Thursday, May 19, 2011

Colleen Rowley

Hi!! Today's Awesome Woman of the Day is a woman some of you are friends with on Facebook (and I would be too if I could but she is over her maximum). She's someone I have a great deal of respect for because she stood up for what's right as a whistleblower in the FBI. In 2002 she wrote what was intended to be a private memo to then-director Robert Mueller about the misrepresentation and mishandling of facts regarding the time leading up to the events surrounding 9/11. Her memo quickly garnered public attention and became known as The Bombshell Memo by Time magazine Although stating her true opinion was a dangerous thing for her to do, it never occurred to her that it might not be the right thing to do as she felt that "speaking truth to power" always made sense and its that degree of integrity that really impresses me. As a result, She jointly held the [I]TIME[/] "Person of the Year" award in 2002 with two other women credited as whistleblowers: Sherron Watkins from Enron and Cynthia Cooper of WorldCom. She also received the Sam Adams Award for 2002.[[I]citation needed[/]]She became a special agent of the FBI in 1984 and was stationed at several posts both domestic and overseasuntil she came ato Minneapolis as their chief legal advisor.After the September 11, 2001, attacks, Rowley wrote a paper for FBI Director Robert Mueller documenting how FBI HQ personnel inWashington, D.C., had mishandled and failed to take action on information provided by the Minneapolis, Minnesota Field Office regarding its investigation of suspected terrorist Zacarias Moussaoui. This individual had been suspected of being involved in preparations for a suicide-hijacking similar to the December 1994 "Eiffel Tower" hijacking of Air France 8969. Failures identified by Rowley may have left the U.S. vulnerable to the September 11, 2001, attacks. Rowley was one of many agents frustrated by the events that led up to the attacks, writing:During the early aftermath of September 11th, when I happened to be recounting the pre–September 11th events concerning the Moussaoui investigation to other FBI personnel in other divisions or in FBIHQ, almost everyone's first question was "Why?--Why would an FBI agent(s) deliberately sabotage a case? (I know I shouldn't be flippant about this, but jokes were actually made that the key FBI HQ personnel had to be spies or moles, like [Robert Hanssen], who were actually working for Osama Bin Laden to have so undercut Minneapolis' effort.) [2][3]Rowley testified in front of the Senate and for the 9/11 Commission about the FBI's internal organization and mishandling of information related to the September 11, 2001, attacks. Mueller and Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA) pushed for and got a major reorganization, focused on creation of the new Office of Intelligence at the FBI. This reorganization was supported with a significant expansion of FBI personnel with counterterrorism and language skills.[[I]citation needed[/]]For Americans watching this odd display, the message was clear: This mid-level lawyer ata field office in the Midwest had higher expectations for the FBI than its top leaders. The bureau could be great, was her message, if only it put the goal of protecting Americans above the goal of protecting itself, if only agents were not rewarded for sitting still. In short,she made the Congressmen look like interns on the set of the Coleen Rowley show. Read more:,9171,1003988,00.html#ixzz1MohY8TSBRowley retired from the FBI in 2004 after 24 years with the agency.After this experience, she became much more politically active and later ran for US representative as member of the Democratic Farm Labor party against John Kline but lost due to some questionable circumstances involving a cash contribution and picture that mysteriously was posted on her website portraying her opponent as Col Klink of Hogan's Heroes. She also protested outside GW Bush's ranch in Crawford, Texas requesting that Bush meet with Cindy Sheehan and answer some of her questions.

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