Written by a man who is arguably the country’s most authoritative voice on counterterrorism, Crush the Cell demolishes, with simple logic, the edifice of false “terror punditry” that has been laid, brick by brick, since 9/11. A veteran of special ops, international diplomacy, and bruising clashes with federal law enforcement agencies, Michael Sheehan delivers in this book a two-part message: First, that we’ve wasted-and are continuing to waste-billions of dollars on the wrong protective measures, and second, that knowing the bad guys’ next move is paramount.
Somewhere in America, Sheehan maintains, are a number of terrorist cells, their members’ heads filled with schemes of mayhem and destruction. Motivated not, as some believe, by feelings of disenfranchisement, disdain for freedom, or economic envy but by a compelling ideological hatred, these individuals plot not just terror but paralyzing terror-the kind that can shut down a country.
Unwittingly aiding and abetting them are many (but not all) “terror experts” and members of the media who, for reasons that are partly self- serving, rate the bad guys’ capabilities far higher than they are, playing into terrorists’ hands with their hype. Spurred by the pundits’ inflated assessments, legislation follows that drains billions from taxpayers’ pockets and pours money into a bloated Washington bureaucracy championing needless programs.
Here, Sheehan shows why defensive fortresses don’t work, but offensive operational intelligence does. He also peels back the mystery surrounding terrorist cells, portraying them as, typically, a group of bumblers searching for a charismatic leader who has what it takes to conduct a complex symphony of violence. Sharing time in the narrative spotlight are not just agents of al Qaeda, but also frighteningly destructive lone wolves, cults, and radical movements.