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Crush the Cell: How to Defeat Terrorism without Terrorizing Ourselvesby Michael A. Sheehan
Synopses & Reviews
Written by a man who is arguably the country’s most authoritative voice on counterterrorism, Crush the Cell demolishes, with simple logic, the edifice of false “terror punditry” that has been laid, brick by brick, since 9/11. A veteran of special ops, international diplomacy, and bruising clashes with federal law enforcement agencies, Michael Sheehan delivers in this book a two-part message: First, that we’ve wasted–and are continuing to waste–billions of dollars on the wrong protective measures, and second, that knowing the bad guys’ next move is paramount.
Somewhere in America, Sheehan maintains, are a number of terrorist cells, their members’ heads filled with schemes of mayhem and destruction. Motivated not, as some believe, by feelings of disenfranchisement, disdain for freedom, or economic envy but by a compelling ideological hatred, these individuals plot not just terror but paralyzing terror–the kind that can shut down a country.
Unwittingly aiding and abetting them are many (but not all) “terror experts” and members of the media who, for reasons that are partly self- serving, rate the bad guys’ capabilities far higher than they are, playing into terrorists’ hands with their hype. Spurred by the pundits’ inflated assessments, legislation follows that drains billions from taxpayers’ pockets and pours money into a bloated Washington bureaucracy championing needless programs.
Here, Sheehan shows why defensive fortresses don’t work, but offensive operational intelligence does. He also peels back the mystery surrounding terrorist cells, portraying them as, typically, a group of bumblers searching for a charismatic leader who has what it takes to conduct a complex symphony of violence. Sharing time in the narrative spotlight are not just agents of al Qaeda, but also frighteningly destructive lone wolves, cults, and radical movements.
In his career, Sheehan has operated in the mountain jungles of Central America, the back alleys of Mogadishu, and the teeming streets of New York City–but he has also participated at the highest levels of policy making at the White House, the State Department, and the United Nations. It’s his time protecting America’s most populous city as its counterterrorism czar, however, that yields this book’s most fascinating insights. As Sheehan reveals thwarted threats to New York’s bridges, subways, and landmarks, and recounts extraordinary simulations staged to gauge terrorists’ true abilities, we gain perhaps the clearest picture yet of what modern terror-fighting is all about.
Written by a man who is arguably the country's most
One of America's leading terrorism experts offers a realistic study of what the country needs to do to protect itself against terrorist activities, revealing why many of the current tactics are largely a waste, identifying the real perils threatening our safety, and calling for a new approach that emphasizes the identification and destruction of terrorist cells. 75,000 first printing.
About the Author
MICHAEL A. SHEEHAN has held the following positions: New York City Deputy Commissioner for Counterterrorism; Assistant Secretary General in the Department of Peacekeeping Operations at the United Nations; Ambassador at Large for Counterterrorism at the State Department; National Security Council staff officer at the White House; and commander of a counterterrorism hostage rescue unit in the U.S. Army Special Forces. A graduate of West Point as well as U.S. Army Airborne, Ranger, and Special Forces schools, Sheehan was deployed in such hot spots as El Salvador, Panama, Korea, and Somalia before retiring from the military as a lieutenant colonel.
Table of Contents
Terrorism unplugged — The terrorist threat: reality vs. hype — Al Qaeda: killers and bunglers — Know your enemies — Al Qaeda's ideology: why they kill — Iran and Kezbollah: bloody but restrained terrorists — Lone wolves, cults, and radical movements — Inside counterterrorism: from green beret to NYPD Blue — The U.S. Army Special Forces: shooters and advisors — Door kickers, diplomats and swamp drainers — Foreign intelligence operations: spying around — Domestic intelligence: the spy game at home — CBRN: real danger or overhyped threat? — The Department of Homeland Security: searching for a mission — Defending the big apple — Crush the cell — Sheehan's career timeline — Terrorisms top ten — Key terrorist events — Glossary of acronyms.
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