The Terror Factory: Inside the FBI’s Manufactured War on Terrorism

Trevor Aaronson, Author
Trevor Aaronson. Ig (Consortium, dist.), $24.95 (264p) ISBN 978-1-935439-61-5
Paperback - 280 pages - 978-1-935439-96-7
Ebook - 256 pages - 978-1-935439-67-7
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Building off a story published in Mother Jones in 2011 (itself based on Aaronson’s tenure as an investigative reporting fellow at UC Berkeley), this sobering account presents convincing evidence of the FBI’s role in seeding terrorist plots in order to foil them and claim the honors. Aaronson, the associate director and cofounder of the Florida Center for Investigative Reporting, demonstrates how Hoover’s prodigal brainchild “built the largest network of spies” (many of them serial crooks and ex-cons) “ever to exist in the United States” in an effort to lure hapless outliers into trumped-up sting operations. The author cites a list provided by the U.S. Attorney General’s office enumerating hundreds of people prosecuted as terrorists since the 9/11 attacks; Aaronson alleges that many of these cases are the result of what amounts to wholesale entrapment of individuals recruited with government funds and expertise: “While we have captured a few terrorists since 9/11, we have manufactured many more.” He examines several hazy cases, such as that of Mohamed Osman Mohamud, a young Somali-American party boy arrested in 2010 for conspiracy to detonate a bomb at the lighting of a Christmas tree in Portland, Ore., and weighs the strengths and weaknesses of the charges. Compelling, shocking, and gritty with intrigue. (Jan.)
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