director of security for the World Trade Center. He died there on Sept. 11. His story is the stuff of Hollywood -- yet it's true. O'Neill's relentless obsession with Al Qaeda, and his efforts to get the government to pay attention to the growing threat posed by Osama bin Laden inform the question on every American's mind after Sept. 11: What did the government know?
Originally broadcast: Oct. 3, 2002
In this two-hour special, FRONTLINE recounts for the first time on television the behind-the-scenes story of the U.S. and world response to the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks on America. Featuring interviews with key U.S. players and world leaders, "Campaign Against Terror" examines the complex diplomatic maneuvering that led to an international coalition against Al Qaeda and the Taliban. From the initial bombing raids to the futile hunt for Osama Bin Laden and Al Qaeda leaders in the caves of Tora Bora, the documentary traces the dramatic ups and downs of the ground war in Afghanistan as seen through the eyes of Pentagon leaders, U.S. Special Forces troops and Afghan rebel leaders in the Northern Alliance. Finally, "Campaign Against Terror" tracks the intricate political wrangling that led to the selection of Hamid Karzai -- America's preferred candidate -- as the new Afghan leader.
Originally broadcast: Sept. 8, 2002
Faith and Doubt at Ground Zero
Ground Zero in Manhattan has become a site of pilgrimage. Thousands of people visit the site, looking for consolation as they question the events of Sept. 11. There is a profound quiet to their meditations. Starting here, FRONTLINE sets out on a quest to find out how peoples' beliefs -- and unbelief -- has been challenged, and how they are coping with difficult questions of good and evil, the face of God, and the potential for darkness within religion itself. From survivors who were pulled from the wreckage of the Twin Towers to the widow of a New York City firefighter; from priests and rabbis to security guards and opera divas; from lapsed Catholics and Jews to Buddhists, Muslims, and atheists.... FRONTLINE explores and illuminates the myriad of spiritual questions that have come out of the terror, pain, and destruction at Ground Zero.
Originally broadcast: Sept. 3, 2002
The events of Sept. 11 left many Americans questioning how such atrocities could be perpetrated in the name of religion: specifically, the religion of Islam. Few Americans know much about Islam, yet it continues to be the fastest growing religion in the U.S. today. What is Islam? What do Muslims believe in? And how does their faith shape their lives, identities and their political ideologies? FRONTLINE explores these and other questions in "Muslims," a special two-hour report that examines the fundamental tenets of Islam and the causes behind its current worldwide resurgence. Through interviews with dozens of ordinary Muslims from such diverse countries as Iran, Malaysia, Turkey, and the U.S., FRONTLINE illuminates the perspectives, conflicts, and tensions that are shaping today's Muslim world.
Originally broadcast: May 9, 2002
FRONTLINE investigates the terror threat from Iran and the challenges facing U.S. policymakers. President Bush has declared Iran part of an "axis of evil." But will U.S. actions against Iran help or hinder Iranian moderates' struggle to reform the hard-line government of Iran?
Originally broadcast: May 2, 2002
FRONTLINE investigates the personal stories of the three Sept. 11th terrorists who piloted suicide planes into the World Trade Center and into a field in Pennsylvania: Mohammed Atta, Marwan Al Shehhi, and Ziad Jarrah. Correspondent Hedrick Smith explores what transformed these seemingly unremarkable men into fanatical terrorists and examines how their deadly plans went undetected for so long. Tracing the paths of the three from their native countries to Germany, then Afghanistan, and finally, to America, "Inside the Terror Network" chronicles the planning that went into their conspiracy and how they went unnoticed and unsuspected. This report also looks at how the terrorists achieved surprise not only by their cunning exploitation of America's open society, but also by the failure of law enforcement agencies to spot numerous warning signs of their plot.
Originally broadcast: Jan. 17, 2002
In "Saudi Time Bomb?" FRONTLINE and The New York Times explore the U.S.-Saudi relationship and the internal forces that threaten the stability of Saudi Arabia, one of America's most important allies in the Arab world. Through interviews with U.S. and Saudi officials, political analysts, religious experts, and observers, this report outlines the history of U.S.-Saudi relations, the internal problems and contradictions within Saudi society, the growing Islamic fundamentalism within Saudi Arabia and its possible ties to terrorism. Exploring the far-flung influence of Wahhabism, the extreme form of Islam that originated in Saudi Arabia, this report also looks at the troubling connections between Saudi charities and some Islamic religious schools, or "madrassas," which spread Wahhabism throughout the Muslim world; at the Wahhabi sect's close ties to the Taliban, many of whom were educated in Saudi-financed madrassas in Pakistan; and at the current tensions between the U.S. and Saudi Arabia arising from the Saudis' seeming reluctance to cooperate in the war on terrorism.
Originally broadcast: Nov. 15, 2001
FRONTLINE investigates the intense debate inside the Bush administration over what should be the next front in the war on terrorism. The Sept. 11 terrorist attacks on the United States re-energized Saddam Hussein's strongest opponents in Washington. This report examines the litany of allegations against Iraq's leader, including the Iraqi regime's efforts to stockpile weapons of mass destruction, its attempt to assassinate former president George H.W. Bush in 1993, and recent allegations by two Iraqi military defectors that a secret camp inside Iraq has been used for the training of Islamic terrorists.
Originally broadcast: Nov. 8, 2001
"Trail of a Terrorist," a FRONTLINE co-production with the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, is the story of a young Algerian named Ahmed Ressam, trained in Osama bin Laden's Al Qaeda camps, who was caught crossing the Canada-U.S. border in December 1999 with a carload of explosives headed for Los Angeles International Airport, where he planned to blow up a terminal on New Year's Eve. Tracing the investigation of Ressam and the global terrorist network in which he operated, the report follows a trail from North Africa to small towns in France to the mountains of Afghanistan, and ultimately back to Canada and the United States. With access to Ressam's testimony in the trial of a co-conspirator, the report uncovers troubling questions about the security of the U.S.-Canada border and chilling details about global terrorist cells and Osama bin Laden's recruiting and training network.
Originally broadcast: Oct. 25, 2001
Produced in partnership with The New York Times, "Looking for Answers" investigates the roots of Osama bin Laden's Al Qaeda terrorist network -- and the anti-American hatred that feeds it -- within Egypt and Saudi Arabia, two crucial U.S. allies in the Islamic world. Through interviews with government officials and exiled dissidents from Egypt and Saudi Arabia -- including a rare interview with the Saudi ambassador to the U.S., Prince Bandar bin Sultan -- the report offers a close look at why so many of bin Laden's recruits come from Egypt and Saudi Arabia. Seven U.S. national security and intelligence experts also assess why U.S. intelligence failed on Sept. 11.
Originally broadcast: Oct. 9, 2001
"Target America" looks at the lessons to be drawn from the first "war on terrorism" -- the one waged by the Reagan administration in the 1980s -- through interviews with key players in the Reagan White House, including Secretary of Defense Caspar W. Weinberger, Secretary of State George P. Shultz, National Security Adviser Robert C. McFarlane, and several of their deputies. Revisiting the major events of the period -- from the attacks on the American embassy and Marines in Beirut, to the hijacking of TWA 847, the kidnappings of Americans in the Middle East, and the bombing of Pan Am 103 -- the report examines how Reagan and his Cabinet, in a piecemeal effort to combat terrorism, tried retaliatory attacks, espionage, secret negotiation, and eventually international law enforcement.
Originally broadcast: Oct. 4, 2001
Osama bin Laden is charged with masterminding the 1998 bombings of two U.S. embassies in East Africa, believed to have had a role in the October 2000 attack on the USS Cole in the Yemeni port of Aden, and now is a prime suspect in the Sept. 11, 2001 destruction of the World Trade Center and the bombing of the Pentagon. This report features reporting by a Pulitzer-Prize nominated team of New York Times reporters and FRONTLINE correspondent Lowell Bergman. Tracing the trail of evidence linking bin Laden to terrorist attacks, this updated report includes interviews with Times reporters Judith Miller and James Risen and former CIA official Larry Johnson. They discuss the terrorist attacks which are linked, or are likely linked, to bin Laden's complex network of terrorists, outline the elements of his international organization and details of its alliances and tactics, and address the challenges confronting U.S. intelligence in trying to crack it.
Originally broadcast: Sept. 13, 2001
This report presents an intimate portrait of Saddam Hussein's life, examining what has made him a master survivor -- from his days as a young hit man in the Ba'ath party to his rise to power with CIA help; from his successful exploitation of superpower rivalry in the 1970s to his miscalculations in invading Kuwait 20 years later; from CIA-backed coup attempts and internal rebellions against him throughout the 1990s to his successful standoff with U.N. weapons inspectors.
Originally broadcast: Jan. 25, 2000
In this report, FRONTLINE chronicles the dramatic, and ultimately thwarted, eight-year effort by the United Nations Special Commission (UNSCOM) to find and dismantle Iraq's weapons of mass destruction. Tracing the history of UNSCOM -- from its birth at the end of the Gulf War, to its daring inspections and confrontations with the Iraqi military during the 1990s, to the final events leading up to the U.N.'s withdrawal of weapons inspectors in 1998 -- FRONTLINE tracks how politics, quarrels, and turf wars involving the U.N., the State Department, the CIA, and Israel effectively undermined and ended UNSCOM's mission.
Originally broadcast: Apr. 27, 1999
This two-part documentary is a comprehensive and critical analysis of the 1990-1991 war in which more than one million troops faced off against each other in the deserts of the Gulf states. From the Allied coalition's air war and the ground assault, to the liberation of Kuwait and the fallout of Saddam Hussein's retaining power, FRONTLINE deconstructs what really happened, how it happened and why. This report draws on in-depth, remarkably candid interviews with those who planned Operation Desert Storm and those who fought its battles. These include key decisionmakers such as Colin Powell, Norman Schwarzkopf, former Secretary of State James Baker, former Secretary of Defense Dick Cheney, and Margaret Thatcher. It also includes vivid commentary by U.S and British commanders on the ground, the war stories of soldiers and airmen captured by the Iraqis, and interviews with Iraqi Foreign Minister Tariq Aziz and a top Iraqi intelligence official.
Originally broadcast: Jan. 9 & 10, 1996