The 10th anniversary of 9/11 is next month. And one big reason there hasn't been another major attack on the U.S. since then is a series of preventive measures taken by the FBI, according to New York Times best-selling author Ronald Kessler, who reveals some of them in his latest book, "The Secrets of the FBI."
Kessler spoke with FBI director Robert Mullen who, "Early Show" co-anchor Chris Wragge noted, doesn't give many interviews. He spoke with Kessler on the record.
On "The Early Show," Kessler said Mullen attributes the lack of any major attack since 9/11 to a major shift in direction at the bureau.
"(They've changed into a) prevention agency, rather than one that emphasizes prosecution and putting people in jail," Kessler said. "Of course, the CIA also has been very important. What he says, even though al Qaeda has been degraded, what keeps him up at night is still the possibility of a WMD (weapon of mass destruction) attack or attack on airplanes, because it really doesn't take a whole lot to pull off one of these attacks."
Kessler learned about a group known as Tactical Operations, or TacOps. Kessler explained the group is top-secret and staffed with seven teams comprised of 10 agents each.
"(They are), essentially, court-sanctioned burglars, as they describe themselves," Kessler said. "They break into homes, offices, even embassies, to plant bugging devices and snoop into computers. Could be terrorists, could be Mafia figures, and all secret, of course. They will check out the premises for weeks. They'll find out if there are any dogs. If there are, they'll have a veterinarian prescribe the right amount of tranquilizer based on a photograph; they'll shoot the dog with a dart gun with a tranquilizer and put him out. And then at the end, they'll wake him up. They will actually create false fronts to homes or offices, and then, behind those false fronts, in the middle of the night, they will pick the locks."
Wragge said, "That's how they were able to bring down John Gotti, too, using some of those false fronts, correct?"
Kessler said, "In that case, they installed electrical outlets that actually were bugging devices. The FBI actually showed me a real bug. It's the size of a postage stamp, and when this particular agent, who's executive assistant director of the FBI and used to be on TacOps ... was beginning to tell me some of these secrets, I actually thought to myself, 'Am I going to be arrested? Or is he going to be arrested?' Actually, the ... public affairs person sitting in, interjected and said, 'Is this something that we can be telling him?' So, really, unprecedented that these secrets would come out."