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Potomac Books
Thinking Like a Terrorist: Insights of a Former FBI Undercover Agent

Thinking Like a Terrorist: Insights of a Former FBI Undercover Agent

by Mike GermanMike German


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As America’s global war on terrorism continues, statistics concerning terrorist attacks show a disturbing trend: from a twenty-one-year high in 2003, attacks tripled in 2004 and then doubled in 2005. And as the incidence of terrorist attacks increased, so has the number of terrorists. While the primary leaders of the Taliban, al Qaeda, and al Qaeda in Iraq remain at large, a 2006 Department of Defense study reportedly identified thirty new al Qaeda–affiliated terrorist groups that have been created since September 11, 2001.
We may not have metrics that measure our success in the war on terrorism, but these realities certainly illuminate our failures. In Thinking Like a Terrorist, former FBI counterterrorism agent Mike German contends that the overarching problem is a fundamental failure to understand the terrorists—namely, what they want and how they intend to get it. When our counterterrorism policies are driven by misunderstanding and misperception, we shouldn’t be surprised at the results.

​Today’s terrorists have a real plan—a blueprint that has brought them victory in the past—that they are executing to perfection; moreover, their plan is published and available to anyone who bothers to read it. Once the terrorists’ plan is understood, we can develop and implement more effective counterterrorism strategies. A former undercover agent who infiltrated neo-Nazi terrorist groups in the United States, German explains the terrorist’s point of view and discusses ways to counter the terrorism threat. Based on his unusual experience in the field, Thinking Like a Terrorist provides unique insights into why terrorism is such a persistent and difficult problem and why the U.S. approach to counterterrorism isn’t working.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781597970266
Publisher: Potomac Books
Publication date: 01/31/2008
Edition description: New Edition
Pages: 252
Sales rank: 736,497
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.80(d)

About the Author

Mike German left the FBI after blowing the whistle on the agency’s mishandling of a terrorism investigation. A former undercover agent and counterterrorism instructor at the FBI National Academy, he is currently a senior fellow at He lives in the Middle Atlantic region.

Table of Contents

Preface     vii
Prologue: An Unusual Education in Terrorism     1
The Trouble With Terrorism
The Difficult Definition     29
Getting Beyond Good and Evil     37
Compounding Confusion     55
Mind-set and Methods
Understanding Political Violence     75
Grading the Government     83
Methods and Motives     95
Case Study #1: A Successful Terror Campaign     111
Ranking the Resistance     123
Terrorism Types     133
How to Win
Case Study #2: The Ku Klux Klan     139
A Winning Strategy Against Extremist Terrorists     149
Case Study #3: Lessons of the IRA     159
A Winning Strategy Against Legitimately Motivated Terrorists     173
Analysis of the Global War on Terrorism     179
Our Constitutional Shield Against Terrorism     191
Notes     201
Bibliography     219
Index     231
About the Author     239

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