20 Years Later: Former FBI agent looks back at 9/11 and it's impact on the organization

Lou Caprino served as a special agent for 29 years.

Posted: Sep 10, 2021 5:39 PM
Updated: Sep 10, 2021 6:29 PM

VINCENNES, Ind. (WTHI) - Lou Caprino served in the FBI for 29 years. On the morning of 9/11, he learned of the attacks like many Americans.

Caprino explains, "Having worked so much time in New York, ten years as an FBI agent, it was just surreal to me. I couldn't really put it all together."

At the time Caprino was at the Australian embassy. Across the world, he was going to bed for the night when he saw the second plane hit the World Trade Center.

Caprino says, "I was summoned to the US embassy in Australia. We set up a country team consisting of the FBI, the CIA, the defense attache, and others. That's where our work in Australia began."

At the time there was a lot of unknown about what came next.

Caprino says, "Back then there was not a single lede that an FBI agent could take and not respond to. No matter how bizarre it may have sounded."

In many ways, the FBI and its agents changed how they worked.

Caprino explains, "Prior to September 11th the FBI was a predominantly reactionary agency. Now it's a preventive agency. Now all of my students are trained to identify threats. To identify vulnerabilities."

Every day students file into the homeland security building on Vincennes University's campus. Learning lessons from 9/11.

Caprino says, "Many of my students were yet to be born. Others were only infants. So they don't really have an idea of just how impactful that day was."

Caprino says law enforcement across the country is still feeling that impact.

Caprino explains, "Whether they are man-made threats, domestic terror groups, are I believe probably more of a threat today than they were ever before in our history."

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