- Hardcover: 320 pages
- Publisher: Atlantic Monthly Press; Hardcover edition (August 19, 2014)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0802123147
- ISBN-13: 978-0802123145
- Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.5 x 9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 300 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #429,761 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Agent Storm: My Life Inside al Qaeda and the CIA Hardcover – WAV, August 19, 2014
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One of the Guardian’s Top Ten Books About Spies
Highly credible. . . . Both a rollicking read and a rare insider’s account of Western spying in the age of al Qaeda, where the risk if exposed is not Cold War-style expulsion but gruesome execution. . . . A valuable window on both sides in a lethal underground war.”
New York Times Book Review
This book reads like a screenplay for a James Bond movie written by Joel and Ethan Coen. . . . Anyone interested in the saga of terrorist fanatics will find Agent Storm compelling.”
Morten Storm has done the Western world a great service. . . . And by the way, the CIA owes him 5 million dollars.”
Brian Kilmeade, Fox News
An extraordinary story, well told and convincing.”
[A] gripping firsthand account . . . . Storm’s work provides valuable and fascinating insight into the quiet battle being waged between clandestine national agencies and various terrorist organizations.”
Christian Science Monitor
Agent Storm feels like a James Bond story or one of John Le Carre’s marvelous spy-thrillers. Yet, the story written by CNN’s Paul Cruickshank and Tim Lister is a true account. . . . First-rate.”
War on the Rocks
Morten Storm’s account of his nerve-wracking life spying on Al Qaeda for Western intelligence gives us the most detailed, compelling, and human look at modern espionage in the lethal world of jihadist terrorism that we are likely to get. This ground-level view of the shadowy struggle between these two clandestine groups is truly gripping.”
Mark Stout, former CIA officer and Director, MA in Global Security Studies, Johns Hopkins University
Picture Homeland’s Nicholas Brody getting jacked during his time as a POW and you’ll get an idea of Morten Storm, the 6’1”, red-haired Dane who went from unlikely jihadi to double agent. . . . Storm’s tale of dodging drones and navigating alliances may read like a great espionage thriller (complete with a blonde honey trap), but his deeply personal struggle with extremism and atonement is the real story.”
Agent Storm is the remarkable memoir of a Danish convert-turned-extremist who managed not only to infiltrate al Qaeda’s ranks but would later become one of West’s most valued human intelligence assets in the war on terrorism. As a true spy-story, this book brings you incredibly close to what it actually takes to be an extremist and get into a terrorist group while balancing loyalty and treachery in the world of intelligence. Essential reading for everyone interested in how the war on terrorism is actually fought in the shadows.”
Dr. Magnus Ranstorp, a leading expert on international terrorism and Research Director of the Centre for Asymmetric Threat Studies at the Swedish National Defence College
Agent Storm opens a unique window onto bleak interlocking landscapesthe radicalization of European Muslims that has now been energized by the Syrian civil war, the leadership and organization of global jihad, and the twilight struggle waged by western intelligence agencies against an elusive and implacable enemy.”
Steven Simon, bestselling co-author of The Age of Sacred Terror and The Next Attack
In Agent Storm, Morten Storm, Paul Cruickshank, and Tim Lister tell an astonishing and unknown tale of the exploits, change of allegiances, double crosses and inner workings of both al Qaeda terrorist groups and the Western intelligence agencies charged with stopping them. Storm's unlikely path puts him at the center of much of the al Qaeda activity and affiliated plots in Western Europe as well as in Somalia and Yemen since 9/11. Grounded in the necessary broader geopolitical context, Agent Storm is hard to put down.”
Mitch Silber, former Director of Intelligence Analysis at the NYPD and author of The Al Qaeda Factor
Probably the best account of a modern-day secret agent. Morten Storm, a convert to Islam, vividly recounts his work for the CIA and British intelligence, against extremists in Europe and al-Qaeda in the Yemen.”
Guardian (Top Ten Books About Spies”)
Remarkable. . . . Morten Storm is the living embodiment of the theory that it is the bad boys at school who make the best spies. . . . Agent Storm is an astonishing expose not only of the world of jihadi, but also the workings of those who secretly protect us.”
Storm has been involved in many of the most critical terrorism cases since the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. This means if the revelations in his newly released memoir, Agent Storm, are true, he is not only this decade’s most intriguing informant: he could also be the most important.”
"[A] gripping story."
Daily Mail (UK)
Storm’s memoir is manna from heaven for counterterrorism experts.”
Sunday Times (UK)
[Storm’s] allegations have proved explosive.”
About the Author
Paul Cruickshank is CNN's Terrorism Analyst, and the editor of Al Qaeda, a five-volume collection of key scholarly works on the terrorist network.
Tim Lister is has worked for CNN and the BBC and has extensive experience of the Middle East.
Top customer reviews
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According to the book, Mr. Storm left his dangerous life after unfriendly break-ups in his relationships with all three sets of agencies (4 if you count two for the Brits, MI 5 and MI6) and has gone public with details of his betrayal of some of the most dangerous men on the planet, including Anwer al Alwaki, whom he claims to have set up for the drone strike that killed him. With no protection, how is he still alive? In fact, one might flip that question and ask: given what he has written about various of the jihadi, and the claims he makes about what he did, how is he still alive regardless of whether his claims are true or not? That leads to its own avenues of speculation. Another major question the book raises for me is to the tremendous amount of operational detail exposed as to how Western intel does manage to foil plots and find targets to kill. If all accurate, was this all already known to jihadi leadership, and if not, has Storm compromised future Western operations? Something presumably a passionate enemy of jihad would not want to do. So does that mean lots is intentional misinformation (meaning he still works for someone), or is most of it made up, or is he completely amoral and who knows where he stands now, if anywhere? Other questions arise with respect to his family. Storm purports to have two children he loves dearly, being raised Muslim by his first (Muslim) wife. Again, question as to their safety after publication of this book. And what belief system they are being raised in, presumably Muslim - but Storm says has rejected Islam altogether. What does this mean as to his children? And his second wife who was with him believing he was a committed jihadi, although not necessarily an operational one. He uses a psuedonym for her,he says to protect her. Well, she is Yemeni, they lived in Yemen where he moved in jihadi circles. How exactly is she protected? Certainly not merely by a pseudonym. And is she relieved he isn't really a jihadi? Or furious at the deception and has left him? These family questions are not addressed.
Summary: totally fascinating book, whether completely true or not. Worth reading whether totally true or not. Raises lots of questions that remain unanswered.
If Agent Storm were a novel, you wouldn’t believe a word of it. It’s not. The co-authors wrote the book based on weeks of interviews and months of documentary research to confirm what they learned. In an author’s note that prefaces the text, they write that “What makes Morten Storm’s story unique is the extraordinary amount of audiovisual evidence and electronic communications he collected during his time as a spy, which both corroborate his story and enrich his account.”
Much later, in Storm’s acknowledgment at the conclusion of the book, we learn that co-author Paul Cruickshank, a British journalist, “is now CNN’s terrorism analyst and the editor of a recent five-volume collection of scholarship on al-Qaeda.” Like Cruickshank, co-author Tim Lister had “reported on al-Qaeda terrorism and international security for many years.” And the book includes snapshots of much of the documentation that Storm so carefully collected over the years, which help to confirm the context surrounding the clandestine recordings of his conversations with his Western handlers.
So much for any doubts about the credibility of this astonishing tale.
Written as a first-person account, Agent Storm relates the experiences over a decade of a young Danish man who describes himself as, early in life, a “biker, boozer, and boxer.” Raised in a violent, alcohol-fueled home and a veteran of criminal gangs in adolescence, Morten Storm turned to Islam at the age of twenty-one and made his way with the fierce and sudden conviction of a convert into radical jihadist circles. Gradually drifting into the heart of al-Qaeda in Yemen in the late 1990s, Storm was seen as a valuable asset by the terrorist network and eventually given an audience with Anwar al-Awlaki. Awlaki was the radical American Muslim cleric who rose to head what became the most powerful arm of al-Qaeda following the death of Osama bin Laden many years later; he was widely considered to be the successor to Ayman al-Zawahari, the man who took over following bin Laden’s death. Eventually, Storm became a close and trusted aide to Awlaki. The cleric even entrusted him with the job of recruiting his third wife, a blonde Westerner, as well as funneling money and supplies to him and his followers (as directed by Western intelligence agencies). Awlaki, you may recall, was the first American to be targeted and killed by a US drone strike — and the authors make a very good case for demonstrating that Morten Storm provided the crucial link that led to the cleric’s assassination.
This account of Storm’s evolving beliefs over the years, and his 180-degree turn into becoming a spy for Danish intelligence, MI5 and MI6, and the CIA, is an intensely suspenseful tale that stacks up to any novel of espionage as a cliffhanger. It is also a carefully measured condemnation of Danish intelligence and the CIA, and to a lesser extent of the twin British agencies — measured, because Storm is critical of no one more than himself. The details about distrust and conflict among the various agencies are worth the price of the book in their own right. (Hint: they thought little was wrong with undermining one another’s operations — and these were all allies.)
If you’re looking for insight into the minds and mores of radical Islamists and a true account of how Western powers practice the craft of intelligence, Agent Storm is an eye-opening introduction.
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