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FBI terrorist expert's body found at WTC

NEW YORK (CNN) -- The body of John P. O'Neill, a former assistant director of the FBI and an expert on terrorism, was recovered Friday from the rubble of the World Trade Center.

O'Neill had recently retired from the FBI and had just taken over security for the World Trade Center, said New York City Police Commissioner Bernard Kerik in an interview with CNN's Larry King Live.

"That Tuesday was his first or second day on the job," Kerik said. "He was going to go into One World Trade, the tower one, and when the strike came he went into the second tower in an attempt to help people get out of the building, and he died there. We found his body today."

O'Neill, 50, was the chief of international terrorism operations for the FBI. He supervised on-site investigations of the bombing by terrorists of the USS Cole in Yemen last year, and the 1998 attacks on the U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania.

A 1996 article published in the Van Impe Intelligence Briefing quoted O'Neill as saying, "No longer is it just the fear of being attacked by international terrorist organizations -- attacks against Americans and American interests overseas. A lot of these groups now have the capability and the support infrastructure in the United States to attack us here if they choose to do so."

In a 1997 speech to a meeting of the National Strategy Forum in Chicago, he called Afghanistan's conflict with Russia "a major watershed event" in terrorism.

Aided by the United States, Afghanistan "beat one of the largest standing armies in the world at that time, which gave them a buoyed sense of success and that they could take on other countries like the U.S. and be likewise successful," he said.

"John was a very good friend ... a great guy, a patriotic American," said New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani. "Our hearts and sympathy and condolences go out to his family."






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