🎧After the Fall by Peter McDonnell & Bobby Chacon | Narrated by Dion Graham

Most Americans say 9/11 is the most significant historical event of their lives. It shocked a suddenly vulnerable nation, killed 3,000 people, and led to the longest war in US history. But for the FBI, 9/11 was also a crime.

Dozens of agents at the forefront of the case tell in their own words how they uncovered evidence to prove who was behind the attacks, reconstruct the “planes operation”, interrogate terrorism suspects, prevent more attacks, and wrestle with the question of whether 9/11 itself could have been stopped.

9/11 nearly broke the FBI in two. But the investigation into 9/11 transformed the bureau into an agency that prioritized counterterrorism. It influenced the War in Afghanistan, led to a rift with the CIA about using torture to gather intelligence, and generated thousands of boxes of evidence for prosecutions in US courts – most of which have never occurred.

In this riveting series, agents tell their story from the perspective of being in the field, in the moment, as they work in extraordinary circumstances, against unparalleled problems, and face the highest stakes. From the crime scenes in lower Manhattan, the Pentagon, and in Shanksville, the investigation unfolds in unexpected places: a mechanics’ garage, Fresh Kills landfill, a prison in Sanaa, Yemen, a ticket booth in Kandahar, Afghanistan, a safe house in Faisalabad, Pakistan, and Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. The FBI’s investigation into 9/11 is an essential part of the history of the September 11th terrorist attacks. 

After the Fall is dedicated to the many victims of the 9/11 attacks, including those who suffered from cancer and other illnesses because of their work at Ground Zero, the Pentagon, and in Shanksville. 

Like many others, I can remember exactly what I was doing on the morning of 9/11. I was an eleven year-old girl sitting in art class in the UK. I remember feeling anxious because my Dad was in America for work, and I couldn’t remember whereabouts he was.

9/11 was an event that changed the world for many, many people. It was shocking and horrific. It angered people, it wounded people, it grieved people. The world changed after 9/11. Not just for New York, not just for Americans, everyone who witnessed 9/11 was affected by it.

I have always been someone who has been curious about the ‘hard to read’, ‘hard to talk about’ events that have happened throughout history. Some events need to be talked about; they need to be remembered. As shocking and sad the events of 9/11 were, I feel duty bound to keep the memory of what happened alive. I feel the same way when I think about other marks of history; the Titanic, the treatment of Jews in the two Wars, the destruction of Pompeii etc.

After the Fall is an 16 episode podcast with each episode being around the 30 minutes mark. It focuses on the FBI and the work they did in the lead up to 9/11, during 9/11 and the aftermath. It has real people talking about what it was like and how they managed.

The sacrifices made by these people in the days following the attack was remarkable and they didn’t stop for one moment until every loose end was tied up neatly.

The podcast explores to what lengths FBI agents went to in order to bring those to justice, to bring closure to those that had lost or suffered and to uphold the name of the FBI.

Hearing these individual retellings was humbling and pinched at every part of my emotions. I never realised how much animosity was directed towards the FBI agents by members of the public believing that the events of 9/11 were their fault. I can’t imagine the effect that would have on one’s psyche.

Within the series they talk a lot about ‘the wall’. The wall is something I generally thought was a made up element portrayed through entertainment television and film. Knowing it had been real somehow surprised me. ‘The Wall’ was the act that prevented agencies – specifically the CIA and FBI – from sharing information with each other.

Listening to this podcast has showed me that there would have been more chance to be prepared had the wall fallen before the attacks of 9/11, but I don’t think having access to that information would have been enough to prevent the attack from happening altogether.  

Some of these people working the aftermath of the attack sacrificed everything in the pursuit of finding answers and they should be thanked wholeheartedly. It sounds like the team couldn’t have been more dedicated to the cause and it is understandably obvious just what a hard task they had ahead of themselves.

Listening through this podcast has been very rewarding. It has given me a greater understanding of what was going on ‘behind the scenes’ in the aftermath of the fall. It has reminded me how resilient people can be and it has opened up a wealth of detailed knowledge into an event, that as a citizen of the UK, I wasn’t necessarily aware of.

I would heartedly recommend this ✨✨✨✨✨

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