Ex-FBI Official Claims to have Seen Angels at Flight 93 Crash Site on 9/11

From Joe Kovacs at WND:

A former police officer and FBI official who retired due to Post Traumatic Stress Disorder claims she saw angels when she first responded to the Pennsylvania crash of hijacked Flight 93 during the terror attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

…”The angels started appearing on the perimeter of the crash site,” Lillie Leonardi said in an interview with Pittsburgh television station WTAE.

“They were dressed as if they were in warrior garb like a Roman centurion, and there were so many of them, you couldn’t see their faces.”

Leonardi has just published a book about her account, titled, “In the Shadow of a Badge: A Spiritual Memoir.”

In a video on her own website, she gives more details of what she saw at the crash site, explaining, “All of a sudden, I kept seeing this flicker of light. You saw all these angels manifest. One in particular, in front, that I knew, it was Michael. He knew I was there to do something. I just didn’t know what it was at that moment. He’s the conduit to God as far as I’m concerned. I’m then the conduit for other people to listen to what has to be said. And then it’s their choice to decide what to do.”

Kovacs is here writing a straight journalistic piece, so he doesn’t include any commentary expressing his own views. However, it should be noted that Kovacs’ position at WND is heavily identified with his writings as a Bible expositor, and so we can infer an implicit endorsement. Here’s his WND author by-line:

Joe Kovacs, author of the brand-new book, “The Divine Secret: The Awesome and Untold Truth About Your Phenomenal Destiny”, as well as the No. 1 best-seller“Shocked by the Bible: The Most Astonishing Facts You’ve Never Been Told,” is executive news editor for WND.

Kovacs’ books claim to bring to light aspects of Bible teaching that are often overlooked (such as information on “eating and drinking in the eternal kingdom of God” and “special abilities you can have in the kingdom of God”), although the way the book has been spun as the revelation of Biblical “secrets” has upset some of the conservative Christians who have left comments on WND.

It looks that Kovacs has been drawn to Leonardi’s story because the idea of a dramatic supernatural manifestation confirming spiritual reality and the cosmic significance of an American tragedy is just too good to pass up. Thus he’s not put off by her unorthodox claim that the Archangel Michael is “the conduit to God”, and he leaves out a detail included in an AP article from yesterday, that although Leonardi was raised a Catholic she “now practices what she calls ‘spiritualism.'”

But he’s far from being alone in succumbing: Google News results for the past 24 hours bring up hundreds of news-sites using the AP article. The flurry of interest is doubtless related to US Independence Day; Leonardi’s book was in fact self-published last autumn. The book description on Amazon includes an endorsement from a colleague:

 “An outstanding and inspirational story that will provide its’ readers with hope, and renew their faith in God and mankind… through this book the WORLD will benefit from her caring, loving personality. I personally encourage all who believe, and even those that have their doubts, to read Lillie’s story. I could not put the book down until I had read it in its entirety.” – Kenneth T. McCabe Special Agent in Charge – Federal Bureau of Investigation (Retired) Commissioner – Pennsylvania Gaming Commission Board (Retired)

Leonardi’s vision fits a pattern of idiosyncratic fantastical experience; according to her blog:

My affinity for the Archangels and most especially of Michael did not only begin with my religious upbringing. It began when the Archangel started visiting me as a child. Although I was not exactly sure who he was when he manifested, it was definitely love at first sight. In those early years, he was simply known to me as the “blue man.” A name I bestowed upon him because of his lovely cobalt blue aura. In time, Michael revealed himself to me when finally I asked him his name. 

The notion of Leonardi’s story playing any sort of role in national reflection on 9/11 seems to me to be a rather unencouraging prospect.

Although Leonardi “retired due to Post Traumatic Stress Disorder”, she remained at the FBI for several years following 9/11. In 2009 the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review mentioned that she was on a “leave of absence at her request” during an investigation which involved her.