FREEPORT (AP) – An FBI whistleblower who drew national attention after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks recounted her story Friday at a gathering of college and university presidents from throughout Maine.

Coleen Rowley, one of Time magazine’s three Persons of the Year for 2002, spoke to the Maine Higher Education Council about ethics and integrity. She challenged her audience not to tamper with the truth.

“Do not puff, shade, tailor, firm up, stretch, massage or tidy up statements of fact,” she said.

Rowley said her desire to join the FBI dates back to the 1960s when, at age 5, she enjoyed the popular TV show, “The Man From U.N.C.L.E.”

Rowley was the Minneapolis-based agent who sent a memorandum to the FBI director saying agency headquarters ignored her pleas in the weeks prior to Sept. 11 to aggressively investigate Zacarias Moussaoui, later charged as an accomplice.

In later Senate testimony, Rowley charged that the FBI was plagued by “careerism” and bureaucracy.

The Maine Higher Education Council’s invitation to Rowley was prompted by her extraordinary courage in doing what her conscience directed her to do, said its chairman, Charles Lyons of the University of Maine at Augusta.

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