Ali Soufan, Founder of The Soufan Center




Ali Soufan is the Chief Executive Officer of The Soufan Group and Founder of The Soufan Center. Mr. Soufan is a former FBI Supervisory Special Agent who investigated and supervised highly sensitive and complex international terrorism cases, including the East Africa Embassy Bombings, the attack on the USS Cole, and the events surrounding 9/11. Mr. Soufan also serves as a member of the Homeland Security Advisory Council. He is the author of the newly released “Anatomy of Terror: From the Death of bin Laden to the Rise of the Islamic State” and The New York Times Top 10 Bestseller, “The Black Banners: The Inside Story of 9/11 and the War Against al Qaeda,” winner of the 2012 Ridenhour Book Prize.

He is a leading national security and counterterrorism expert, and continues to play a significant advisory role on today’s most sensitive issues. Mr. Soufan had a distinguished career in the FBI, including serving on the Joint Terrorism Task Force, FBI New York Office,where he coordinated both domestic and international counterterrorism operations. He often operated out of hostile environments and carried out sensitive extra-territorial missions and high-level negotiations, and has received numerous awards and commendations for his counter-terrorism work. These include the Director of the FBI’s Award for Excellence in Investigation, the Respect for Law Enforcement Award for “relentless pursuit of truth and bringing terrorist subjects before the bar of justice,” and a commendation from the U.S. Department of Defense that labeled him “an important weapon in the ongoing war on terrorism.”

Mr. Soufan has testified before the U.S. Congress, Presidential Commissions, the British Parliament’s Home Affairs Committee, and appeared as an expert panelist and as a guest speaker at international security forums, both in the U.S. and abroad. He has been profiled, interviewed and has also contributed to leading shows and publications worldwide, including 60 Minutes, Frontline, The New Yorker, Newsweek, The Washington Post, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Straits Times, Der Spiegel and Asharq Alawsat, along with news programs and specials on the BBC, CNN, MSNBC, and Fox News. Mr. Soufan’s work has also been detailed in several non-fiction books, including “The Looming Tower” by Lawrence Wright, which was adapted into a 10-part Hulu television series “The Looming Tower” in 2018.

Of Mr. Soufan’s book, “Anatomy of Terror” (Published May 2, 2017, by WW Norton), The New York Times wrote: “Soufan writes with immense knowledge and authority … ‘Anatomy of Terror’ not only tells a gripping story but is filled with insights that put today’s terror attacks by the Islamic State and Al Qaeda in perspective with the history and complicated geopolitics of the region.” Mr. Soufan is an Honors graduate from Mansfield University of Pennsylvania where he received undergraduate degrees in International Studies and Political Science. He is a Magna Cum Laude graduate of Villanova University where he received a Master of Arts in International Relations.



How Torture Derailed the War on Terror after 9/11

W. W. Norton & Company 2020

W. W. Norton & Company


From the Death of bin Laden to the Rise of the Islamic State

W. W. Norton & Company 2017



The Inside Story of 9/11 and the War Against Al-Qaeda

W. W. Norton & Company 2011



Rancho Mirage Writers Festival

The Threat of Global Terrorism

February 12, 2019

MiliPol Asia-Pacific Conference

Terrorism Threats and the New Geopolitical Landscapes

April 04, 2019

The Forum on Returning Foreign Fighters

The Looming Tower: Discussion with Lawrence Wright and Ali Soufan

October 31, 2018

9/11 Memorial & Museum

The Looming Tower

March 13, 2018


Combating Terrorism Center at West Point

Profile Piece Titled Iran’s Power Player

November 02, 2018

The Washington Post

Mar-a-Lago is a counterintelligence nightmare

April 10, 2018

The Atlantic

Telling the Truth About CIA Torture

March 15, 2018


World Affairs

The Remains of ISIS

June 11, 2019


White Supremacy And Terrorism

March 17, 2019

VOA News

A Conversation With Ali Soufan

May 04, 2018


Based on the Pulitzer Prize-winning book, The Looming Tower traces the rising threat of Osama Bin Laden and Al-Qaeda in the late 1990s and how the rivalry between the FBI and CIA during that time may have inadvertently set the path for the tragedy of 9/11. The series follows members of the I-49 Squad in New York and Alec Station in Washington, D.C., the counter-terrorism divisions of the FBI and CIA, respectively, as they travel the world fighting for ownership of information while seemingly working toward the same goal – trying to prevent an imminent attack on U.S. soil. The 10-episode limited drama series, The Looming Tower, premieres Wednesday, February 28 only on Hulu.

John O’Neill (Jeff Daniels), the bullheaded chief of the I-49 Squad, is rightly convinced that the U.S. has been targeted for an attack by Al-Qaeda. He and his protégé, Muslim-American FBI agent Ali Soufan (Tahar Rahim), face deliberately insufficient cooperation from other organizations within the federal government. Specifically, their counterparts within the CIA, led by the frequently antagonistic Martin Schmidt (Peter Sarsgaard). Convinced he’s by far the smartest person in the room, Schmidt, along with his Alec Station protégé, Diane Marsh (Wrenn Schmidt), opt to disobey Presidential orders and horde information from the FBI under the misguided notion that the CIA is the only government agency equipped to battle potential terror threats from abroad.