It’s not often that an active undercover agent publishes a memoir describing his work, said in People.com. But the FBI veteran who in 2013 infiltrated an al Qaida cell and helped foil its plot to derail a New York– to-Toronto passenger train wanted to share his story without having to quit the bureau. So he has written American Radical under a past alias, Tamer Elnoury. “This gave me an opportunity to be a voice for those who don’t have one,” he says of FBI colleagues whose own stories can’t yet be shared. He also badly wants people to know that he and other Muslim Americans are risking their lives to safeguard this country and its values. “It’s important,” he says, “for Americans to understand the difference between the radical mindset and the true tenets of the religion.”
Elnoury loathed the two men he cultivated during the Toronto operation. The leader, Chiheb Esseghaier, was a Tunisian-born doctoral student who talked about killing hundreds of Americans and was led to think of Elnoury as an Egyptian building magnate ripe for radicalizing. But listening to the younger man’s rants was hard for the New Jersey–raised former cop. Once, while showing Esseghaier around New York, he almost cracked after hearing the Tunisian share his dream of raining death on lower Manhattan again. “I envisioned stabbing him in the eye and dropping him dead,” the author recently told 60 Minutes. “Thankfully for the case, I didn’t.” Esseghaier and his accomplice are now serving life sentences. Their foe, who appears above in disguise, is on to new targets.