Shortly after she became a Special Agent with the FBI, Rowley was assigned to the Omaha, Nebraska and Jackson, Mississippi Divisions. Beginning in 1984, she spent six years working in the New York Office on investigations involving organized crime. She also served in the U.S. embassy in Paris, and the consulate in Montreal. In 1990, she was assigned to the FBI's Minneapolis office where she became the chief legal adviser to the office.
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. This individual 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 testified in front of the Senate and for the 9/11 Commission about the FBI's internal organization and mishandling of information related to the September 11, 2001 attacks. Director Mueller and Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA) pushed hard and got a major reorganization, focused on creation of the new Office of Intelligence at the FBI. This reorganization was supported with a significant expansion of FBI personnel with counter terrorism and language skills.
Rowley retired from the FBI in 2004 after 24 years with the agency.
On August 18, 2005 she attended a vigil in Crawford, TX outside President George W. Bush's ranch requesting that the president meet with Cindy Sheehan to answer Sheehan's questions regarding the War in Iraq and the death of Sheehan's son.
On January 3, 2006, a professionally retouched image appeared without authorization on the Rowley campaign website. This image depicted Kline as Colonel Klink from Hogan's Heroes. Representative Kline objected to the photo. The campaign removed the image the same day and initiated an investigation. Rowley apologized quickly. The Kline campaign also accused a Rowley supporter, David Bailey, of attempting to make a cash contribution to Kline’s campaign. A cash contribution is not legal and Kline subsequently asserted that this constituted an effort to undermine his campaign apparatus.
Representative John Murtha (D-PA) endorsed Rowley. He visited the district during the campaign and held a rally for Rowley at the local VFW, while veterans protested against them outside. The Rowley campaign subsequently focused efforts on veterans' groups and others with experience that relates directly to the war in Iraq. Obtaining financing for her campaign proved difficult. Opposing an incumbent conservative such as Kline in a conservative district did not attract money from the most robust of Democratic resources such as the DNC.
Kline's campaign achieved a 2-1 advantage in raising funds and he retained his seat.
Interview: Coleen Rowley discusses the letter she sent to the FBI director about how poorly prepared the FBI is to deal with any future terror attacks
Mar 06, 2003; 00-00-0000 Interview: Coleen Rowley discusses the letter she sent to the FBI director about how poorly prepared the FBI is to...
Interview: Senator Patrick Leahy discusses Coleen Rowley's letter warning the FBI it is unprepared for terror in case of war
Mar 06, 2003; 00-00-0000 Interview: Senator Patrick Leahy discusses Coleen Rowley's letter warning the FBI it is unprepared for terror in case...
Interview: Coleen Rowley discusses her career at the FBI, changes at the FBI, the intelligence community and the new national intelligence director
Feb 17, 2005; FRANK STASIO Talk of the Nation (NPR) 02-17-2005 Interview: Coleen Rowley discusses her career at the FBI, changes at the FBI,...