The Hunt for KSM

  • by Terry McDermott, Josh Meyer
  • Narrated by Peter Ganim
  • 11 hrs and 52 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

The definitive account of the decade-long pursuit and capture of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the terrorist mastermind of 9/11.
Only minutes after United 175 plowed into the World Trade Center's South Tower, people in positions of power correctly suspected who was behind the assault: Osama bin Laden and Al Qaeda. But it would be 18 months after September 11 before investigators would capture the actual mastermind of the attacks, the man behind bin Laden himself.
That monster is the man who got his hands dirty while Osama fled; the man who was responsible for setting up Al Qaeda's global networks, who personally identified and trained its terrorists, and who personally flew bomb parts on commercial airlines to test their invisibility. That man withstood waterboarding and years of other intense interrogations, not only denying Osama's whereabouts but making a literal game of the proceedings, after leading his pursuers across the globe and back. That man is Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, and he is still, to this day, the most significant Al Qaeda terrorist in captivity.
In The Hunt for KSM, Terry McDermott and Josh Meyer go deep inside the US government's dogged but flawed pursuit of this elusive and dangerous man. One pair of agents chased him through countless false leads and narrow escapes for five years before 9/11. And now, drawing on a decade of investigative reporting and unprecedented access to hundreds of key sources, many of whom have never spoken publicly - as well as jihadis and members of KSM's family and support network - this is a heart-pounding trip inside the dangerous, classified world of counterterrorism and espionage.

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What the Critics Say

"The Hunt for KSM is an important book, detailing one of most secretive and fractured investigations of our time. Fabulous reporting and great storytelling make it one of the best thrillers I've ever read. That it is all true and such a gripping story just makes the accomplishment of McDermott and Meyer even more astounding. I couldn't put this one down and neither will you." (Michael Connelly)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

FINALLY THE TRUTH

This is a very well written and researched book and well read.

My take away is that the Bush White House, by giving the lead on the investigation to the CIA (an intelligence gathering agency) and keeping the FBI (an investigative service) out of the loop really hurt the whole process.

The whole out-sourced "enhanced interrogation techniques" fiasco was worse than a waste of time.

In the end, maybe by accident, terrorism seems to have calmed down and the most important terrorists are either dead or in custody so I guess all's well that end's well.

Bottom line? Worth reading.
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- DS

Insight Into Murder Networks

Enjoyable and well-researched. The authors interviewed numbers of key players in the U.S. and melded their research into a good, consistent narrative. I was impressed by how fine a job the narrator did handling Arabic names and inflections—kudos to Mr. Ganim. Lots of details on the rivalry and jockeying between CIA and FBI. It's interesting that Khalid Sheikh Mohammed was a low-level U.S. terror-buster target for three years, because he was NOT a member of al-Qaeda (despite what other sources state—Wikipedia, for example). The authors write that he didn't join because he wanted to maintain his independence to act. U.S. intelligence knew he was involved in terror but did not gauge how deeply: like a lot of serial murderers, he was both smart and lucky for a long time. KSM wove his own plots and raised much of his own money. He colluded with Bin Laden intermittently over logistic support, additional funds, and finding individuals with needed talents. Both the CIA and FBI were not aware that KSM organized the 9/11 attacks—not Osama Bin Laden, who was more of a central facilitator. Living for a decade below the radar, KSM formed and managed terrorist networks around the globe, constantly plotting attacks upon the West. (The authors write that KSM was behind Richard Reid, "the shoe bomber," in 2001.) References by lower level terrorists to "the leader" and "the fat man" were not linked to him. It was captured major terrorist Abu Zubaydah, one of Bin Laden's key aides, who revealed that "the leader" and Mohammed were one and the same. When finally taken in Pakistan (where else?) the throat-cutter and decapitator of Daniel Pearl was a whopping 5'6" with a high voice. Spend the money for this one if you are interested in the subject. It's worth it.
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- Jim

Book Details

  • Release Date: 03-26-2012
  • Publisher: Hachette Audio