A member of a Danish motorcycle gang converts to Islam, travels to Yemen to learn more about his new faith, meets radical imams preaching death to the infidels, and just as the preaching is sinking in and he’s about to embrace a life as a militant Muslim, the gang member jilts the jihadists and decides to switch sides and go undercover for the CIA and help the intelligence agency track, target, and kill his erstwhile militant brethren.
This is the incredible story being told to the press and sold in a new book by Morten Storm, a 37-year-old Dane who claims to have worked on several secret missions with intelligence groups from several Western nations.
Storm tells the Associated Press that “he worked for six years as an informant for the CIA, Britain's MI5 and MI6 and Denmark's security service, PET.”
"Could they just say 'he never worked for us'? Sometimes silence is also information," Storm told the AP in Copenhagen. "I know this is true, I know what I have done."
As an ABC News report rightly says, Storm’s story is a little hard to believe, but he insists that his story is all fact, regardless of the numerous fingerprints of fiction.
In the AP interview, Storm reveals that he lost faith in his alleged spy handlers after they cut his part out of the narrative of the search and destroy mission that led to the killing of American-born, Yemeni-based cleric Anwar al-Awlaki.
Storm, on the other hand, puts himself in the middle of several high-profile operations in the War on Terror in a way that smacks more of Forrest Gump than James Bond.
Awlaki, Storm reports, was tracked down thanks to his clandestine efforts in mosques and mountain hideouts.
The American-born Awlaki was killed by a drone attack on the command of President Obama on September 30, 2011.
Awlaki was placed on the president’s infamous kill list after he was suspected of influencing the Ft. Hood shooter, Major Nidal Hassan, as well as the so-called Underwear Bomber, Umar Abdulmutallab. No official charges were ever filed against the American-born cleric. The government never attempted to apprehend him and try him for his alleged atrocities. He was placed on a proscription list and murdered.
The hit reportedly went down like this: On September 30, 2011, while he had stopped to eat breakfast, two unmanned Predator drones fired Hellfire missiles killing Anwar al-Awlaki.
How did the motorcycle gang member-turned-key-intelligence-asset give the assist to the U.S. government’s operation targeting Awlaki?
According to the Danish newspaper that originally broke the story, the CIA recruited Storm to carry out the operation. As reported by an ABC News story referencing the Dutch newspaper story, Storm befriended Awlaki and was asked by the “al-Qaeda mastermind” to find him a European woman to marry. Storm subsequently told the Dutch paper that in 2010 he successfully identified a Croatian lady named Aminah who contacted him on Facebook expressing interest in marrying Awlaki.
The marriage arrangement, so the report claims, was worked out through a series of videos exchanged between the two using Facebook.
Storm claims the CIA ordered him to “give the woman a suitcase with a tracking device that would give the U.S. Air Force a location for a drone strike. The plot was foiled when the woman ditched the surveillance suitcase,” ABC reported.
Storm tells the AP that the Awlaki mission wasn’t his only headliner. According to his tale, he was a crucial part of the operations involving the would-be Christmas Day underwear bomber, as well.
Briefly, Nigerian student Umar Abdulmutallab attempted to bomb Northwest Airlines Flight 253 bound from Amsterdam to Detroit on Christmas Day, 2009.
Like an episode of the Fox TV series 24, Storm claims to have been deep, deep undercover, often rendezvousing with his intelligence managers in “exotic locations” such as British mosques and a “geothermal spa in Iceland.” Storm also says he worked his way into the inside of “extremists' mosques” and “militant groups in Somalia.”
Despite doubts, Storm says he has photographic proof of his position. A picture shown to the AP in Copenhagen depicts a suitcase stuffed with $250,000 that he says he was given by the CIA to facilitate an early effort to locate Awlaki.
Not surprisingly, the intelligence community doesn’t quite corroborate Storm’s story.
Bob Ayers is a former U.S. intelligence officer who points to flaws in the Danish double-agent’s claims.
"Just because he claims to have worked for these agencies doesn't mean he was on anyone's payroll, as he almost certainly would not get clearance," Ayers told the AP. "It is also doubtful that he would have been one of Awlaki's trusted insiders. The only thing less trustworthy than an enemy agent is an enemy agent who has turned."
Undaunted, Storm is speaking to the press and other media, peddling his chronicle of his supposed secret missions, a book inartfully entitled Storm, the Danish Agent in Al-Qaida.
In his book, Storm writes that his undercover operations extended to association with the Navy SEALs, whom he claims to have helped track Saleh Nabhan, an alleged al-Qaeda leader killed by the SEALs in Somalia in 2010.
The story of Storm’s personal life doesn’t lend itself to increasing his credibility. As the AP reports:
Storm, who hails from Korsoer, 75 miles (120 kilometers) southwest of Copenhagen, has past convictions for bar fights, violence, cigarette smuggling and petty theft stretching back to his early teens. He was a prospective member of the Bandidos bicycle gang before a Muslim jail mate convinced him to convert to Islam in 1997.
Storm said he later spent time with radical Islamists in Britain and Yemen, married a woman from Morocco and named their first son Osama after al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden.
Strange, to say the least. But an audio recording given to the AP by Storm provides proof of his CIA-hired contractor status, he claims.
A voice on the recording (Storm identifies him as a CIA agent named Michael) informs Storm that while the president of the United States was grateful for his service, one of the other concurrent operations to target Awlaki was chosen and the mission was accomplished.
Storm felt mistreated and decided to roll over on his former intelligence bosses and tell the whole sordid story of his secret life as a terrorist tracker.
Now that he’s gone public with this story, Storm worries that his old contacts in both al-Qaeda and the CIA will come after him to punish him for his disclosures.
"I think that when a person potentially could become a liability, it is what is easiest for intelligence services to get rid of their agents and especially people like me," Storm told the AP.
Living, he claims, at a secret location in the U.K., Storm says that despite his denigration and CIA denials of his help, he has no regrets.
"I don't regret anything. All I wanted was to fight terrorism and I ended up being the bad guy," he told the AP. "Everyone has won but me. I am happy I was able to save human lives, but obviously I am paying the price for this now."
Photo of Morten Storm