Why America Slept: The Failure to Prevent 9/11

A comprehensive probe of Saudi Arabia and evidence that at times it is both ally and foe

Why America Slept was the first definitive account of what really happened behind the scenes with intelligence services and government leaders during the time preceding 9/11? The result of an eighteen-month investigation, it reveals much previously undisclosed information, including details about a secret deal between Saudi Arabia and Osama bin Laden; how the U.S. government missed several chances to kill or capture bin Laden; how the CIA tracked–and then lost–two of the hijackers when they entered the United States months before the attacks; the devastating consequences of the crippling rivalry between the CIA and FBI; and the startling account of top al Qaeda captive whose information subsequently led to a trail of mysterious deaths of Saudi Arabian princes and Pakistani military leaders. Why America Slept relentlessly exposes the frequent mistakes made by law enforcement and government agencies, and demonstrates how the failures to prevent 9/11 were tragically not an exception but typical. In the end, it makes a damning case that the terrorist attacks could have been prevented. It has been optioned by Showtime for a 6-hour miniseries.

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Explosive...a lean, lucid retelling of how the CIA, FBI and U.S. leaders missed a decade's worth of clues and opportunities that if heeded, Posner argues, might have forestalled the 9/11 terrorist attacks...It opens up more troubling questions about crucial U.S. allies...

Smart and evocatively written...a narrative that takes on the pace of a spy thriller.
- The New York Times Book Review

A solidly researched catalogue of what Posner calls 'fumbled investigations and misplaced priorities.; [H]e lays out a remarkable tale. 
- The Washington Post

Posner's book is a godsend. [H]e has done an amazing job of cutting through the layers, laying out a complicated situation through dramatic narrative...Readers familiar with [his] previous books will not be surprised at his success this time.
- Denver Post

Posner's book is by turns enthralling, and enraging...A maddening explication of FBI and CIA feuding, undercutting and back-stabbing...Well-researched, tightly written and averaging a revelation per page, [his] book is one of those non-fiction rarities – a historical narrative in which even the notes make for compelling reading.
- The Week

[Posner] breaks significant new ground.
- Houston Chronicle

An explosive scoop...No question, 9/11 could and should have been prevented.
- Austin American-Statesman

Riveting and disquieting.
- The New York Times