A book has been written by a retired FBI agent who left the agency due to post-traumatic stress disorder linked to her role working during the aftermath of the September 11 terrorist attacks. The book describes her seeing legions of angels guarding the site in Pennsylvania where Flight 93 crashed on the fateful morning. The agent, Lillie Leonardi, was a liaison for law enforcement and families of the passengers and crew members killed in the Flight 93 crash. Leonardi was on the scene of the crash just three hours after it occurred.
The book is titled, “In the Shadow of a Badge: A Spiritual Memoir.” The book is focused on Leonardi’s vision of angels and that her life was changed more by what she did not see that day.
“The biggest thing for me is that that there were no bodies,” she said. “I’m used to crime scenes but this one blew me out of the water. It just looked like the ground had swallowed up the plane.”
“That’s when I started seeing like shimmery lights … and it was kind of misty and that’s when I first saw, like, the angels there,” Leonardi said. “And I didn’t say anything to the guys because you can imagine if I would have said, `I just saw angels on the crash site,’ they’d have called the office and they’d have said, `She lost her mind and tell her to go home.’”
Leonardi kept this information to herself for close to two years and then learned that her emotional and physical problems were actually post-traumatic stress disorder. She then told close friends what she saw in the field those days following the attacks. One of those colleagues was Kenneth McCabe, her former supervisor. McCabe is retired after working as the chief of the FBI’s operational response section. This division was responsible for sending lab teams to find evidence from the sites of the attacks. One year later, McCabe became the special agent in charge of the Pittsburgh Field Office of the FBI, which made him Leonardi’s boss until his retirement in 2004.
“I believe her. I read the whole book,” McCabe said. “I know she believes 100 percent that’s what she saw. I know she’s a sane person so I’m not going to discount what she says she saw.”
McCabe also said that he understands why the site at Flight 93 was different from the other attack sites.
“I was there one day when they brought a busload of family members to overlook the site … and I teared up,” McCabe said. “Just because these people had the thousand-yard stare. They didn’t have any closure. They didn’t have any bodies to look at. They didn’t have anything to look at. At least in New York and Washington, there was the devastation (of the World Trade Center and the Pentagon) but here, except for seeing someone off in the distance, in the woods, looking for things, there was nothing.”