cover image Disruption: Inside the Largest Counterterrorism Investigation in History

Disruption: Inside the Largest Counterterrorism Investigation in History

Aki J. Peritz. Potomac, $36.95 (400p) ISBN 978-1-64012-380-9

National security analyst Peritz (Find, Fix, Finish) delivers a hair-raising look at a terrorist plot foiled by British and U.S. intelligence agencies in 2006. He tracks the plot’s mastermind, Rashid Rauf, from Birmingham, England, where he grew up in “a strict religious home” in the 1990s, to Pakistan, where he fled after becoming a suspect in his uncle’s murder, and joined a Kashmiri jihadist network with links to al-Qaeda. In July 2005, operatives trained by Rauf launched two “coordinated suicide attack[s]” on London’s transportation system, one of which was unsuccessful. Seeking to “shake the infidels to their core,” Rauf plotted to bring down seven passenger planes with small, liquid hydrogen peroxide–based bombs that could be disguised as bottles of soda. British intelligence services already had members of his terrorist cell under surveillance, however, and observed them buying large quantities of hydrogen peroxide and other bomb-making materials. Many of the conspirators were eventually convicted in British courts, but Rauf escaped from Pakistani custody and was likely killed in a CIA drone strike or Pakistani air strike, though his death has never been officially confirmed. Peritz gets deep into the weeds of the various terrorist cells involved, but paints a detailed portrait of a tragedy narrowly averted. Readers will gain new appreciation for what it takes to stop the next terrorist attack. (Dec.)