Terrorism

63 articles
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Isis: The Inside Story

An Islamic State senior commander reveals the terror group’s origins.

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The Jihad Cult: Why Young Germans Are Answering Call to Holy War

More than 500 Germans, including a former rapper named Deso Dogg, have joined ISIS in Syria.

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Still Life

A man, a woman, and a child negotiate their uneasy triangle in the days and weeks following 9/11.

"His briefcase sat beside the table like something yanked out of a landfill. He said there was a shirt coming down out of the sky."

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Last Tango in Kabul

While war raged across Afghanistan, expats lived in a bubble of good times and easy money. But as the U.S. withdraws, life has taken a deadly turn.

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Boko Haram: Sons of Anarchy

In northern Nigeria, radical Islamic terrorist group Boko Haram is facing a vigilante backlash from armed teenagers with nothing to lose.

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The Goldfinch [Excerpt 2]

An act of terror at an art museum.

"When – with difficulty – I made my way into the centre of the space, or what seemed like the centre of the space, I saw that one door was obscured by rags of hanging debris, and I turned and began to work in the other direction. There, the lintel had fallen, dumping a pile of brick almost as tall as I was and leaving a smoky space at the top big enough to drive a car through. Laboriously I began to climb and scramble for it – over and around the chunks of concrete – but I had not got very far when I realised that I was going to have to go the other way. Faint traces of fire licked down the far walls of what had been the exhibition shop, spitting and sparkling in the dim, some of it well below the level where the floor should have been."

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Frontstabbers

After texts and phone calls are hacked and leaked, women across America are murdering each other for insults, slights, and dishonesty.

"Mom was trying to board up the window. She was terrible with hammers, with nails. Our living room was a sea of glass. The window was everywhere and everything was wrong. I wanted to tell someone about this but I couldn’t call Guncha. The phones didn’t even work anymore. That was how America was trying to fight. Just get people to stop interacting. There were curfews in effect. The phones were shut down. They figured if they could keep us from being near each other then maybe we would stop killing each other.

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Carjack Victim Recounts His Harrowing Night

When a 26-year-old Chinese entrepreneur pulled over to answer a text message he was carjacked by Boston bombing suspect Tamerlan Tsarnaev. This is what happened that night and how he escaped.

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Behind Enemy Lines With a Suburban Counterterrorist

How one woman is monitoring the jihadi network from a home office in Montana.

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The Great Taliban Jailbreak

On the escape of hundreds of insurgents from Kandahar’s Sarposa Prison through a tunnel dug from the outside, and an unlikely suspect: the jail’s former warden.

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Firestarter

From prison, a member of the Earth Liberation Front tells her story.

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Paintballing with Hezbollah

A clandestine meeting between Western journalists and Hezbollah fighters in a Beirut strip mall.

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Counter-Terrorism Is Getting Complicated

A profile of the Waffle House terrorists, a group of senior citizens arrested by the Department of Homeland security for plotting a civil war, and the government-hired confidential informant who allegedly led the group astray.

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Guantanamo: An Oral History

On Thanksgiving weekend, I received a phone call informing me that we had just captured approximately 300 al-Qaeda and Taliban. I asked all our assistant secretaries and regional bureaus to canvass literally the world to begin to look at what options we had as to where a detention facility could be established. We began to eliminate places for different reasons. One day, in one of our meetings, we sat there puzzled as places continued to be eliminated. An individual from the Department of Justice effectively blurted out, What about Guantánamo?
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How to Get a Nuclear Bomb

Looking for holes in the world’s nuclear security.

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The Submission

The identity of the designer of a proposed 9/11 memorial competition inflames the emotions and the prejudices of an observer.

"The Rally to Protect Sacred Ground kicked off on a balmy Saturday morning in a plaza opposite the site. The members of both the Memorial Defense Committee and Save America From Islam were there, gathered in a cordoned-off area in front of the stage. Behind them stretched thousands: women holding signs that said NO TOLERANCE FOR THE INTOLERANT or KHAN IS A CON; fathers hoisting small children on their shoulders; men in camouflage who may or may not have been veterans. "

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Why Is This Cargo Container Emitting So Much Radiation?

A shipping container spewing radiation appears mysteriously at an Italian port, prompting a larger look at the anonymous world of international shipping.

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How Ready Are We for Bioterrorism?

The specter of a biological attack is difficult for almost anyone to imagine. It makes of the most mundane object, death: a doorknob, a handshake, a breath can become poison. Like a nuclear bomb, the biological weapon threatens such a spectacle of horror — skin boiling with smallpox pustules, eyes blackened with anthrax lesions, the rotting bodies of bubonic plagues — that it can seem the province of fantasy or nightmare or, worse, political manipulation.
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Salman Rushdie is not afraid

An interview with the author.

"We live in a frightened time and people self-censor all the time and are afraid of going into some subjects because they are worried about violent reactions. That is one of the great damaging aspects of what has happened in the last 20 years. Someone asked me if I was afraid to write my memoirs. I told him: 'We have to stop drawing up accounts of fear! We live in a society in which people are allowed to tell their story, and that is what I do.' I am a writer. I write books."

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Targeting Gaddafi

Why had the U.S. once again targeted Gaddafi? Of all the evils and perils in the world, there is none that galls Reagan more than terrorism. Of all the anti-American thugs who hang out in the back alleys of the Third World, there is none Reagan despises more than Gaddafi.
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The Autistic Hacker

As part of his obsessive search for evidence of UFOs, Gary McKinnon worked his way into thousands of government computers. The U.S. charged him with terrorism. Doctors diagnosed him with Asperger’s. And his lawyers started arguing a new version of the insanity defense.

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The Informants

On the FBI’s program to infiltrate Muslim communities in America.

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Some Real Shock and Awe: Racially Profiled and Cuffed in Detroit

A first-person account of an arrest:

I stared at the yellow walls and listened to a few officers talk about the overtime they were racking up, and I decided that I hated country music. I hated speedboats and shitty beer in coozies and fat bellies and rednecks. I thought about Abu Ghraib and the horror to which those prisoners were exposed. I thought about my dad and his prescience. I was glad he wasn’t alive to know about what was happening to me. I thought about my kids, and what would have happened if they had been there when I got taken away. I contemplated never flying again. I thought about the incredible waste of taxpayer dollars in conducting an operation like this. I wondered what my rights were, if I had any at all. Mostly, I could not believe I was sitting in some jail cell in some cold, undisclosed building surrounded by “the authorities.”
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Twin Towers jumpers that Americans will not talk about

September 11, 2001:

“I felt like I was intruding on a sacrament,” said one firefighter, Maureen McArdle-Schulman. “They were choosing to die and I was watching them and shouldn’t have been, so me and another guy turned away and looked at the wall, and we could still hear them hit.”

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The 9/11 Eulogies

An interview with Rudy Giuliani’s fresh-out-of-college head speechwriter, who wrote the eulogies for every policeman and fireman who died on 9/11, giving him “the dark distinction of probably writing more eulogies than anyone else alive.”

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Still Life

A man, a woman, and a child negotiate their uneasy triangle in the days and weeks following 9/11.

"His briefcase sat beside the table like something yanked out of a landfill. He said there was a shirt coming down out of the sky."

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The Informant

Brandon Darby’s journey from revolutionary activist to FBI informant.

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The Rarely Noticed Casualties of Sept. 11

On the people who were working at Logan Airport when the hijacked flights departed:

They are the rarely noticed casualties of the terrorist attacks: the security guard, the ticket agent, the baggage handler on the ramp. They made it home that night, but with images they couldn’t shake, a pain uncomfortable to voice. They can’t believe it has been 10 years. They can’t believe it has only been 10 years.

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New York 9|11: The Winners

September 11, 2001 was an atrocity – but also, for some, a goldmine.

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The Prisoners of Guantánamo

The life history of an unassuming Sudanese man, Noor Uthman Muhammed, who has spent the last nine years in Guantánamo Bay prison.

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The Saving of Ground Zero

If the memory of the Twin Towers now belongs to the world, the story of how they have been replaced is entirely of New York: a tale of power, capital, shifting allegiances, and hallowed ground.
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Getting bin Laden

The story of the Abbottabad raid, in detail.

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The Bomb That Didn't Go Off

On a failed attack in Spokane and the fragments of homegrown terrorism in the United States.

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America's 'Detainee 001'

John Walker Lindh’s father on why his son is an innocent victim of the War on Terror.

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'Little Gitmo'

The story of an imam convicted on a suspect terrorism charge and the place he was sent: a jail in the Midwest where nearly all of the prisoners are Muslims.

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The Art of the Deal

David Headley helped plot the Mumbai terror attacks. Now his best friend is on trial for conspiring with him. The prosecution’s key witness: David Headley. The story of an informant trying to save his own life from the witness stand.

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Anwar al-Awlaki: The Next Bin Laden

With Osama dead, U.S. intelligence is zeroing in on the remaining most dangerous terrorists alive, and one man is at the top of the list. Of the eighteen terror attacks attempted in the United States over the past two years, Anwar al-Awlaki’s fingerprints are on eight of them. The moderate turned radical is eloquent, he is popular— and he’s American.

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The Man Behind Bin Laden

A profile of Ayman al-Zawahri, the Egyptian doctor who became Bin Laden’s #2 and has now taken over Al-Qaeda.

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A Terrorist's Tale

In June, 1942, a German submarine dropped four young Nazi agents off on a Florida beach. Their mission was to blow up bridges, factories, and Jewish-owned department stores. Among them was Herbert Haupt, the 22-year-old son of a German-American family in Chicago.

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A Pilgrimage of Sin: Booze, Bombs, and Hookers in Islamic Thailand

A travelogue through the contradiction-rich and predominantly Muslim Southern Thailand.

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Palling Around with Terrorists

Schaeffer Cox, who is accused of plotting to kill State Troopers and a federal judge, shifted rapidly from a Ron Paul campaign worker and Tea Party activist to a hardcore militia leader. His conspiracy revealed, mainstream Alaskan politicians are scrambling to distance themselves from their ties to Cox.

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Anthrax Redux: Did the Feds Nab the Wrong Guy?

Investigating the investigation of the 2001 anthrax attacks.

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Opium Wars

Stuck between the Taliban and the U.S. Military, Afghanistan’s farmers risk their lives both when they grow, and when they refuse to grow, fields of poppies.

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The Liberation of Lori Berenson

After nearly 15 years in a Peruvian prison, an American woman convicted of aiding a Marxist terrorist group finds parole in Lima full of contradictions.

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The School

First-person accounts from the 2004 siege of a Russian school in Beslan by Chechen terrorists.

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Jihadists in Paradise

A ragtag band of pirate-Jihadists grab Americans from a diving resort in the Phillipines and lead them on an odyssey through the jungles of an archipelago with the competing interests of the Phillipines’ Navy and Army, the U.S. Military, and the C.I.A. thwarting their rescue.

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"We'll Never Eliminate Risk"

A interview with John Pistole, head of the TSA.

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The Trafficker

The amiable international arms dealer and the sting.

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Last Stand in Kandahar

The apparatus of counterinsurgency and occupation has funneled billions of dollars into Afghanistan, and much of it has ended up in the hands of insurgents. For those who have profited—be it through aid, extortion, corruption or legitimate business—there is very little incentive to bring the conflict to an end.

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The Man Behind Mumbai

An investigation into Lashkar-i-Taiba, the group behind the 2008 Mumbai massacre, and why Pakistani authorities has not arrested their leaders.

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The Real Heroes Are Dead

The epic life story of Rick Rescorla: immigrant, war hero, husband, and head of security at Morgan Stanley/Dean Witter, occupant of 22 floors in the South Tower.

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The Interrogation of Detainee 063

A classified Guantánamo Bay interrogation log reveals the techniques used on Mohammed al-Qahtani, the so-called 20th 9/11 hijacker.

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Jukeboxes on the Moon

Slumdog Millionaire, the 2008 Mumbai attacks, and the arrival of "New India" in the American imagination.
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The World’s ‘Best’ Car Bombers?

An interview with an ex-CIA agent who is a world expert on the history of car bombing.

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Rules for Drone Wars

A conversation with NYU Law Professor Philip Alston on the legality of ‘targeted killings’ by drones, which have made headlines in Pakistan, but also have been deployed by the C.I.A. in countries like Yemen.

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Lost in the Jihad

How the case against John Walker Lindh collapsed.

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Jihad 2.0

In the wake of 9/11, terrorist networks moved their recruitment and training efforts online, giving birth to Jihad-geeks like Irhabi_007.

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The Falling Man

In the days after 9/11, a photo of an unknown man falling from the South Tower appeared in publications across the globe. This is the story of that photograph, and of the search to find the man pictured in it.

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The Demon in the Freezer

How smallpox went from eradicated disease to the ideal weapon of bioterrorists.