Synopses & Reviews
A groundbreaking work of investigative journalism, The Terror Factory: Inside the FBI's Manufactured War on Terrorism
exposes how the FBI has, under the guise of engaging in counterterrorism since 9/11, built a network of more than 15,000 informants whose primary purpose is to infiltrate Muslim communities to create and facilitate phony terrorist plots so that the Bureau can then claim it is winning the war on terror.
An outgrowth of Trevor Aaronson's work as an investigative reporting fellow at the University of California, Berkeley, which culminated in an award-winning cover story in Mother Jones magazine, The Terror Factory reveals shocking information about the criminals, con men, and liars the FBI uses as paid informants — including the story of an accused murderer who has become one of the Bureau's most prolific terrorism snitches — as well as documenting the extreme methods the FBI uses to ensnare Muslims in terrorist plots, which are in reality conceived and financed by the FBI.
The book also offers unprecedented detail into how the FBI has transformed from a reactive law enforcement agency to a proactive counterterrorism organization that traps hapless individuals in manufactured terrorist plots in order to justify the $3 billion it spends every year fighting terrorism.
"Building off a story published in Mother Jones in 2011 (itself based on Aaronson's tenure as an investigative reporting fellow at UC Berkeley), this sobering account presents convincing evidence of the FBI's role in seeding terrorist plots in order to foil them and claim the honors. Aaronson, the associate director and cofounder of the Florida Center for Investigative Reporting, demonstrates how Hoover's prodigal brainchild 'built the largest network of spies' (many of them serial crooks and ex-cons) 'ever to exist in the United States' in an effort to lure hapless outliers into trumped-up sting operations. The author cites a list provided by the U.S. Attorney General's office enumerating hundreds of people prosecuted as terrorists since the 9/11 attacks; Aaronson alleges that many of these cases are the result of what amounts to wholesale entrapment of individuals recruited with government funds and expertise: 'While we have captured a few terrorists since 9/11, we have manufactured many more.' He examines several hazy cases, such as that of Mohamed Osman Mohamud, a young Somali-American party boy arrested in 2010 for conspiracy to detonate a bomb at the lighting of a Christmas tree in Portland, Ore., and weighs the strengths and weaknesses of the charges. Compelling, shocking, and gritty with intrigue." Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
A real eye-opener that questions how well the country's security is being protected.” Kirkus Reviews
This is investigative reporting at its best. For the first time, a documented investigation into the domestic terrorism program is available to the general public. And the story this dogged reporter tells has been garnering growing attention. Is it possible that we have in fact created the very threat we fear? Are we in danger of destroying the fabric of our freedom in our panic to preserve it? Read Aaronson's ground breaking report and make up your own mind.” Lowell Bergman, Pulitzer Prize-winning Professor of Investigative Reporting
A disturbing window into America's war on terror. In story after story, Aaronson reveals in detail how the FBI and its informants are creating crime rather than solving it. This is an important piece of journalism.” Alexandra Natapoff, author, Snitching: Criminal Informants and the Erosion of American Justice
The Terror Factory is a damning exposé of how the government's front line against terrorism has become a network of snitches at the end of their ropes, and FBI agents desperate to thwart a terrorist plot even if it means creating one.” Will Potter, author, Green is the New Red: An Insider's Account of a Social Movement Under Siege
"Aaronson explains just how misguided and often deceptive FBI terrorism sting operations have become. In case after case, he demonstrates how the money being spent is more about producing theater than about federal agents arresting suspected terrorists.” James J. Wedick, former FBI Supervisory Agent
Is the FBI investigating domestic terror plots — or instigating them?
About the Author
Trevor Aaronson is associate director and co-founder of the Florida Center for Investigative Reporting, a nonprofit journalism organization that produces reporting about Florida and Latin America in English and Spanish. Previously, he was an investigative reporter and editor for The Memphis Commercial Appeal, and a staff writer for Village Voice Media's newspapers in Miami and Fort Lauderdale. He was also an Investigative Reporting Fellow at the University of California, Berkeley, where he developed a yearlong project about the FBI's use of informants in U.S. Muslim communities.