The Looming Tower, BBC2 — a portrait of the build-up to 9/11

The Looming Tower, adapted from the book by Lawrence Wright, examines the rise of Osama bin Laden and the road to 9/11, posing the question that it was paved by the failure of US intelligence agencies to work together coherently. O’Neill’s clashes with Martin Schmidt of the CIA (Peter Sarsgaard) are no less histrionic willy-waving for the fact that each man sincerely believes he’s doing the best for his country. Schmidt has received information via an intercepted hard drive about something big going down in Albania, but clams up in meetings for fear the clodhoppers at the FBI will surge in and round up the small fry while the head of the snake remains intact. O’Neill, whose aggressive attitude alienates as much as it compels, simply believes intel should be shared.

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