Books

Grove Press
Atlantic Monthly Press
Atlantic Monthly Press

Agent Storm

My Life Inside al Qaeda and the CIA

by Morten Storm

“Highly credible . . . Both a rollicking read and a rare insider’s account of Western spying in the age of al Qaeda . . . A valuable window on both sides in a lethal underground war.” —New York Times Book Review

  • Imprint Grove Paperback
  • Page Count 432
  • Publication Date June 15, 2015
  • ISBN-13 978-0-8021-2429-6
  • Dimensions 5.5" x 8.25"
  • US List Price $17.00
  • Imprint Atlantic Monthly Press
  • Publication Date September 02, 2014
  • ISBN-13 978-0-8021-9236-3
  • US List Price $17.00

About The Book

Morten Storm was an unlikely jihadi. A six-foot-one red-haired Dane, Storm spent his teens throwing punches with a biker gang and getting thrown in jail. But after reading a book about the Prophet Mohammed, Storm converted to Islam and embarked on a decade-long transformation that would lead him from a militant madrasah in Yemen to close friendship with Anwar al-Awlaki, the American-born terrorist cleric—and then to becoming a double agent for the CIA and British and Danish intelligence.

This is the searing memoir of a young man who sought purpose in a community of believers, and of a jihadi who named his son Osama after 9/11, who not only repudiated extremism but, in a quest for atonement, lived in extreme danger undercover for five years, traveling the world to complete numerous high-profile missions. He single-handedly thwarted attacks in the West, led the CIA to some of the world’s most dangerous terrorists, all the while knowing his own life might be expendable. Agent Storm takes readers inside the jihadist world like never before, showing the daily life of idealistic men set on mass murder, from dodging drones with al Qaeda leaders in the Arabian Desert to training in extremist gyms in Britain to carrying out supply drops in Kenya. The book also provides a tantalizing look at the world’s most powerful spy agencies: their tradecraft, rivalries, and late-night carousing, as well as their ruthless use of a beautiful blonde in an ambitious honey trap. Agent Storm is a captivating, exhilarating, and utterly unique real-life espionage tale.

Praise

“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.” —Scott Shane, 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.” —Washington Post

“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

“Fascinating. . . . Accounts of ‘My Time in al-Qaida’ are numerous enough for them to constitute a sub-genre, but there are no others in which the main protagonist has played such an extensive role for western security services, and, more crucially, is prepared to reveal so much. . . . A credible narrative that illuminates both violent Islamic extremism and the intelligence community’s efforts to fight it.” —Guardian

“[A] gripping story.” —Daily Mail

“[An] authoritative account. . . . The book reads like a first-rate spy thriller, but it is in fact a stunning and true inside account of the workings, personalities and mindsets of the leaders and operatives of al Qaeda.” —Washington Times

“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.” —Stephen Grey, Guardian (“Top Ten Books About Spies”)

“An extraordinary story, well told and convincing.” —Lawrence D. Freedman, Foreign Affairs

“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.” —Leah Carroll, Maxim

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. The journey of Morten Storm provides valuable insights into high-stakes intelligence operations, as well as the social issues surrounding radicalization and extremism. . . . A first-rate account. . . . Today, when so many young Western Muslims are flocking to Syria and Iraq to join the ranks of genocidal insurgents such as the al Nusra Front and the Islamic State, this book’s insights could not be more important.” —Ioannis Mantzikos, War on the Rocks

“[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.” —Jackson Holahan, Christian Science Monitor

“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.” —Telegraph

“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.” —Toronto Star

“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

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 landscapes—the 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

“Gripping.” —Publishers Weekly

“[Storm’s] allegations have proved explosive.” —Independent

“Storm’s memoir is manna from heaven for counterterrorism experts.” —Sunday Times

“[A] timely autobiographical account.” —New Statesman

Awards

A National Bestseller
One of the Guardian‘s Top Ten Books About Spies

Excerpt

I sat in my grey Hyundai peering into the liquid darkness, exhausted and apprehensive. Exhausted because my day had started before dawn in Sana’a, Yemen’s capital, some 300 miles to the north. Apprehensive because I had no idea who was coming to meet me or when they would arrive. Would they greet me as a comrade or seize me as a traitor?

The desert night had an intensity I had never seen in Europe. There were no lights on the road that led from the coast into the mountains of Shabwa province. At times there hadn’t been much of a road either. I had only been able to drive into this no-man’s land, where al Qaeda’s presence was growing as the government’s authority waned, because my young Yemeni wife, Fadia, was beside me.

In my quest to reconnect with Anwar al-Awlaki, an American-Yemeni cleric who had become one of al Qaeda’s most influential and charismatic figures, I knew I was risking my life. There was the risk of an ambush, a shoot-out at a checkpoint or just a lethal misunderstanding.

There was also the danger that Awlaki might no longer trust me. My trip had been at his request. In an email he had saved in the draft folder of an anonymous email account we shared, he had told me: “Come to Yemen. I need to see you.”

After a few minutes I heard the muffled growl of a distant engine, then headlights and the approach of a Toyota Landcruiser packed with serious young men brandishing AK-47s. The escort party had arrived. I grasped my wife’s hand. If things were about to go very wrong, we would know in the next few moments.