Saturday, August 23, 2014

Will ISIS Attack in the United States? It Certainly Will Try. We've Been Reporting the Jihadist Threat for 20 Years

I have been writing about the potential and active jihadist threat to the United States for more than two decades. Two novels gaming out the possibilities and one important non-fiction book about the NYPD counterterror operations are available on Kindle and in other digital formats. I think many readers will find "Innocent Blood," published way back in 1997, particularly informative and disturbing.





"A vivid and thought-provoking book."
-The Economist

"Revealing and nerve-rattling."
-The New York Times

"Securing the City deftly, colorfully and persuasively highlights how large national bureaucracies can learn from nimble and fleet-footed local start-ups."
-The Washington Post

"Readers will be scared by the near misses and anxious about the future, but can't help but also be inspired by this well-researched story of just why and how plot after plot against the city has been foiled."
-The Rocky Mountain News
The United States needs a new counterterrorism strategy — one that is vigilant, creative, sustainable and aligned with the country's constitutional values. Securing the City is not only a fascinating inside portrait of the New York Police Department's response to the terror threat after 9/11, it is also an important contribution to public policy. The federal government has much to learn from the leadership culture and street work of the N.Y.P.D., as Christopher Dickey's penetrating reporting makes clear.
-Steve Coll, author of Ghost Wars

A well-reported examination of cutting-edge police work.
-Kirkus Reviews

Dickey offers a rich inside account of the most extensive anti-terrorism effort in any American city. A long-time expert on extremism and the Middle East, Dickey offers amazing detail as well as a broad history of the threats to U.S. national security. There are many important lessons to be learned in Securing the City.
- Robin Wright, author Dreams and Shadows: The Future of the Middle East

If you're concerned about a terrorist threat to America, you need to read this eye-opening and extraordinary book. Dickey reveals the little-known existence of the New York Police Department's Counterterror Force, the first line of defense against another 9/11. This book should be read by the FBI, the CIA, and by every cop in America. An essential addition to the literature on global terrorism.
-Nelson DeMille, best-selling author of Plum Island and Wild Fire

A fascinating, and frightening, look into the world of antiterrorism. Securing the Citykept me riveted.
-Kathy Reichs, forensic scientist and creator of the "Bones" television series

In the increasingly crowded field of 'war on terror' books, Dickey's measured meditation on a secured city and its vigilant police force stands out as one of the best.
-Publisher's Weekly

Christopher Dickey has written a work of meticulous reporting that reads like a John Le Carre novel, illuminating the shadowy world of terrorists, and that of the New York City cops who hunt them down. A terrifying, and yet reassuring, read.
-Michael Korda, author of Ike and With Wings Like Eagles

Amazon link to Securing the City




"In America you don't feel what you do. You are in the eye of a hurricane that you create. Pain and suffering and injustice all over the world, and all you see is blue skies."--From Innocent Blood

When Innocent Blood came out in 1997, it may have been too prescient: the story of an American-born mujahedin who brings apocalyptic terror back home to the U.S.A. The sequel, The Sleeper, was published by Simon and Schuster in September 2004.
Audio from NPR: "Talk of the Nation" looks at Innocent Blood and terrorism threats to come -- in August 1997. 
"Vividly authentic. . . .Mr. Dickey's first novel moves like lightning through a sophisticated plot and lands with a direct hit in the gut."
--The Dallas Morning News

"Dickey writes about war with authority."
--Los Angeles Times

"A narrative that asks what it means to be an American, alone and rootless, at the end of this, the American Century."
-- The New York Times Book Review

"Powerful, lethal, downright breathtaking in its range, Innocent Blood is the best novel I can imagine about America right now--and about the cost of forgetting how we got here."
-- Joan Didion

Amazon.com asks authors to write what they think of their own work. This was published on the Web in 1997:

From the Author: Forebodings 

This book scares the hell out of me, and I wrote it. Innocent Blood was always meant to be a warning about the very real dangers, very close at hand, that threaten America. But each day as I see more of its predictions coming true, I grow more concerned. I started work on Innocent Blood in early 1994 after doing months of intense investigative work on the World Trade Center bombing. There would be more terrorism in America, I thought. It would come to the heartland. And because so much counter-terrorist thinking was based on racist stereotypes, a blond, blue-eyed "all-American" killer would be almost invisible to the system. So I set the beginning of the novel in Kansas, in a town not far from the Oklahoma border, and I created a profile of a young man trained to kill by the U.S. Army -- a Ranger, a Gulf War veteran -- who feels a void in himself that he cannot admit. Then he comes to believe an act of terror can help him fill it. I had written half the book in April 1995 when I got a call from Newsweek's New York headquarters telling me the Federal Building in Oklahoma City had been blown up. I didn't change the story to adapt to events. I didn't need to. If Timothy McVeigh and Kurt Kurtovic have a lot in common, it's not a strange coincidence. There are so many people like them in the world, individuals with terrible intent answerable only to their own ideas of God and justice. Terrorism was once the work of organizations, most of which had links to governments and intelligence services that could be held accountable, at least indirectly. Today it's anybody's game, nothing is ruled out, and awesome killing powercomes easily to hand. Devastating explosions can be concocted from fertilizer; crude biological and chemical weapons may be conjured almost as easily as making home-brewed beer. The greatest danger to our peace and security is not the would-be hi-tech terrorist intent on fabricating a nuclear device. It's the man or woman with just enough skills to get the job done. McVeigh. Kurtovic. The only long-term defense we have, I believe, is to try to understand the minds behind the terror.




The New York Times calls The Sleeper a "first-rate thriller."

From the review: "The Sleeper begins on Sept. 11, 2001, when Kurt Kurtovic, a former Army Ranger and former Al Qaeda recruit who has abandoned both allegiances, is living placidly in Kansas. He is called in by the C.I.A. to thwart some new terror attacks, at an extremely high, eye-opening price. Where so many novels cloak their fears in humor or fantasy, the guise of the thriller similarly allowsThe Sleeper to be dismissed as mere entertainment. Almost. Mr. Dickey, a Newsweek correspondent who has reported widely on terrorism, has the facts to make this novel chilling as well as engrossing." -- Sept. 23, 2004
Audio: Hour-long interview with with Terri Gross on NPR's "Fresh Air" aboutThe Sleeper and the Middle East, Sept. 15, 2004 
"If I were American, I'd give a lot of thought to the nature of awe. Because in the end, you know, that's all that protects you." -- from The Sleeper
Kurt Kurtovic wanted nothing more than to be left in peace, to make a life with his wife and child in Westfield, Kansas. Then September 11 happened and Kurt knew they'd never be safe again unless he did what only he could do, take terror to the terrorists. He knew their world, knew how they worked, knew their weak points. He knew, because he'd been one of them.

But as Kurt wages his bloody campaign, hunting down his former Al Qaeda comrades in Britain, Spain, and Africa, he becomes the hunted. And so do his wife and child back home. The most dangerous agents of terror, he discovers, are in the United States: those who don't want the wars to end; those who believe "we have waited thousands of years for Judgment Day, never knowing when it would come. But now we can put it on the calendar. We can fix a date." As a man-made apocalypse approaches, Kurt realizes that some of America's most ruthless enemies walk its corridors of power every day.

In the tradition of Graham Greene and John Le Carré, this hard-driving narrative of vengeance and redemption by one of America's most prescient writers on espionage and terror is a riveting thriller about the horrors of the recent past - and the dangers of the near future.

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