Dec 10, 2003

A very Comprehensive al Qaeda Reading list by PB – Part 2

>>> for first 6 topics – check Part 1 of this reading list<<<
Class 7
Al Qaeda and the United States before the 9/11 plot

This class will examine how the al Qaeda network established itself in the United States. The class will focus in particular on the 1993 Trade Center attack; the mastermind of that attack, Ramzi Yousef; Yousef’s uncle, Khalid Sheik Mohammed, who would eventually become al Qaeda’s military commander, and Ahmed Ressam who attempted to bomb Los Angeles airport at the time of the Millennium. We will also discuss the role of Brooklyn’s Afghan Refugee Center, which was effectively a branch office of al Qaeda, and Ali Mohamed, a former US army sergeant who was an important leader within al Qaeda.

Bergen pp. 116-145

Burke ch. 7 pp. 93-105

Peter Lance, 1000 Years for Revenge, International Terrorism and the FBI, (Regan Books/HarperCollins, New York, 2003) chs. 27 though 29, pp. 273-306 ch. 31, 319-332

Yosri Fouda and Nick Fielding, Masterminds of Terror, (Edinburgh, Mainstream Publishing 2003) ch. 5 pp. 89- 104

Simon Reeve, The New Jackals (Boston, Northeastern University Press, 1999) pp. 24-154

Terry McDermott, Josh Meyer and Patrick J. McDonnell, The Plots and Designs of al Qaeda?s Engineer, Los Angeles Times, December 22, 2002

Farhan Bokhari et al, The CEO of al Qaeda, Financial Times, 15 February 2003

David E. Kaplan, Made in the USA, US News, June 10, 2002

The al Qaeda Documents Vol. 2. (Tempest Publishing Alexandria VA, 2003) Ressam testimony, pp. 256-389

An important newspaper series on Ahmed Ressam, who planned to blow up Los Angeles airport during the Millennium celebrations, can be found at
Jim Dwyer et al: Two Seconds under the World (New York, Crown, 1994 ). This is an excellent investigation of the 1993 Trade Center attack.

Laurie Mylroie, The War Against America: Saddam Hussein and the World Trade Center Attacks, (New York Regan Books/HarperCollins 2003). Law enforcement and intelligence professionals do not buy Mylroie’s theory that Iraq was behind the first Trade Center attack, but should you want to explore this theory, which has been influential in the Bush administration, read this book. For a critique of her theories see my story in the December 2003 issue of the Washington Monthly.

Class 8 Pakistan and the jihadists before 9/11

Owen Bennett-Jones, Pakistan. Ch. 1 pp. 1-33

Bergen, Holy War Inc, pp. 212-221

Burke, Al Qaeda ch. 6 pp 81-92
Diary extracts from Omar Sheikh’s extraordinary diary.

Profiles of Terror, a collection of essays, (New Delhi, Lotus/Roli books 2002) pp 132-144, Interrogation of Omar Sheikh

Jeffrey Goldberg, “Inside Jihad U. the Education of a Holy Warrior”, New York Times magazine, June 25, 2001

Jessica Stern, “Pakistan’s Jihad Culture”, Foreign Affairs,
Nov./December 2000

“Pakistan’s Predicament,” by Pamela Constable, Journal of Democracy, Jan. 2001.

Pamela Constable, The Washington Post, Asia Journal, May 8, 2000
and Pakistan’s Moral Majority; Islamic Fundamentalist Fervor Poses Challenge to Military Regime, June 22, 2000.

Aukai Collins, My Jihad, (The Lyons Press Guilford, Connecticut, 2002) pp. 23-40, an interesting account of an American jihadist who trained in Pakistan.

Bennett Jones, ch 3 pp. 56-108 and ch. 8 pp. 250-280

Pankaj Mishra, “Death in Kashmir”, New York Review of Books, Sept. 21, 2000 — can be found at

Pankaj Mishra, Kashmir: Unending War, New York Review of Books, Oct.19, 2000 — can be found at

Class 9
Al Qaeda and 9/11
This class will examine the 9/11 plot.

Yosri Fouda, The Terror Plot, The Sunday Times (London), September 8 2002 This groundbreaking story laid out many key details of the 9/11 plot. This article was expanded into the book below:

Yosri Fouda and Nick Fielding, Masterminds of Terror, (Edinburgh, Mainstream Publishing 2003) ch 4 pp 73-87, ch 6, pp. 105-122, ch. 7, pp. 123-147, appendix 2 pp-196-202

Hassan Mneimneh and Kanan Makiya, “Manual for a Raid”, The New York Review of Books, January 17, 2002 (

The Reporters of Der Spiegel magazine. Inside 9-11 What Really Happened (New York, St. Martins Press, 2001) pp 177-202 and pp. 253-321 has an important appendix.

Burke, Al Qaeda ch.5 pp. 210-227

The indictment of Zacarias Moussaoi has some useful information about the planning of 9/11 and can be found at

An excellent roadmap to 9/11 can be found in the testimony of Director of Central Intelligence, George Tenet before the Joint Inquiry into the Terrorist Attacks on the United States delivered on 18 June 2002 and can be found at

Bin Laden reflects on 9/11 in a private meeting with a Saudi supporter in November 2000 that can be found at

The important congressional inquiry into 9/11 can be found at Read pages 128-249 for a narrative of the 9/11 attacks.

The Terrorist Calculus Behind 9-11, Brigitte Nacos, Studies in Conflict and Terrorism, January-February 20903

Bin Laden’s only print interview post 9/11 can be found at

Bin Laden’s only post 9/11 television interview can be found at:

Edited by Barry Rubin and Judith Colp Rubin, Anti-American Terrorism and the Middle East: A Documentary Reader (New York, 2002 Oxford University Press) pp.223-238 and pp. 273-27.

Doug Frantz et al, On Plotters Path to US, a Stop at bin Laden Camp, New York Times, September 10 2002.

Class 10
US attempts to counter al Qaeda and its forerunners from the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center until today.

This class will examine how effective the US government has been against al Qaeda, particularly the FBI and CIA. It will also consider how effective the Pentagon has been against al Qaeda.

Benjamin and Simon ch. 6,7, 8,9 and 10 pp. 229-380

A vigorous defense of U.S. efforts to counter al Qaeda can be found in the testimony of Director of Central Intelligence, George Tenet before the Joint Inquiry into the Terrorist Attacks on the United States which he delivered on 17 October, 2002 and can be found at:

The Counter-terrorist, Lawrence Wright, New Yorker, January 14 2002

The important Congressional Inquiry into 9/11 can be found at read pages 1-127 and pages 240-394 for a detailed account of US government missteps leading up to 9/11

Judith Miller and Don van Natta Jr., In Years of Plots and Clues, Scope of al Qaeda Eluded U.S.

Michael Elliott, They Had a Plan, TIME magazine, August 12, 2002

Patrick E. Tyler, Feeling Secure, U.S. Failed to Grasp Bin Laden Threat, 8 September, 2002

Philip Smucker, “How Bin Laden Got Away,” Christian Science Monitor March 4, 2002

Susan B. Glasser, “The battle of Tora Bora” Washington Post, Feb. 10, 2002

The Lessons of Afghanistan, Anthony Cordesman (Washington CSIS 2003) pp. 3-60


Class 11
Al Qaeda and the US post 9/11
This class will consider what actions al Qaeda has attempted to take inside the United States since 9/11. It will also examine a number of cases against American citizens accused of terrorism since the September 11th attacks. Specifically it will examine the cases of John Walker Lindh, Jose Padilla, Richard Reid, the Lackawanna, NY cases, the Oregon cases, the case of Aranout and of Zacarias Moussaoi.

Lindh material

Jane Mayer, Lost in the Jihad, The New Yorker March 10,2003 (note 10,000 words approx.)

Mark Kukis, My Heart Became Attached: The Strange Journey of John Walker Lindh (Brasseys, Washington 2003) A book about Lindh if you want to explore his story further.

Reid material

Alan Cullison and Andrew Higgins, How al Qaeda Agent Scouted Attacks in Israel and Egypt, Wall Street Journal, January 16, 2002

Daniel McGrory, London Thief Who Turned to Terror, The Times (UK), October 5, 2002

Roland Watson, Guilt of bin Laden?s Agent, The Times (UK), October 5, 2002

Lackawanna material

The al Qaeda Documents Vol. 2. (Tempest Publishing, Alexandria VA, 2003) Lackawanna cell case, pp. 106-20, 135-241

MATTHEW PURDY and LOWELL BERGMAN Between Evidence and Suspicion; Unclear Danger: Inside the Lackawanna Terror Case, New York Times, October 12, 2003 (note 10,000 words)

Michael Powell, No Choice but Guilty; Lackawanna Case Highlights Legal Tilt, Washington Post, July 29, 2003.

Orgeon case material

The al Qaeda Documents Vol. 2. (Tempest Publishing Alexandria VA, 2003) Oregon cell case, pp. 241-256

Andrew Murr and Kevin Peraino, The Portland Six, Newsweek, October 14, 2002

Moussawi material

The indictment of Zacarias Moussaoi can be found at

Abd Moussaoi, Zacarias, My Brother: The Making of a Terrorist
(Seven Stories Press, 2003) A short book about Moussaoi, by his brother

Padilla material

Mark Hosenball, Michael Hirsh and Ron Moreau, Odyssey into Shadows, Newsweek, June 24, 2002

Paula Span Enemy Combatant Vanishes Into a Legal Black Hole, Washington Post July 30, 2003.

Aranout material

R-Aranout indictment can be found at terrorism/usbif91302opn.pdf

Class 12 Pakistan and the jihadists post 9/11
This class will examine al Qaeda and other jihadist groups operating in Pakistan since the fall of the Taliban. Particular attention will be paid to the kidnapping/murder of Danny Pearl.

Bennett Jones, chapter. 9 pp. 281-290

Marianne Pearl, A Mighty Heart (New York, Scribner 2003) pp 113-189

Jessica Stern, Terror in the Name of God, (New York, Ecco, 2003) chapter 8 pp 188-236

Yosri Fouda and Nick Fielding, Masterminds of Terror, (Edinburgh, Mainstream Publishing 2003) ch 3, pp 53-70

Profiles of Terror, collection of essays, (New Delhi, Lotus/Roli books 2002) pp. 39-54 profile of Maulana Masood Azhar by Harinder Baweja.

Gunaratna, pp. 274-293

Robert Sam Anson, The Journalist and the Terrorist, Vanity Fair, August 2002

Ahmed Rashid, Pakistan on the Edge, New York Review of Books, October 10, 2002 can be found at

Stephen Philip Cohen, The Jihadist Threat to Pakistan, The Washington Quarterly 2003

Douglas Jehl, Death of Reporter Puts Focus on Pakistan?s Intelligence Agency, New York Times, February 25, 2002

Steve Levine, “A Murder’s Aftermath – Killing of Pearl Fit Into
Pakistani Web of Radical Islam,” Wall Street Journal, Jan. 23, 2003.

David Rohde, Suspect Describes Ordeal of Slain Reporter, New York Times, January 23, 2003

Seymour Hersh, The Getaway, The New Yorker, January 28,2002

FBI and US Military Unite in Pakistan to Hunt al Qaeda in Unusual Effort, New York Times, July 14, 2002

William Dalyrmple, Murder in Karachi, New York Review of Books, December 4, 2003

Pakistan Moves to Cut Ties Between Spy Agency and Islamic Militants, New York Times, February 20, 2002

Kamran Khan, Attacks in Pakistan Linked, Washington Post, August 10, 2002

Class 13 Al Qaeda after 9/11.
This class will examine how al Qaeda has adapted following the loss of its base in Afghanistan, and how al Qaeda the organization has morphed into al Qaeda the ideology. It will also consider the likely impact of the war in Iraq on the jihadists.

Bergen pp. 225-245

Gunaratna ch.5 pp. 294-332

Benjamin and Simon ch.11, pp. 393-418 and Afterword, pp. 447- 488 (in the new paperback edition)

Malise Ruthven, A Fury for God: The Islamist Attack on America (New York: Granta Books, 2002) ch.8 pp. 240-291

Bruce Hoffman Rethinking Terrorism and Counterterrorism Since 9/11, Studies in Conflict and Terrorism, Vol. 25, number 25, September, 2002, pp.303-316

Bruce Hoffman, Al Qaeda, Trends in terrorism, Studies in Conflict & Terrorism, November-December 2003

Jason Burke, The Secret Mastermind behind the Bali Horror, The Observer, (UK) October 20, 2002

Jane Perlez, Suspect tells police that target of bombing was Americans, not Australians, New York Times, November 9 2002

Paul Harris, Blown to pieces, The Guardian, May 18, 2003

In Moroccan Slum, Zealotry took Root, Washington Post, June 3, 2003
Glenn Kessler, Saudis Tie al Qaeda to Attacks, Washington Post, May 14 2003

Neil MacFarqhar A bombing shatters the Saudi Art of denial, New York Times, May 18, 2003

Dexter Filkins, Kenyans Hunting Clues to Bombing, New York Times, November 30, 2002

Peter Finn and Susan Schmidt, Al Qaeda Plans a Front in Iraq, Washington Post, September 7, 2003

Neil MacFarquhar, For Arabs New Jihad is in Iraq, New York Times, April 2, 2003

Molly Moore, 3 Turks with radical Ties Probed in Istanbul Blast, Washington Post, November 18, 2003

Alan Cullison and Andrew Higgins, Al Qaeda Acolyte, One of Many, Vows to Die for the Cause, Wall Street Journal, December 30, 2002

Al Qaeda Operatives Hide Assets in Gold Shipped to Emirates, Washington Post, February 17, 2002

Simon Elegant, The Jihadis’ Tale, Newsweek, January 27, 2002
Romesh Ratnesar, Confessions of an Al Qaeda terrorist, TIME, September 23, 2002

White Paper, The Jemaah Islamiyah Arrests and the Threat of Terrorism (Singapore, Ministry of Home Affairs 2003). This is an enormously through investigation of JI in Singapore, which will be of particular interest for anyone researching JI.

Also look at reports issued by the International Crisis Group about JI on their website,

Roland Jacquard, In the Name of Osama Bin Laden, Global Terrorism and the Bin Laden Brotherhood, (Durham: Duke University Press, 2002) Afterword by Samia Seragaldin pp.160-165



Thursday, September, 05, 2019 Center for Naval Analyses (CNA), DC

Wednesday, September, 18, 2019 Global SOF Forum, New America DC

Tuesday, October, 15, 2019 Global Security Forum, Doha, Qatar

Tuesday, November, 19, 2019 9/ 11 Memorial Museum, NYC

Thursday, November, 21, 2019 2019 Modern Warfare Symposium, Ft. Bragg, NC

Tuesday, January, 28, 2020 2020 IFDA Dairy Forum, Scottsdale AZ

Tuesday, April, 28, 2020 Future Security Forum, DC








"We Got Him": President Obama, Bin Laden, and the Future of the War on Terror, CNN