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The Terror Factory: Inside the FBI's Manufactured War on Terrorism

4.12  ·  Rating details ·  155 ratings  ·  25 reviews
A groundbreaking work of investigative journalism, The Terror Factory: Inside the FBI's Manufactured War on Terrorism exposes how the FBI has, under the guise of engaging in counterterrorism since 9/11, built a network of more than 15,000 informants whose primary purpose is to infiltrate Muslim communities to create and facilitate phony terrorist plots so that the Bureau c ...more
Hardcover, 256 pages
Published January 15th 2013 by Ig Publishing (first published January 1st 2013)
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F.T. Moore
Jun 28, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Chilling and frightening. Aaronson gives the facts about the terrorists the FBI has caught in the U.S. since 9/11. It doesn't look good. What appears to be "successes" in the war on terror turns out to be, basically, phony setups of marginalized petty criminals or mental cases. In almost all the cases of "caught" terrorists, these were people targeted by the FBI and setup. A petty criminal or mental case, selected by the FBI, and handed the scenario, the weapons, and the money, then told to carr ...more
Jul 02, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: nonfiction
Mixed feelings on this one. Although some of the practices of the FBI brought to light are certainly shady, the events in Boston just three months after the publication of this book kind of undermine the argument the author is trying to make about the FBI focusing on the wrong concerns.

Some of the methods used in these terrorism stings and recruitment of informants don't sit well with me, but at the end of the day I am okay with people who were willing to blow up civilians (when they believed th
Nancy Yob
Jan 18, 2013 rated it it was ok
This book convinced me of the opposite of what it was trying to. Most of the cases he uses in the book are supposed to make the point that a terrorist is not a terrorist if he doesn't have the means to be one. So, following that logic, if the FBI find out about him and give him the means, they are just setting him up. However, the terrorists in these cases actually thought they were going to blow something up/cause destruction/take lives. So in my opinion, they were terrorists. There are cases o ...more
Dominic Mitchell
Apr 21, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This is a captivating book from start to finish! Aaronson does an excellent job of illustrating for the reader how the FBI—post 9/11—has through the use of terrorism stings morphed into a domestic CIA, wasted a significant deal of resources, and alienated Muslim-American communities, all in an effort to find terrorism where there is none. This book is perfect for anyone who wants a more complete picture of our domestic War on Terror.
Jul 10, 2017 rated it it was amazing
The author breaks down several prominent terrorism sting operations post-9/11 and shows how such operations are often driven by competing incentives: on the one hand, FBI agents are being pressured to produce results to justify the $3 billion spent every year on counterterrorism; and on the other, FBI informants have significant monetary (and often also immigration-related) incentives to find "terrorists". A very thoughtful and well-researched exploration of modern counterterrorism efforts. ...more
Samar Dahmash Jarrah
A great book that shows how the FBI creates terror plots! makes you think!
Wow. This describes how FBI has essentially manufactured terror plots using a bunch of idiots, informants, and perverse incentives.

Essentially, most terrorism cases in the US from 2002-now (especially 2002-2016) have been essentially started by tips or other intelligence, then FBI-directed informants working with the "terrorists" to articulate and develop terror plots specifically for the purpose of prosecution. In most cases, the "terrorists" are losers who would be incapable of doing anything
R.J.Cicisly Jr.
Nov 08, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Finally read this, after being on my reading list for years. Kinda hard to get into the book at first due to the names and aliases of all the different characters, but midway through, I was used to the flow and style of writing, and it went quick.
Just thinking how many mass murders have happened since this book was published and non have been labeled domestic terrorism.
This put in me the mood to read The Killing of Osama bin Laden by Seymour Hersh next.
Feb 25, 2019 rated it really liked it
Nothing I didn't already suspect, but the government's duplicity in manufacturing terrorists seems to know no bounds. The funding and pressure from on high puts the FBI in the unfortunate position of setting morons up to look like terrorists. It's a true crime. ...more
Mar 11, 2018 rated it really liked it
A damning and essential read about abuses of power under the the guise of a “war on terror.
Ayman Fadel
Aug 13, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: terrorism, history-us
Trevor Aaronson's The Terror Factory: Inside the FBI's Manufactured war on Terrorism gathers disparate news stories into one narrative: the frequency of "terrorism" convictions in the United States in the years following 2001 is neither a measure of the threat terrorism poses to public safety nor the effectiveness of the federal government in protecting United States residents.

Aaronson compiled a database, accessible online, of the characteristics of "ter
Dan Downing
May 24, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
For decades the thing the FBI has done best is have an effective public relation's campaign. TV shows and books feature great agents doing marvelous things. The reality is that the FBI is mostly paper and politics: we have known this for a long time. Fred Cook's "The FBI Nobody Knows" stands as a decades old classic in the field of FBI studies.

Shortly before the 9/11 attacks, Louis Freeh retired as director. Freeh was a Luddite to the point that he probably avoids inoculations. Certainly he endo
Tariq Mahmood
May 01, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: terrorism
If you have any doubts about Muslim victims and Islamophobia, please have a good read of this book. Did the Muslim world have any realistic chance, starting from the Balfour agreement after the First World War till the aftermath of the Russian misadventure in Afghanistan. How can the meek resist the overwhelming coercing of the might US, goading them into battle against the evil Communists? The once mighty Mujahideen fall from grace to evil terrorists is well documented but the treatment netted ...more
Mar 03, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: politics
This book should be getting a lot more attention. If you don't have time to read it just check out page 217 and you'll be outraged. Hard to believe anything can shock me at this point but this did. the FBI has been railroading idiots and charging them as terrorists to justify their huge budget and getting away with it. easy to say "that's terrible!" and move on but when you consider that they used to spend their time investigating Wall Street abuses and Ponzi schemes and now they make up terrori ...more
Thomas Stevenson
Feb 25, 2013 rated it really liked it
This is a great piece of investigative reporting. If you're like me and wondered about the FBI discovery of al-Qaeda plotters in the US, Aaronson's book will show how smoke and mirrors and a lot of lives ruined have made the Feds seem effective and relevant. The secret is taking fairly foolish young men and enticing them to do things they could never have accomplished if someone wasn't providing the ideas and tools. Voila, terrorists that juries convict because they're afraid. ...more
Todd Valerius
Apr 03, 2015 rated it liked it
Good collection of several well documented cases since 911 that illustrate how the FBI entraps many pathetic, lost souls in their zeal to find real terrorists. If the FBI removed the financial incentives, perhaps they would not drive informants to radicalize our citizens. The books begins to drag because the template of the cases is so similar. Very quick read.
Kevin Jimenez
Jul 19, 2015 rated it it was ok
The Terror Factory served as an exposè of the FBI’s complicity in manufacturing terror attacks in the country. It was well researched but my main issue was how redundant the authors arguments on these revelations were. Aaronsen never offers a solution or a mode of action that we as citizens, could take to better mobilize ourselves in lieu of these new discoveries.
Feb 25, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This is an incredible expose of the FBI's war on domestic terrorists and it's use of shady, even criminal informants. I'm glad I'm not a Muslim living here in the USA. It seems like the FBI dragnet to capture "terrorists" here in the USA needs reform and some measure of accountability so as to not prosecute fantom terrorists using very devious tactics. ...more
Apr 23, 2013 rated it really liked it
This book is an investigation into the wave of terror arrests made by the FBI over the last decade. The author makes a compelling argument that much of the terrorist activity that has been disrupted never would have occurred without the influence of FBI informants. He also looks at the role of budgeting that causes the investigations to continue. Very good book.
Feb 20, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Well documented and easy to read account of the FBI's botched effort to be a counterterrorism agency. It becomes clear that the FBI is under intense pressure to bring results even if it means creating terrorists where none previously existed. I had medium expectations for the book when starting it, but ended up absolutely enthralled. ...more
Jan 04, 2014 rated it it was ok
A classic tale of the FBI creating terrorist so they can catch terrorists. Don't worry about reading through the grueling (boring) and redundant 270 pages, just read the first 100 pages and then watch the evening news. ...more
Matt Roberts
Jan 04, 2014 rated it really liked it
A good read that provides evidence of the startling facts that are the "War on Terror." "Terrorism threats" have been diminished to a concoction of the twisted scenarios given to us by the FBI while real crimes and threats pass through under the radar. ...more
Barry Bachrach
Oct 16, 2013 rated it liked it
it was good, nothing really new, different characters same story.
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