Coleen Rowley

Coleen Rowley (born December 20, 1954) is an American former FBI special agent and whistleblower, and was a Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party (DFL) candidate for Congress in Minnesota's 2nd congressional district, one of eight congressional districts in Minnesota in 2006. She lost the general election to Republican incumbent John Kline.[2]

Coleen Rowley
Coleen rowley 1786
at Georgetown University, 2014
BornDecember 20, 1954 (age 64)
ResidenceApple Valley, Minnesota
OccupationPolitical activist, retired FBI special agent
Years active2006–present
Political partyMinnesota Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party
Spouse(s)Ross Rowley

Early life and education

Rowley grew up in New Hampton, Iowa and graduated valedictorian of her high school class in 1973. Her father was a letter carrier for 31 years. She received her B.A. degree in French and with honors from Wartburg College in Waverly, Iowa in 1977. In 1980, she received her J.D. degree from the University of Iowa College of Law and passed the Iowa Bar Exam that summer.[3]



In January 1981, Rowley became a Special Agent with the FBI and was assigned to the Omaha, Nebraska and Jackson, Mississippi divisions. Beginning in 1984, she spent six years working in the New York City field office on investigations involving Italian organized crime and Sicilian heroin. During this time she served three temporary assignments in the U.S. embassy in Paris and the consulate in Montreal. In 1990, she was transferred to the FBI's Minneapolis field office, where she became Chief Division Counsel. There she taught constitutional law to FBI agents and police officers, and oversaw the Freedom of Information, Asset Forfeiture Program, Victim-Witness and community outreach programs.[3]

After the September 11, 2001 attacks, Rowley wrote a paper for FBI Director Robert Mueller documenting how FBI HQ personnel in Washington, D.C., had mishandled and failed to take action on information provided by the Minneapolis, Minnesota Field Office regarding its investigation of suspected terrorist Zacarias Moussaoui. Moussaoui had been suspected of being involved in preparations for a suicide-hijacking similar to the December 1994 "Eiffel Tower" hijacking of Air France 8969. Failures identified by Rowley may have left the U.S. vulnerable to the September 11, 2001, attacks. Rowley was one of many agents frustrated by the events that led up to the attacks, writing:

During the early aftermath of September 11th, when I happened to be recounting the pre–September 11th events concerning the Moussaoui investigation to other FBI personnel in other divisions or in FBIHQ, almost everyone's first question was "Why?—Why would an FBI agent(s) deliberately sabotage a case? (I know I shouldn't be flippant about this, but jokes were actually made that the key FBI HQ personnel had to be spies or moles like Robert Hanssen who were actually working for Osama Bin Laden to have so undercut Minneapolis's effort.) [4][5][6]

In May 2002 Rowley testified to the Senate and the 9/11 Commission about the FBI's pre-9/11 lapses due to its internal organization and mishandling of information related to the attacks.[3] Mueller and Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA) pushed for and achieved a major reorganization, focused on creation of the new Office of Intelligence at the FBI.[7] This reorganization was supported with a significant expansion of FBI personnel with counterterrorism and language skills.

In February 2003, Rowley wrote a second open letter to Mueller, in which she warned her superiors that the bureau would not "be able to stem the flood of terrorism that will likely head our way in the wake of an attack on Iraq".[8] In April 2003, Rowley stepped down from her legal position to return to being a FBI Special Agent. At the end of 2004 she retired from the FBI after serving for 24 years.[3]

Honors and awards

Rowley jointly held the TIME "Person of the Year" award in 2002 with two other women credited as whistleblowers: Sherron Watkins from Enron and Cynthia Cooper of WorldCom.[9] She also received the 2002 Sam Adams Award.[10]


Coleen Rowley 17 Sep 2006
Coleen Rowley at her rally in Rosemount, Minnesota on September 17, 2006
John Murtha at Coleen Rowley rally 17 Sept 2006
US Rep. John Murtha (D-PA) endorsing Rowley at a rally in Rosemount, Minnesota on September 17, 2006
Coleen Rowley rally protesters 17 Sept 2006
Protestors at her rally in Rosemount, Minnesota on September 17, 2006

In May 2005, Rowley announced that she was considering running against incumbent Representative John Kline for Minnesota's 2nd District seat in the United States House of Representatives in 2006. At the time of her announcement, she had been living in Apple Valley, Minnesota for 15 years. Rowley had formerly voted and identified as a Republican, but on June 27, 2005, she announced that she was entering the race as a DFLer, and on July 6 officially kicked off her campaign at her home.[11]

On August 18, 2005, Rowley attended a vigil in Crawford, Texas, outside President George W. Bush's ranch requesting that the president meet with Cindy Sheehan to answer Sheehan's questions about the War in Iraq and the death of Sheehan's son, Casey.[11]

On January 3, 2006, an unauthorized professionally retouched image appeared on Rowley's campaign website. This image depicted Kline, a retired Marine Corps colonel, as Colonel Klink from Hogan's Heroes. Kline objected to the photo, and the Rowley campaign removed the image the same day and initiated an investigation. Rowley apologized quickly.[12]

Representative John Murtha (D-PA) endorsed Rowley. He visited the district during the campaign and held a rally for Rowley at the local VFW in Rosemount, while veterans protested outside. The Rowley campaign subsequently focused efforts on veterans' groups and others with direct experience of the war in Iraq. Financing her campaign proved difficult. Opposing an incumbent conservative such as Kline in a conservative district did not attract money from the most robust Democratic resources, such as the DNC.[13]

Kline's campaign achieved a 2–1 advantage in raising funds,[14] and he easily retained his seat.[15]

Civil liberties and peace activism

Since 2003 Rowley has spoken publicly on ethics and ethical decision-making to various groups.[16] She is a writer and blogger. She joined other whistleblowers on the June 2015 speaking tour "Stand Up for Truth" which went through London, Oslo, Stockholm and Berlin.[17] She returned to lecture at her alma mater three times, in 2003,[18] 2004[16] and 2015.


Rowley is married and has four children. During her time in the FBI she was "the sole breadwinner of a family of six".[5]


Rowley authored a chapter in Patriotism, Democracy, and Common Sense: Restoring America's Promise at Home and Abroad. edited by Alan Cutis and Kevin Phillip (Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, 2005, 496 pages, ISBN 0742542173).

She has been a regular contributor at the Huffington Post since January 2006[19] and written for The Guardian.[20]

See also


  1. ^ Villareal, Timothy (January 3, 2014). "Q & A with Coleen Rowley, F.B.I. Whistleblower: Part One". Tikkun Daily Blog. Retrieved 21 January 2019.
  2. ^ "Results from Congressional District 02". Minnesota Secretary of State. Retrieved 2006-12-27.
  3. ^ a b c d Max Lerner Coleen Rowley Civil liberties in times of war. PBS Now, 3 April 2005
  4. ^ Kevin Johnson Letter shifts heat to FBI USA Today, 28 May 2002
  5. ^ a b Coleen Rowley Memo to FBI Director Robert Mueller. An edited version of the agent's 13-page letter American Patriot Friends Network, May 21, 2002
  6. ^ "The Bombshell Memo: Were Warnings Ignored?". Time. May 26, 2002. Archived from the original on January 6, 2010. Retrieved April 30, 2010.
  7. ^ Neil A. Lewis F.B.I. Chief Admits 9/11 Might Have Been Detectable The New York Times, 30 May 2002. "...reassigning 400 of the bureau's 11,500 field agents from narcotics investigations to counterterrorism. Another 59 agents would be reassigned to counterterrorism from white-collar crime investigations and an additional 59 from the violent crimes unit."
  8. ^ "Full Text of F.B.I. Agent's Letter to Director Mueller". The New York Times. 2003-03-05. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2018-03-21.
  9. ^ Amanda Ripley and Maggie Sieger Coleen Rowley: The Special Agent TIME Magazine, 30 December 2002
  10. ^ Shaun Walker Edward Snowden: first photo appears since Russian asylum granted The Guardian, 10 October 2013
  11. ^ a b Mark Zdechlik Kline, Rowley provide clear choice on Iraq Minnesota Public Radio, 26 July 2006
  12. ^ Gordon, Greg (2006-01-30). "Rowley issues apology to Rep. John Kline over his depiction on website". Star Tribune.
  13. ^ Melo, Frederick (2006-12-19). "What's a Rowley lawn sign go for?". St. Paul Pioneer Press. Retrieved 2006-12-28.
  14. ^ Meggen, Lindsay (2006-11-03). "Kline leads Rowley in fundraising, 2-1". St. Paul Pioneer Press. Retrieved 2007-02-22.
  15. ^ Ebling, Garrett (2006-11-08). "Kline wins easily over foe Rowley". Faribault Daily News.
  16. ^ a b University of Iowa News Service Rowley To Discuss Patriot Act, Ethics At UI Lectures University of Iowa, 9 February 2004
  17. ^ Coleen Rawley Standing Up in the Spirit of America's First Whistleblower Benjamin Franklin! The Huffington Post, 13 June 2015
  18. ^ University of Iowa News Service FBI Whistleblower And UI Law Graduate Colleen Rowley To Speak At UI University of Iowa News Release, 1 December 2003
  19. ^ Coleen Rowley The Huffington Post. undated, retrieved 29 September 2015
  20. ^ Coleen Rowley The Guardian. undated, retrieved 29 September 2015

External links

2006 United States House of Representatives elections in Minnesota

The 2006 congressional elections in Minnesota were held on November 7, 2006 to determine who would represent the state of Minnesota in the United States House of Representatives.

Minnesota had eight seats in the House, apportioned according to the 2000 United States Census. Representatives are elected for two-year terms; those elected served in the 110th Congress from January 3, 2007 until January 3, 2009. The election coincided with the Senate election and the gubernatorial election. is a libertarian website which describes itself as devoted to "non-interventionism" and as opposing imperialism and war. It is a project of the Randolph Bourne Institute. The website states that it is "fighting the next information war: we are dedicated to the proposition that war hawks and our leaders are not going to be allowed to get away with it unopposed and unchallenged."

John Kline (politician)

John Paul Kline, Jr. (born September 6, 1947) is an American politician who served as a member of the United States House of Representatives from Minnesota's 2nd congressional district from 2003 to 2017. The district includes most of the southern suburbs of the Twin Cities, including Apple Valley, Inver Grove Heights, Burnsville, Eagan, Lakeville, Northfield, Shakopee, Prior Lake, and New Prague. A member of the Republican Party, Kline served as the Chairman of the House Committee on Education and the Workforce. Kline announced that he would retire from Congress at the end of his term in January, 2017.

Kill the Messenger (2006 film)

Kill The Messenger (French: Une Femme à Abattre) is a 2006 French documentary film about Sibel Edmonds. An English version was produced in 2007 by SBS Australia.

The documentary focuses on both Ms. Edmonds's personal struggle to expose the criminality that she uncovered while at the FBI, and also the Sept. 11, 2001 tied 'secret' itself - the network of nuclear black-market, narcotics and illegal arms trafficking activities. Interviewees include David Rose, Philip Giraldi, Daniel Ellsberg, Coleen Rowley and Russell Tice.

List of Jill Stein 2016 presidential campaign endorsements

This is a list of notable individuals and organizations who have voiced their endorsement of the Green Party's presidential nominee Jill Stein for the 2016 presidential election.

Midwest Values PAC

Midwest Values PAC (MVP) is a political action committee, or PAC, that was founded by political satirist, best selling author, radio host, and US Senator Al Franken in the fall of 2005.

Franken has successfully used his national reputation to draw in donations from thousands of individuals, including a number of celebrities such as Barbra Streisand, Nora Ephron, Tom Hanks, Larry David and Jimmy Smits. After less than one year of operation, MVP raised nearly $1,000,000.

MVP’s stated goal is "to provide financial and organizational support to progressive candidates, activists, and causes," and is centered on the values Franken learned growing up in Minnesota.

Through MVP Franken has contributed to national Democratic Party organizations, Minnesota U.S. Senate candidate Amy Klobuchar, and U.S. House candidates Coleen Rowley, Tim Walz, and Patty Wetterling.

In 2008, Franken, a Democrat, ran for the US Senate seat then held by Republican Norm Coleman. Coleman was elected to the seat in 2002 after Democrat Paul Wellstone died in a plane crash on October 25 of that year. Franken has said that Wellstone was one of his political heroes, and Franken has frequently criticized Coleman. After a long legal battle, the Minnesota Supreme Court ruled on June 30, 2009 that in fact, Franken had won the election and stated that he deserved for the Governor and Secretary of State to issue a Certificate of Election.

MVP’s short-term goal was to elect what it terms progressive Democrats, with a particular emphasis on retaking one or both of the houses of Congress in the 2006 mid-term election.

New Hampton, Iowa

New Hampton is a city in Chickasaw County, Iowa. It is also the county seat of that county.The population was 3,571 at the 2010 census.

New Hampton High School

New Hampton High School is located in New Hampton, Iowa and is part of the New Hampton Community School District. The school's mascot is the Chickasaw. Their athletics conference is the Northeast Iowa Conference.

The school is located on Main Street on the west edge of New Hampton.

Phoenix Memo

The Phoenix memo is a letter sent to FBI headquarters on July 10, 2001 by FBI special agent Kenneth Williams recommending the assembling of a worldwide listing of civil aviation schools. Williams, then stationed in Phoenix, Arizona, was at the time investigating students at some of these schools for possible terrorist links.

Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board

The Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board (PCLOB) is an independent agency within the executive branch of the United States government, established by Congress in 2004 to advise the President and other senior executive branch officials to ensure that concerns with respect to privacy and civil liberties in the United States are appropriately considered in the development and implementation of all laws, regulations, and executive branch policies related to terrorism.

Robert Wright Jr.

Robert G. Wright Jr. is an FBI agent who has criticized the FBI's counterterrorist activities in the 1990s, when he worked in the Chicago division on terrorists with links to the Middle East, especially on the issue of money laundering. Specifically, he worked on project Vulgar Betrayal, which allegedly implicated Yasin al-Qadi. He wrote a detailed book which the FBI prevented him from publishing with threats of criminal prosecution. He complained that "FBI management intentionally and repeatedly thwarted and obstructed my attempts to launch a more comprehensive investigation to identify and neutralize terrorists."Three months before 9/11 he wrote the following:

"Knowing what I know, I can confidently say that until the investigative responsibilities for terrorism are removed from the FBI, I will not feel safe. The FBI has proven for the past decade it cannot identify and prevent acts of terrorism against the United States and it's [sic] citizens at home and abroad. Even worse, there is virtually no effort on the part of the FBI's international terrorism unit to neutralize known and suspected terrorists residing within the United States."

After his revelations circa 2002–2003 he was demoted.On May 6, 2009, Judge Gladys Kessler issued a ruling allowing Wright to publish his manuscript. Wright is focused on fighting the system of prepublication review and censorship of government employee writings.Other FBI agents who supported Wright's allegations were John Vincent and Barry Carmody.

Sam Adams Award

The Sam Adams Award is given annually to an intelligence professional who has taken a stand for integrity and ethics. The Award is given by the Sam Adams Associates for Integrity in Intelligence, a group of retired CIA officers. It is named after Samuel A. Adams, a CIA whistleblower during the Vietnam War, and takes the physical form of a "corner-brightener candlestick".Ray McGovern established the Sam Adams Associates "to reward intelligence officials who demonstrated a commitment to truth and integrity, no matter the consequences."The 2012, 2013 and 2014 Awards were presented at the Oxford Union.

Scott Horton (radio host)

Scott Horton is the author of the book Fool's Errand: Time to End the War in Afghanistan, managing director of the Libertarian Institute, host of Antiwar Radio for Pacifica Radio's KPFK 90.7 FM in Los Angeles and KUCR in Riverside, California, and the foreign policy interview podcast, The Scott Horton Show. Horton conducts interviews with journalists, politicians, pundits, lawyers and experts on foreign policy and war-time law. Horton has recorded more than 4,700 interviews since 2003.

Horton is also the editorial director of the libertarian, non-interventionist website Horton was previously the host of Say It Ain't So on Free Radio Austin 97.1 FM, and the Weekend Interview Show and the KAOS Report on Radio KAOS 95.9 FM, for which he won The Austin Chronicle's Best of Austin award in 2007 for "Best Iraq War Coverage" and co-host of the KOOP Evening News. He is the founder and former owner of

Sharon Marko

Sharon Marko (born March 1953) is a former candidate for the U.S. House of Representatives from the Second District of Minnesota. She ran for the DFL party nomination, opposite Coleen Rowley, but announced the end of her campaign after less than two months, saying she had entered the race too late and that her current duties in the Minnesota Senate didn't leave her enough time to campaign.

Marko's exit left Rowley no significant competitors for the 2nd district DFL candidacy. Rowley won the candidacy, but lost the general election to two-term incumbent Republican congressman John Kline.

Marko entered the race on February 1, 2006, seven months later than her DFL rival, Rowley. Commenting on Rowley, Marko said "I've just noticed the occasional lack of professional ability." [1] She announced her withdrawal from the campaign on March 29.

Marko is a veteran local and state lawmaker. She spent three years on the Clearwater city council, eight years in the Minnesota House, and the past four years in the Minnesota Senate. She has held senior leadership positions in the Minnesota legislature.

Marko is married and has two children. She holds a BA from Indiana University. She lives in Surprise, Arizona where she serves as mayor under her married name of Wolcott. [2] [3]

Sherron Watkins

Sherron Watkins (born August 28, 1959) is an American former Vice President of Corporate Development at the Enron Corporation. Watkins was called to testify before committees of the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate at the beginning of 2002, primarily about her warnings to Enron's then-CEO Kenneth Lay about accounting irregularities in the financial statements.In August 2001, Watkins alerted then-Enron CEO Kenneth Lay of accounting irregularities in financial reports. However, Watkins has been criticized for not reporting the fraud to government authorities and not speaking up publicly sooner about her concerns, as her memo did not reach the public until five months after it was written. Ms. Watkins was represented by Houston attorney Philip H. Hilder.

Watkins was selected as one of three "Persons of the Year 2002" by Time. (The two other whistleblowers who joined her as "People of the Year" were Cynthia Cooper of WorldCom and Coleen Rowley of the FBI.)

Thad McIntosh Guyer

Thad McIntosh Guyer (born January 29, 1950) is an American civil rights lawyer with an international practice based in the State of Oregon.

Time Person of the Year

Person of the Year (called Man of the Year or Woman of the Year until 1999) is an annual issue of the United States news magazine Time that features and profiles a person, a group, an idea, or an object that "for better or for worse... has done the most to influence the events of the year".

Laureates of the Sam Adams Award

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