FROM Ali Soufan
Lawrence Wright and Ali Soufan on ‘The Looming Tower’ The Hulu series ' The Looming Tower ' traces events leading up to 9/11, with a focus on the FBI’s attempts to track down Al Qaeda terrorists before they could strike on American soil. The story depicts the CIA as repeatedly refusing to to share critical information with the Bureau, frustrating efforts that might have prevented the attack that altered the course of history. Based on the book of the same name by journalist Lawrence Wright, Hulu's 'The Looming Tower' begins just before the 1998 Al Qaeda bombings of the U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania. In the series we see young, Lebanese-born Ali Soufan--played by French-Algerian actor Tahar Rahim--joining the FBI as a special agent around that time. When he joins, he's one of only 8 agents in a force of 10,000 who speaks Arabic. Our guests today are the real Ali Soufan and Lawrence Wright. Wright is one of the co-creators of the Hulu series, along with Alex Gibney and Dan Futterman. Soufan serves as a consultant and producer on 'The Looming Tower.' Wright has seen his books adapted before--Kim Masters was a talking head in Alex Gibney’s Scientology documentary based on his book ‘Going Clear.’ In the case of 'The Looming Tower,' Wright says there was a time when he doubted it could ever be dramatized on a screen large or small. They tell us why they were hesitant to adapt it at first, and what changed recently that made them feel it was time to go ahead. Plus, Soufan talks about the strange experience of watching himself portrayed by French film star Tahar Rahim, and how he got an initially hesitant Rahim to take the role in the first place. And both men offer their perspectives--and a warning--about Saudi Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s recent courting of Hollywood honchos.
Can a defeated ISIS keep its brand alive? In less than three years, the Islamic State extended its so-called Caliphate in Syria and Iraq to cover some eight million people. Now, Kurdish and Arab militias, advised by US Special Forces, are wrapping up the remains of Raqqa. The city is now in ruins, no longer the capital of the Islamic State that drew thousands of militants to the Middle East. But students of ISIS say almost 40 so-called "provinces" still exist in other parts of the world, including Southeast Asia -- and Africa. That may explain the ambush deaths of four American soldiers in Niger, and the Trump Administration wants to weaponize drones to kill ISIS recruiters. In the meantime, almost 6000 fighters have returned to their home countries. Will they help a deadly ideology to survive?
Farewell LA freeways, Peter Shire is back Angelenos don't want more freeways but we seem not to want mass transit either. Metro has killed the 710 freeway extension, and bus and train ridership is down across the region. What's the future of getting around in LA? And, Peter Shire is having a comeback. What attracts a new generation to his playful ceramics and furniture?
How do Trump supporters feel about the Paris Accord? Globally and around the U.S., there are strong opinions whether or not the Paris Climate Accord is a good idea. The American exit is either a horrifying abdication of American leadership or a forceful and long overdue statement about U.S. sovereignty.
Shaking up the USDA, 'The Beef Cookbook' and 'Tartine All Day' Peggy Lowe explains why Trump’s pick for USDA Secretary is rattling rural America. Dario Cecchini talks future plans for Chianti ramen, and Richard Turner shares cuts from “PRIME: The Beef Cookbook.” Writer Matthew Sedacca looks at the controversy behind liquid smoke. Jonathan Gold tries Chengdu-style dishes, and Elisabeth Prueitt of Tartine fills us in on the latest. Plus, chef Michael Beckman shares a recipe for cactus confit.
Accusations of lying fly between James Comey and White House During his testimony Thursday, former FBI Director James Comey accused President Trump and other White House officials of lying when they said the FBI was in disarray and its staff had lost confidence in him. President Trump’s lawyer said Comey was wrong -- that the president never asked for his loyalty, and never asked him to back off the investigation into former NSA director Michael Flynn.