Unchecked

 

 

If you would like to view the 34 min full length version, email me here.         (Your email will never be abused or shared in any way.)

About this film…

In the 1990s, the late FBI counter-terrorism chief, John P. O’Neill, had blasted through a wall of resistance inside the government to uncover the global nature of the al-Qaeda network. In this film, O’Neill’s allies recount their trail to the doorstep of the September 11 plot using their traditional security methods, only to be derailed from preventing the attacks. Their devastating account holds the promise of public trust for a wiser approach to counter-terrorism. Here you will meet key counter-terrorism officials, some featured in Hulu’s 2018 dramatization of John O’Neill’s career, “The Looming Tower.”  To this day, their voices remain under heard.

A note of heartfelt thanks to Warren Flagg and others who restored my faith, and whose supportive feedback countered my doubts by insisting that my status as an average unknown American citizen was precisely the reason I should contribute my voice.  As big budget documentaries on 9/11 were being produced, my modestly made independent film seemed less urgent in comparison, and life called me to other things.  When UNCHECKED won the NYWIFT award in 2021, I realized that viewers were connecting emotionally to grasp the tragic magnitude of questions that remain unanswered after more than twenty years, as evidenced by the recent September 11 Transparency Act.   

Much has happened since I began working on this story… I have recently posted many videos in the blog section of this site for easy access to important voices shedding penetrating light on connections between September 11 and January 6. I invite you to visit the blog page and those videos, as I’m sure that you, like me, are grappling with our historical moment.

UNCHECKED won First Place in the Documentary category in the NEW YORK WOMEN IN FILM 2021 ONLINE SHORTS FEST!
I’m so pleased to share the message of this film with you….

Background…

I lived for twenty years in Brooklyn, blocks away from the first major al-Qaeda cell in America.  I began following the al-Qaeda story after the East African Embassy bombings in 1998.  After the September 11th attacks, I ran across an in-depth article about FBI chief John P. O’Neill, eloquently written by New Yorker author Lawrence Wright.  I found O’Neill’s story particularly moving. Years later, like many fellow Americans, I was aghast at the Iraq War; the extreme new security methods; the NDAA detention powers signed by President Obama, and more. When I met retired FBI agent Warren Flagg, the “mayor” of our block, I learned he’d been a very close friend of John O’Neill, the man in the article of 2002, who gave his life to warn America, who died trying to save people in the North Tower. Warren and his colleagues were utterly devastated by his loss. Their lives, like the 9/11 families, will never be the same. America, and our world, will never be the same.

Warren, “W” as I call him, was deeply worried about American citizens like me losing faith in our institutions. Here we are, twenty-two years since 9/11. With some 30 percent of our country seemingly content to take a wrecking ball to the entire democratic edifice. Something is amiss in the America we love.  I am terrified, and hope we are all terrified. But in a positive way, motivated to discern not only what we are against, but also what we are for. My mom’s ancestor signed the Declaration of Independence. I believe we have a duty to fulfill and protect our inheritance by insisting on the truth.  Conspiracy and untruth grow in the soil of omission, deeply dangerous, as recent years have shown.  Each September 11th, the men in my film relive not only the agony of that day, but the added grief of confronting deceitful narratives still circulating in the bloodstream of America. Let’s help them fight for truth grounded in reality based fact, the lifeblood of our democracy.

This film will be accessible for a few days around September 11. If you would like to view the 34 min full length version, Email me here. (Your email will never be abused or shared in any way.)

Please, scroll down to leave your comment below. Your feedback is important. And, it will help bring more viewers to this story, thank you..!

 

19 Responses

  1. Danny Singh
    Danny Singh · October 16, 2023 at 20:15:55 ·

    Hi Barbara,
    I can’t say enough good things about your achievement. It is my sincere hope that an ever-growing audience sees and learns from your important and enlightening documentary. Fantastic job.
    Thanks
    Danny

  2. Phyllis Pranzo
    Phyllis Pranzo · September 13, 2023 at 20:06:04 ·

    I always followed articles relating to John. Met him a few times thru a very dear friend of mine. I tried to click on “email me” in order to get Unchecked. Can you tell me how I can get it. 9/11is a sad day knowing how John lost his life.

  3. Wiebke Hinsch
    Wiebke Hinsch · July 9, 2022 at 16:24:45 ·

    Dear Barbara,
    my heart is heavy with sorrow about what happened on January 6th.
    I think there is a similarity to the subject of your film about 9/11. You brought
    back the shock and bewilderment and the consequence of human failure.
    It is so important to bring light into the murky story of the terror attacks.
    Thank you. I wish you success with the effort to bring it to a wide audience.
    Wiebke

  4. Eohraim Savitt
    Eohraim Savitt · July 1, 2022 at 04:08:44 ·

    I finally got around to watching your documentary film, “Unchecked,” which my friend former FBI Agent Warren Flagg commended to me 2 years ago. (He was even too modest to advise me that his interviews are featured in the documentary). When I was a federal prosecutor in Brooklyn in the 1980’s, I had experienced inter-agency rivalry and mutual secretiveness too many times. But those led to failed investigations of racketeers and run-of-the=mill criminals. Nothing on the scope of the CIA’s obvious failure and that agency’s wrongful concealment of the aL-Qaeda operatives that spearheaded the 911 attacks that still traumatizes my generation even as we are beset by the coronavirus pandemic and the civil unrest in the past few weeks throughout our country. “Unchecked” is an important film documentary that I will certainly recommend to others because it has revelations that I only learned about by watching your fine expose of the regrettable dysfunction that led to our nation’s most tragic domestic attack. Perhaps our government will learn an important lesson from its prior mistakes, but if the past remains the prologue, I am not optimistic about that happening.

  5. Linda Gardner
    Linda Gardner · May 5, 2022 at 01:39:44 ·

    This documentary is very thought provoking! Thank you for putting the information together.

  6. les Aaron
    les Aaron · April 6, 2022 at 02:06:05 ·

    I was sitting in a Tunisian restaurant late at night having dinner by myself and there was only other group there that was hidden behind curtains in this restaurant of little alcoves shaped like a boat on Atlantic and Henry Street and listening to talk that was inflammatory. At the time, I didn’t know ONeill, but I was hearing some scary stuff coming out and I realized that whomever was there didn’t know some other was in attendance… Something was going on. But I didn’t have much luck expressing my fears to anyone of consequence. Now, I know who it must have been….The following week, Rabbi Kahane was murdered. The following week the restaurant was blown up. The Blind Prophet taught at the school across the street and used to eat there regularly. That was before the explosion and after two other episodes involving terrorism that affected my family. the first was the Achille Lauro when one of our friends in a wheelchair was thrown off the ship and drowned by Terrorist Arabs in the Middle East where my family had gone on vacation. The Metropolitan produced an opera written about that…. Another time, my friend from childhood, Peter Mayer, Chairman of Penguin and senior editor, was threatened by an edict arrived at by the same Blind Prophet for the writings of Salman about the Prophet that raised hackels and led to a fatwah. Peter used to have his chauffeur drive us into Manhattan and all of us feared that one day or another a bomb would go off…. I asked a cab driver once what if he knew he was riding with the the publisher of the book what he would do, without blinking he told me that he would kill him. I asked why if you hadn’t read his book. He said it didn’t matter.
    On still another occasion in 93, I was living in a brownstone in Boerum Hill when the 93 bombing took place that O’Neill knew was going to happen, and working with a client in New Jersey, one of the top 100 companies in the world and we learned that the bomber worked in the lab of this giant client company. When they finally attacked the team which was made up of Al Queda’s number two man’s nephew, who was the bomber, they had already escaped to the Philippines to try to destroy planes using bombs hidden in the inside, and it was working. the bombers lived within working distance of my home in Brooklyn it turned out…That’s a simple overview. My family was totally involved in the 9/11 situation with two daughters working close to the WTC as was my wife. And I was working as Vice President for a start up publishing company. and covered what had happened. I was invited at the time by the president of the organization of Engineers and Architects who believed that the buildings had not fallen on their own and I was asked to take on the responsibilities of president but I was already working most of each 24 hours and couldn’t do it but thought about writing a book. I had also followed Bill O’Neills career and saw how Lewis Freeh responded to him as if he were a show boat and kept him out of the investigation of the Cole…. Anyway, I intend to view your movie and thank you for having given some attention. It also turned out that the republican selected by the final committee himself could not understand what had gone on during the hearings a nice way of suggesting that there were many unsatisfied questions to their questions. Thank you for your movie it needed to be told….

  7. William Baltz
    William Baltz · January 7, 2022 at 10:25:13 ·

    I have looked at your remarkable documentary several times. Each time I learn something more and gain additional insight. Fantastic job! I was unaware of the facts you so skillfully present. Thank you for bringing them to light. We all need to know! Honest, thoughtful and hardworking journalists are wrongly labeled by some as purveyors of “fake news” when in fact they are providing a much needed and essential service. This is proof. You did a brilliant job as a journalist, reporter, interviewer, photographer, writer, director, editor–everything. Outstanding, high-quality, first rate…I can’t say enough good things about your achievement. It is my sincere hope that an ever-growing audience sees and learns from your important and enlightening documentary. I will certainly sent it to many others.

    Did (or will) your film show on public television? It should and I hope it does.

  8. Moser Elizabeth
    Moser Elizabeth · December 16, 2021 at 23:08:08 ·

    Hi Barbara,

    The film is brilliant and you did a wonderful job putting it all together. The hubris of the CIA not including the FBI is very sad commentary that goes on today with the Republicans and Democrats. Will we ever learn? What will it take?

  9. David Kettlewell
    David Kettlewell · December 16, 2021 at 13:28:55 ·

    Superb film, enjoyed every minute. Engaging, important.

  10. Lorri Flagg Fay
    Lorri Flagg Fay · December 13, 2021 at 13:12:03 ·

    this documentary was thought provoking and it angered and upset me. I fear that the coverups of government still continue and it makes me sick. Barbara, thank you for your dedication to making all aware of what happened behind the scenes.

  11. Sandra Dawson
    Sandra Dawson · September 14, 2021 at 12:27:50 ·

    Barbara, thank you, this documentary is eye opening, powerfully sad but also hopeful that the truth is out there and there are people who care enough to try to reveal it.

Leave a Reply

19 Responses

  1. Danny Singh
    Danny Singh · October 16, 2023 at 20:15:55 ·

    Hi Barbara,
    I can’t say enough good things about your achievement. It is my sincere hope that an ever-growing audience sees and learns from your important and enlightening documentary. Fantastic job.
    Thanks
    Danny

  2. Phyllis Pranzo
    Phyllis Pranzo · September 13, 2023 at 20:06:04 ·

    I always followed articles relating to John. Met him a few times thru a very dear friend of mine. I tried to click on “email me” in order to get Unchecked. Can you tell me how I can get it. 9/11is a sad day knowing how John lost his life.

  3. Wiebke Hinsch
    Wiebke Hinsch · July 9, 2022 at 16:24:45 ·

    Dear Barbara,
    my heart is heavy with sorrow about what happened on January 6th.
    I think there is a similarity to the subject of your film about 9/11. You brought
    back the shock and bewilderment and the consequence of human failure.
    It is so important to bring light into the murky story of the terror attacks.
    Thank you. I wish you success with the effort to bring it to a wide audience.
    Wiebke

  4. Eohraim Savitt
    Eohraim Savitt · July 1, 2022 at 04:08:44 ·

    I finally got around to watching your documentary film, “Unchecked,” which my friend former FBI Agent Warren Flagg commended to me 2 years ago. (He was even too modest to advise me that his interviews are featured in the documentary). When I was a federal prosecutor in Brooklyn in the 1980’s, I had experienced inter-agency rivalry and mutual secretiveness too many times. But those led to failed investigations of racketeers and run-of-the=mill criminals. Nothing on the scope of the CIA’s obvious failure and that agency’s wrongful concealment of the aL-Qaeda operatives that spearheaded the 911 attacks that still traumatizes my generation even as we are beset by the coronavirus pandemic and the civil unrest in the past few weeks throughout our country. “Unchecked” is an important film documentary that I will certainly recommend to others because it has revelations that I only learned about by watching your fine expose of the regrettable dysfunction that led to our nation’s most tragic domestic attack. Perhaps our government will learn an important lesson from its prior mistakes, but if the past remains the prologue, I am not optimistic about that happening.

  5. Linda Gardner
    Linda Gardner · May 5, 2022 at 01:39:44 ·

    This documentary is very thought provoking! Thank you for putting the information together.

  6. les Aaron
    les Aaron · April 6, 2022 at 02:06:05 ·

    I was sitting in a Tunisian restaurant late at night having dinner by myself and there was only other group there that was hidden behind curtains in this restaurant of little alcoves shaped like a boat on Atlantic and Henry Street and listening to talk that was inflammatory. At the time, I didn’t know ONeill, but I was hearing some scary stuff coming out and I realized that whomever was there didn’t know some other was in attendance… Something was going on. But I didn’t have much luck expressing my fears to anyone of consequence. Now, I know who it must have been….The following week, Rabbi Kahane was murdered. The following week the restaurant was blown up. The Blind Prophet taught at the school across the street and used to eat there regularly. That was before the explosion and after two other episodes involving terrorism that affected my family. the first was the Achille Lauro when one of our friends in a wheelchair was thrown off the ship and drowned by Terrorist Arabs in the Middle East where my family had gone on vacation. The Metropolitan produced an opera written about that…. Another time, my friend from childhood, Peter Mayer, Chairman of Penguin and senior editor, was threatened by an edict arrived at by the same Blind Prophet for the writings of Salman about the Prophet that raised hackels and led to a fatwah. Peter used to have his chauffeur drive us into Manhattan and all of us feared that one day or another a bomb would go off…. I asked a cab driver once what if he knew he was riding with the the publisher of the book what he would do, without blinking he told me that he would kill him. I asked why if you hadn’t read his book. He said it didn’t matter.
    On still another occasion in 93, I was living in a brownstone in Boerum Hill when the 93 bombing took place that O’Neill knew was going to happen, and working with a client in New Jersey, one of the top 100 companies in the world and we learned that the bomber worked in the lab of this giant client company. When they finally attacked the team which was made up of Al Queda’s number two man’s nephew, who was the bomber, they had already escaped to the Philippines to try to destroy planes using bombs hidden in the inside, and it was working. the bombers lived within working distance of my home in Brooklyn it turned out…That’s a simple overview. My family was totally involved in the 9/11 situation with two daughters working close to the WTC as was my wife. And I was working as Vice President for a start up publishing company. and covered what had happened. I was invited at the time by the president of the organization of Engineers and Architects who believed that the buildings had not fallen on their own and I was asked to take on the responsibilities of president but I was already working most of each 24 hours and couldn’t do it but thought about writing a book. I had also followed Bill O’Neills career and saw how Lewis Freeh responded to him as if he were a show boat and kept him out of the investigation of the Cole…. Anyway, I intend to view your movie and thank you for having given some attention. It also turned out that the republican selected by the final committee himself could not understand what had gone on during the hearings a nice way of suggesting that there were many unsatisfied questions to their questions. Thank you for your movie it needed to be told….

  7. William Baltz
    William Baltz · January 7, 2022 at 10:25:13 ·

    I have looked at your remarkable documentary several times. Each time I learn something more and gain additional insight. Fantastic job! I was unaware of the facts you so skillfully present. Thank you for bringing them to light. We all need to know! Honest, thoughtful and hardworking journalists are wrongly labeled by some as purveyors of “fake news” when in fact they are providing a much needed and essential service. This is proof. You did a brilliant job as a journalist, reporter, interviewer, photographer, writer, director, editor–everything. Outstanding, high-quality, first rate…I can’t say enough good things about your achievement. It is my sincere hope that an ever-growing audience sees and learns from your important and enlightening documentary. I will certainly sent it to many others.

    Did (or will) your film show on public television? It should and I hope it does.

  8. Moser Elizabeth
    Moser Elizabeth · December 16, 2021 at 23:08:08 ·

    Hi Barbara,

    The film is brilliant and you did a wonderful job putting it all together. The hubris of the CIA not including the FBI is very sad commentary that goes on today with the Republicans and Democrats. Will we ever learn? What will it take?

  9. David Kettlewell
    David Kettlewell · December 16, 2021 at 13:28:55 ·

    Superb film, enjoyed every minute. Engaging, important.

  10. Lorri Flagg Fay
    Lorri Flagg Fay · December 13, 2021 at 13:12:03 ·

    this documentary was thought provoking and it angered and upset me. I fear that the coverups of government still continue and it makes me sick. Barbara, thank you for your dedication to making all aware of what happened behind the scenes.

  11. Sandra Dawson
    Sandra Dawson · September 14, 2021 at 12:27:50 ·

    Barbara, thank you, this documentary is eye opening, powerfully sad but also hopeful that the truth is out there and there are people who care enough to try to reveal it.

Leave a Reply