It’s one of my annual goals to stretch my writerly legs and write for a magazine to which I subscribe—a goal fulfilled in several past years by Wired. This year’s entry in that category was somewhat unexpected but humbling.
As part of New York‘s 9/11 Anniversary issue this week, they did an “Encyclopedia of 9/11,” from A to Z, from Abbottabad to Zazi, looking back over the last decade and the changes big and small in the world, in the United States, and in daily life. I was asked to contribute the “Evidence” entry, focusing on how the FBI pulled together the first hours of the PENTTBOM investigation and the critical jumpstart they got from the 1988 Toyota Corolla, California license plate 3JFZ283, owned by Khalid al-Mihdhar and Nawaf al-Hazmi. It was a fascinating piece to research—I got to spend some time with one of the last FBI agents still assigned to the PENTTBOM case, who has worked the case since the first hours a decade ago—but all the more so, this piece was humbling to be part of such an ambitious project. New York does a great job with its magazine in general, but this encyclopedia was really impressive. I recommend reading the whole thing.