Museum Hosts Panel Discussion on USS Cole Bombing

The Museum kicked off its winter Witness program with an engaging panel discussion, Attack on the USS Cole: Precursor to 9/11. Moderated by NBC4 anchor Jim Handly, the event featured former NCIS Special Agents Cathy Clements and Robert McFadden. Ms. Clements was also a member of the Major Case Response Team that was first on the scene of the bombing; Mr. McFadden also served as the co-case agent for the NCIS-FBI joint investigation.

The USS Cole was attacked by two suicide bombers in Yemen’s Aden harbor on October 12, 2000. Ms. Clements detailed the difficult and delicate task her team faced as they tried to investigate what happened while ensuring the bodies of the 17 sailors who died were removed from the vessel with dignity and care. She talked about how impressed she was that the surviving sailors carried on with their duties and kept the badly damaged ship afloat while the response teams conducted their investigation.

Mr. McFadden talked about the intricacies of gathering intelligence from suspects who were in Al-Qaeda’s inner circle, and the diplomacy involved in working with a foreign government to obtain their cooperation in the investigation. As a full-house listened, he recounted for the brother of one of the bombing victims the status of the bombing suspects, one of whom remains imprisoned at Guantanamo Bay with no trial date set.

The entire program can be found on the Museum YouTube page by clicking here.

For more information about the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund, please visit For more information about the National Law Enforcement Museum, please visit

Posted in News from the National Law Enforcement Museum


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