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Frontline Commemorates the 10th Anniversary of 9/11

with New and Encore Investigations


Wednesday, September 7th, 2011


This September on WTVP


Ground Zero

Following the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, FRONTLINE produced more than 45 hours of films documenting the attacks and their effects on America and the world. For the 10th anniversary of Sept. 11, WTVP-Public Media for Central Illinois, presents a series of new and encore FRONTLINE investigations: “Top Secret America” (Sept. 6); “Faith and Doubt at Ground Zero” (Sept. 7, encore) “The Man Who Knew” (Sept. 9, encore); “The Interrogator” (Sept. 13), and “The Man Behind the Mosque” (Sept. 27).

In “Top Secret America”, airing Tuesday, Sept. 6, at 9 p.m., FRONTLINE producer Michael Kirk (“Bush's War,” “The Torture Question”) teams up with Pulitzer Prize-winning “Washington Post” journalist Dana Priest to reveal an unprecedented yet largely invisible legacy of 9/11: the creation of a vast maze of clandestine government and private agencies designed to hunt terrorists and prevent future attacks on the United States. The program will encore Sunday, Sept. 11 at 10:30 p.m. on WTVP 47.1

From drone strikes to coercive interrogation to domestic spying and secret raids by special operations forces, “Top Secret America” tells the story of how in the days after Sept. 11, the White House set the framework for a covert war that would be fought in the shadows. "The desire and willingness of the government to operate in secret and to deny the public [and] the media the basic facts about what they were doing was all-inclusive," Priest says. "We were falling deeper and deeper into a secretly run government."

Priest, who won a Pulitzer Prize for uncovering the CIA's secret network of "black site" prisons, traced the origins of a secret American workforce of almost a million people scattered in 10,000 different locations, spending untold billions on intelligence and national security. "We have close to a million people who are living in this different world, and there weren't a million people before," Priest says. "We have a growing number of people who are doing things that you and I cannot know about. This world is growing up behind a black wall."

Priest's book, “TOP SECRET AMERICA: The Rise of the New American Security State” [Little, Brown and Company; Sept. 6, 2011; $27.99; Hardcover], will be published to coincide with the FRONTLINE broadcast.


In a special encore broadcast of “Faith and Doubt at Ground Zero” on Wednesday, Sept. 7, from 9 to 11 p.m. on WTVP 47.1, FRONTLINE explores how the spiritual lives of both believers and nonbelievers have been challenged since Sept. 11 by difficult questions of good and evil and the potential for darkness within religion itself. Through interviews with a cross section of Americans, FRONTINE illuminates the many spiritual questions that have come out of the terror, pain and destruction at Ground Zero. www.pbs.org/frontline/shows/faith/


In “The Man Who Knew” encore broadcast, Friday, Sept. 9, at 9:30 p.m. on WTVP 47.1, FRONTLINE tells the saga of FBI special agent John O'Neill. As the bureau's top counterterrorism agent, O'Neill-who investigated the bombings of the U.S. embassies in Africa and the attack on the U.S.S. Cole-joined then-national security counterterrorism co-coordinator Richard Clarke in believing that the United States should kill Osama bin Laden before Al Qaeda launched a devastating attack on America. Richard Clarke, then speaking in his first major interview, talks about O'Neill's battles with the FBI top brass who found O'Neill's James Bond style anathema. Forced out of the job he loved, O'Neill took a new position in the private sector-as head of security at the World Trade Center, where he was killed on Sept. 11, 2001. The story of O'Neill's life and death provides a rare glimpse inside the FBI and helps answer the question: What did the government know? The program will also air Sunday, Sept. 11 at 9:30 p.m. on WTVP 47.1. www.pbs.org/frontline/shows/knew/


In a late-breaking addition to the line-up, “The Interrogator” airs Tuesday, Sept. 13 at 9:00 p.m. on WTVP 47.1. 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 torture failed to produce actionable intelligence. Also in this hour: Pulitzer Prize-winning Washington Post reporter Dana Priest investigates the terrorism-industrial complex that grew up in the wake of 9/11. In “Are We Safer?” Priest explores the growing reach of homeland security, fusion centers, battlefield technologies, and data-collecting into the lives of ordinary Americans.


In “The Man Behind the Mosque”, airing Tuesday, Sept. 27, at 9 p.m. WTVP 47.1, FRONTLINE producer Dan Reed (“Battle for Haiti”) untangles the media hysteria, raw emotion and politics surrounding the so-called Mosque at Ground Zero, the proposed mosque and Islamic community center two blocks away from the site of the 9/11 attacks in lower Manhattan.

With unique access to the major players, FRONTLINE goes inside the project with Sharif El-Gamal, the charismatic property developer at the center of the controversy. The film also recounts the press frenzy surrounding the plans; the attacks on its high-profile spiritual leader, Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf; and the enduring pain and anger of some of the 9/11 families who oppose the building.

Brought up as a churchgoing Christian named Alexander, El-Gamal is the son of a Polish Catholic and an Egyptian Muslim who describes himself as a New Yorker from Brooklyn: "I'm not a community activist; I'm not a community leader; ... I'm not an Islamic academic. I'm a New Yorker who is a real estate junkie. That's who I am."

The groundswell against the project has been led by Pamela Geller and Robert Spencer, co-founders of the pressure group Stop the Islamization of America. They rallied opposition to what they call a "victory mosque," supported by some of those who lost loved ones on 9/11. "They're on a mission from Allah, and they mean to accomplish it. It will be Mecca on the Hudson," said Geller. "But I can tell you right now, it will be a battle; it will be a fight."

Over several months, Reed followed El-Gamal as he battled to garner support and funds for the project he has dubbed Park 51. Hounded by reporters and lacking wide support among American Muslims, El-Gamal has struggled to keep alive his dream of building a mosque. Of all his challenges, the most sensitive is the hostility from some of the 9/11 families. FRONTLINE films the meeting between El-Gamal and Lee Hanson, who lost his son, daughter-in-law and granddaughter, who comes seeking an explanation for what he sees as El-Gamal's callous management of the project.

Ten years on from the events that shaped a nation, this is the story of a derelict building that has become a lightning rod for America's struggle to reconcile itself with the presence of Islam.




“Top Secret America” is a FRONTLINE production with Kirk Documentary Group, Ltd. The writer and director is Michael Kirk. The producers are Michael Kirk, Jim Gilmore and Mike Wiser. The reporters are Dana Priest, Jim Gilmore and William Arkin. The writers are Michael Kirk and Mike Wiser. The director is Michael Kirk.

“The Man Behind the Mosque” is a CTVC production for WGBH/FRONTLINE, in association with Channel 4. The film is produced and directed by Dan Reed.

The Ali Soufan interview is a FRONTLINE production with Rain Media Inc., in collaboration with the Kirk Documentary Group. The producers are Martin Smith and Jim Gilmore. The correspondent is Martin Smith.

The series senior producer of FRONTLINE is Raney Aronson-Rath. The executive producer of FRONTLINE is David Fanning.

FRONTLINE is produced by WGBH Boston and is broadcast nationwide on PBS. Funding for FRONTLINE is provided through the support of PBS viewers and by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. Major funding for FRONTLINE is provided by The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation and by Reva and David Logan. Additional funding is provided by the Park Foundation and by the FRONTLINE Journalism Fund. FRONTLINE is closed-captioned for deaf and hard-of-hearing viewers by the Media Access Group at WGBH. FRONTLINE is a registered trademark of the WGBH Educational Foundation.





For further information contact Linda Miller, WTVP Vice President of Programming, at (309) 495-0591 or linda.miller@wtvp.org



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