In This Review

Agent Storm: My Life Inside al Qaeda and the CIA
Agent Storm: My Life Inside al Qaeda and the CIA
By Morten Storm, Paul Cruickshank, and Tim Lister
Atlantic Monthly Press, 2014, 320 pp

This is an extraordinary story, well told and convincing. It is the autobiography of a delinquent young Danish man, Storm, who gave up on a boxing career and turned to Islam to give his life some meaning. His views became progressively more militant, and he was drawn into jihadist groups, both close to home (in the United Kingdom) and farther afield (in Yemen). His reminiscences convey the cultish and criminal aspects of life on the jihadist fringe. Over time, theological doubts, as well as a growing distaste for indiscriminate violence, led Storm to a rather abrupt disillusion with jihadism. He knew he was on the radar of Danish intelligence and ultimately offered his services as a double agent, a role he performed effectively. His tale illuminates the methods that intelligence agencies (including MI6 and the CIA) use to keep track of terrorists and how terrorists seek to evade them. Storm fell out with British intelligence, which would not get involved in assassinations, and later parted ways with the CIA, which he claims declined to give him the reward he felt was due for his role in the assassination of the militant imam Anwar al-Awlaki, an American citizen who was targeted by a 2011 U.S. drone strike in Yemen.