Limited series THE LOOMING TOWER traces the rise of Osama Bin Laden | SBS On-Demand
Based on the Pulitzer-Prize winning book, The Looming Tower traces the rising threat of Osama Bin Laden and Al-Qaeda in the late 1990s and how the rivalry between the FBI and CIA during that time may have inadvertently set the path for the tragedy of 9/11.
The series follows members of the I-49 Squad in New York and Alec Station in Washington, D.C., the counter-terrorism divisions of the FBI and CIA, respectively, as they travel the world fighting for ownership of information while seemingly working toward the same goal - trying to prevent an imminent attack on U.S. soil.
John O’Neill (Jeff Daniels), the bullheaded chief of the I-49 Squad, is rightly convinced that the U.S. has been targeted for an attack by Al-Qaeda. He and his protégé, Muslim-American FBI agent Ali Soufan (Tahar Rahim), face deliberately insufficient cooperation from other organizations within the federal government.
Specifically, their counterparts within the CIA, led by the frequently antagonistic Martin Schmidt (Peter Sarsgaard). Convinced he’s by far the smartest person in the room, Schmidt, along with his Alec Station protégé, Diane Marsh (Wrenn Schmidt), opt to disobey Presidential orders and horde information from the FBI under the misguided notion that the CIA is the only government agency equipped to battle potential terror threats from abroad.
O’Neill and Soufan travel overseas to investigate the bombings of the Nairobi Embassy, Dar es Salaam Embassy and the U.S.S. Cole, while interrogating terrorists in Europe, North Africa and the Middle East, gathering important intelligence piece by piece. Meanwhile in D.C., Schmidt and Marsh are given critical information of their own - the knowledge that known Al-Qaeda members, whom O’Neill and Soufan are trying to track down, have entered the United States.
Working with Schmidt to keep that information private, Marsh rises up through the ranks of Alec Station. Soufan also rises through the FBI, using his intimate knowledge of Islam and Arabic to form bonds with foreign intelligence agents and suspects alike. Schmidt and O’Neill however, experience individual professional demise due to their own aggressive stubbornness.
The professional and personal worlds come to a head as Al-Qaeda operatives in the U.S., which the CIA has long known about, set their plan in motion.
The Looming Tower is executive produced by Daniel Futterman (Showrunner), Alex Gibney, Lawrence Wright, Craig Zisk, and Adam Rapp. The Looming Tower is a Legendary Television production for Hulu in the U.S. and Amazon Video outside of the U.S.
The Looming Tower stars Jeff Daniels (John O’Neill), Tahar Rahim (Ali Soufan), Wrenn Schmidt (Diane Marsh), Bill Camp (Robert Chesney), Louis Cancelmi (Vince Stuart), Virginia Kull (Kathy Shaughnessy), Ella Rae Peck (Heather), Sullivan Jones (Floyd Bennet) with Michael Stuhlbarg (Richard Clarke) and Peter Sarsgaard (Martin Schmidt).