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BEST LOCAL GIRL MADE GOOD Minneapolis 2003 - Coleen Rowley

Readers' Choice: Winona Ryder

Admittedly, we are getting a bit sick of her. It seemed highly admirable--audacious even--when Coleen Rowley first surfaced to blow the whistle on her FBI superiors for ignoring warning signs of impending terrorist attacks prior to 9/11. Her impetuous letters to FBI brass and no-nonsense testimony before Congress were a welcome change from the usual bureaucratic decorum. Of the three whistleblowers who were anointed Time's People of the Year in 2002, Rowley certainly seemed the most worthy. (Pointing out accounting shenanigans at WorldCom hardly seems comparable with sparing the nation from future terrorist attacks.) But then in March, Rowley resurfaced--in a well-placed leak to the New York Times--with more righteous indignation. This time around she was warning that the U.S. was ill prepared for terrorist attacks that might result from a war with Iraq. Apparently the FBI brass (and everyone else) had heard enough from Rowley: Instead of being feted in Washington, she was largely ignored. Soon after, supposedly at her own request, Rowley was transferred to a new job.

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