Medill faculty member's ‘The Hunt for KSM’ garners rave reviews, hits bookstores today
March 26, 2012
In their new book “The Hunt for KSM: Inside the Pursuit and Takedown of the Real 9/11 Mastermind, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed,” out today, Medill National Security Journalism Initiative faculty member Josh Meyer and co-author Terry McDermott reveal all of the previously undisclosed details about how Mohammed came to be the real mastermind of the worst terrorist attacks in history, and about the team of U.S. agents who chased him. On March 1, 2003, American and Pakistani intelligence agents finally captured KSM, bringing to a close one of the greatest manhunts ever — one that took place over a decade and across four continents. Meyer is also the McCormick Lecturer in National Security Studies at Medill’s Washington program.
In the book, Meyer and McDermott give the first comprehensive account of the search for KSM and what happened after he was captured, including how his torture prompted false confessions that sent U.S. agents on a wild goose chase across the world. Throughout, Meyer and McDermott draw on unprecedented access to key sources, many of whom have never spoken publicly, as well as jihadis and members of KSM's family and support network.
“We tried to tell the tale of the biggest intelligence failure in American history through the eyes of those on the ground who were involved in it, and it turned out to be a more amazing, and troubling, story than we could have ever imagined,” said Meyer.
Structured as a chase, the book reveals just how heinous and extensive KSM's plots really were, as well as how close U.S. intelligence personnel came to capturing him before and after the tragic day the United States was attacked. McDermott and Meyer skillfully weave together the stories of the villains and their pursuers, creating a rip-roaring read that also shines new light on the significance of the attacks of 9/11 and the consequences of the mistakes that were made during the hunt, capture and imprisonment of KSM.
“This is really the first book to tell the story of how 9/11 happened and why it wasn't prevented, from an on-the-ground perspective of those involved and those chasing them,” Meyer said. “It is also the first to tell KSM's story, and to tie that story to that of his pursuers and weave them both into the broader narrative of 9/11. The book shows the degree to which the attacks depended on individuals, particularly KSM, and how rather than being some super-efficient terror machine, AI Qaeda was a fairly ramshackle operation. When you learn how relatively easily 9/11 could have been stopped, the tragedy of it becomes even greater.”
Meyer teaches graduate-level journalism classes on covering conflicts, terrorism and national security. Prior to Medill, he was a chief terrorism reporter for the Los Angeles Times and reported on international terrorism for over a decade. His "Inside AI Qaeda" series was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize and he has twice been part of teams that have won the Pulitzer Prize.
McDermott is the author of “Perfect Soldiers: The 9/11 Hijackers: Who They Were, Why They Did It” and “101 Theory Drive: The Discovery of Memory.” He worked at eight newspapers for more than 30 years, most recently for 10 years at the Los Angeles Times, where he was a national correspondent.
For more information or to schedule an interview with Meyer, contact Carolyn O'Keefe at Little, Brown and Company: (212) 364-1464. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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