"Heart of a Soldier" tells the story of two men who, well before it happened, foretold not only of the terrorist attack of 9/11 but also the 1993 bombing in the World Trade Center parking garage that preceded it.
One of the men, Rick Rescorla, was chief of security for Morgan Stanley with an office in the World Trade Center. He died on 9/11, but not before he shepherded all but six of Morgan Stanley's 2,700 employees to safety because of a well-prepared and well-executed evacuation plan. He'd have made it out, too, had he not gone back in the building looking for those six.
The other man, Daniel J. Hill, is still alive.
With another Sept. 11 approaching I wanted to talk to The Man Who Predicted 9/11.
Although the primary focus in Stewart's book is on Rescorla — a bona fide hero for his actions on 9/11 — I found Hill to be an even more fascinating character.
It was Hill who converted to Islam as a young U.S. Army paratrooper stationed in Beirut in 1958. It was Hill who learned fluent Arabic. It was Hill who joined the Mujahedeen Freedom Fighters in Afghanistan and fought the Soviet invasion there in the 1980s. It was Hill who personally met Osama bin Laden. It was Hill who used information from Islamic extremists to warn Rescorla that terrorists would use the underground parking garage for a car bomb attack on the World Trade Center. It was Hill who asked the U.S. government to assist him in an assassination attempt on bin Laden in 1998 (the request was rejected). And it was Hill who warned the FBI just weeks before Sept. 11, 2001, that his Mideast contacts told him "something big" was about to happen in the United States, in New York, Washington, D.C., or Philadelphia — maybe all three.
And what, according to Benson's article, does Daniel J. Hill say is going to happen? More:
I certainly hope that Mr. Hill is wrong. And we can show that there have been many times since September 11, 2001, when more attacks have been predicted; fortunately, these predictions have not come to pass. Mr. Hill's nightmare scenario involving small planes and suitcase nukes sounds like something out of a spy thriller novel; let's hope that's all it is, and that our terrorist enemies remain incapable of mounting any such attack against America.
Hill said the next terrorist attack will involve suitcase nuclear bombs that will be detonated in small, low-flying two-seater private airplanes manned by men hanging onto the belief that, like the 9/11 hijackers, they are about to die as martyrs and enter paradise.
He is not alone in suggesting such a scenario. A 2007 book, "The Day of Islam," spells out the details, as do any number of Internet sites about a plot called "American Hiroshima."
The nukes, he said, will be detonated over New York, Washington, D.C., Chicago, Miami, Houston, Las Vegas and Los Angeles.
I asked Hill, "Why now?""Eight years from 1993 to 2001, eight years from that 9/11 to this 9/11," he said. "Symbolism. They're big on symbolism."