There's a 9/11 article in this week's New Yorker and it isn't by Seymour Hersh. It's by Lawrence Wright and it's called "The Agent." The subtitle is "Did the CIA stop an FBI detective from preventing 9/11?"
Sit down. It's not an expose about Dave Frasca or visits to Osama in the hospital in Dubai. It simply bolsters the shaky 'incompetence' theory with a more solid 'wall' theory according to which FBI agent Ali Soufan was stymied in his efforts by inter-agency turf wars. (So disillusioned did Soufan become with the way the government worked that in 2005, he quit the bureau to become director of international operations for Giuliani Security and Safety where he is presumably fulfilled.[?])
But the article does offer some interesting details about the interventions of Ambassador Barbara Bodine in security measures and FBI investigations:
On the aftermath of the bombing of the USS Cole:
"Security was a great concern, considering that automatic weapons were ubiquitous in the country, especially in rural areas, but Barbara Bodine, the American Ambassador, refused to allow the agents to carry heavy arms. She was concerned about offending the Yemeni authorities."(p. 65)
Remember, this was after the bombing.
And on FBI investigations:
"Just before Thanksgiving, the FBI pulled [John] O'Neill out of Yemen, apparently as a concession to Ambassador Bodine, who felt that the FBI presence was straining diplomatic relations between America and Yemen." (p. 69)
O'Neill, you remember, was the FBI agent who became head of security at the World Trade Center shortly before dying there on 9/11.
Ambassador Bodine, who is currently a Senior Fellow at the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard, has multiple credentials in the area of security. Her bio credits her tour in Yemen with "s[eeing] enhanced support for democratization and increased security cooperation, as well as the terrorist attack on the USS Cole in 2000."
Not letting that little incident get in her way, "In 2003 Ambassador Bodine served as coordinator for post-conflict reconstruction for Baghdad and the central governorates of Iraq... In her last assignment, she served as Senior Advisor for International Security Negotiations in the Bureau of Political-Military Affairs at the Department of State."
So sleep well tonight; the security of the country is in competent hands with a solid track record. But you already knew that.