Posted by Wordsmith on 24 October, 2017 at 11:33 am. 1 comment.


An alleged terrorist plotting to kill a train full of people is unknowingly driving with an undercover FBI agent. Suddenly, two disembodied voices can be heard near the dashboard. Agents in a nearby surveillance car who are supposed to be listening in on the suspect are instead unwittingly broadcasting their conversation to him.

It’s the kind of technical glitch that can leave an FBI agent dead.

The nightmare story is one of many that the agent, Tamer Elnoury, tells in “American Radical: Inside the World of an Undercover Muslim FBI Agent,” arriving Monday from Dutton. The author’s name is fake, the same alias he used when helping lead the roughly year-long investigation into an al-Qaeda plot to derail a Canadian passenger train by destroying a railway bridge between New York and Toronto.

Mr. Elnoury, 44, who moved from Egypt to New Jersey when he was 4, retired the FBI alias but remains an active counter-terrorism operative for the bureau. The author said publishing the book risks blowing his cover, but he wrote it to honor fellow FBI agents and, as a proud Muslim, to expose what he called the “sometimes vast and sometimes subtle” divide between radical and mainstream Islam.

“I’ve spent my entire adult life living under a rock, dodging social media, but I had to take that chance,” he said in a phone interview. He agreed to talk on the condition that any recording of the call be destroyed later. Mr. Elnoury appeared in a “60 Minutes” interview on Sunday with facial prosthetics and an altered voice. The book omits key details like the last names of fellow agents.

Such publications can be fraught, potentially divulging classified information or sparking infighting. Former Navy SEAL Matt ​Bissonnette, writing under the pen name Mark Owen with journalist Kevin Maurer, agreed last year to pay the government $6.8 million in proceeds from his book on the mission that killed Osama bin Laden, “No Easy Day,” after authorities said he failed to clear his manuscript with the Department of Defense.​A spokeswoman for the publisher, Dutton, declined to comment on the settlement. Another former​Navy SEAL, Robert O’Neill, who identified himself as bin Laden’s killer in his 2017 book “The Operator,” faced criticism including claims that the book contradicted other accounts of the bin Laden raid and violated the SEAL code ​of secrecy. ​A spokesman for the book’s publisher, Scribner, said the manuscript was vetted and approved by the Pentagon.

Read more at WSJ

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