Most Americans have probably heard of retired FBI special agent John O’Neill, who retired from the FBI in August 2001 to become chief of security for the World Trade Center. He had escaped from the North Tower but returned to help others, and was killed when the tower collapsed. (Harvey Keitel played him in The Path to 9/11.) They may not have heard of FBI agent Lenny Hatton, who saw smoke and fire coming from the North Tower of the World Trade Center and rushed to the scene. He reported critical information to the FBI and assisted emergency responders in leading people from the World Trade Center buildings to safety and lost his life when the tower collapsed.
Until I saw this morning’s statement from the FBI Agents Association, I did not know that 16 FBI agents and employees have died since the attacks from illnesses relating to their work at Ground Zero: Dennis Bonelli, Steven A. Carr, William R. Craig, Brian L. Crews, Laurie Fournier, Jerry D. Jobe, Laurie Johnson, Mark C. Johnston, David J. LeValley, Mark J. Mikulski, Melissa S. Morrow, Robert M. Roth, Gerard D. Senatore, Rex A. Stockham, Paul H. Wilson, and Wesley J. Yoo.
According to the New York Police Department, 241 officers have died from cancer and other diseases that stemmed from their work on the site. The Uniformed Firefighters Association of New York now lists 204 FDNY deaths due to 9/11 illnesses over the past 18 years.
That’s at least 461 more good men and women who departed this earth before their time because of al-Qaeda.
Earlier this year, after some angry accusations that Congress was shirking its duties, Congress passed and President Trump signed into law a permanent 9/11 First Responder Victim Compensation Fund, to replace a temporary fund that paid awards to about 22,400 people at a cost of about $5.2 billion.