Interview and book detail claims of Dane's life as a spy inside al-Qaida
COPENHAGEN, Denmark — After converting to Islam, a former member of a Danish motorcycle gang travels to Yemen to study the Quran and soon comes in contact with radical preachers waging holy war against the West.
On the verge of becoming a jihadist, he abruptly abandons his faith and embarks on a dangerous undercover mission to help Western intelligence agencies capture or kill terrorists.
Morten Storm, 37, claims he worked for six years as an informant for the CIA, Britain's MI5 and MI6 and Denmark's security service, PET. All declined to comment for this article.
"Could they just say 'he never worked for us'? Sometimes silence is also information," Storm told AP in Copenhagen. "I know this is true, I know what I have done."
Storm's unlikely story, told in a new book and an interview with The Associated Press, has the drama and intrigue of a "Homeland" episode. But the burly, red-bearded Dane insists his tale isn't fiction.
Storm said he decided to reveal his secret-agent life to the media — he first spoke to a Danish newspaper in October — because he felt betrayed by his agent runners.
In particular, he was upset that he wasn't given credit for the airstrike that killed Anwar al-Awlaki, a senior al-Qaida figure, in Yemen in 2011.
Storm claims the CIA won't admit that his work helped them track down the U.S.-born cleric, accused of having inspired the 2009 shootings in Fort Hood, Texas, and the attempted Christmas Day bombing of a jetliner approaching Detroit the same year.
He also claims to have played a role in a series of well-documented anti-terror operations in the past six years by infiltrating extremist mosques in Britain and militant groups in Somalia. He said he often met his handlers in exotic locations and provided a photograph of one such rendezvous with purported PET agents, at a geothermal spa in Iceland.
Another photograph shows a suitcase packed with cash — $250,000 he claims to have received from the CIA for an undercover operation to track down al-Awlaki though that effort ultimately failed.
Bob Ayers, a former U.S. intelligence officer, cast doubt on Storm'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," said Ayers, who now lives in London. "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."
A European security official not affiliated with any of the four agencies Storm claims to have worked for said he may well have been an informer, but questioned the way Storm described his own significance.
"I have a strong feeling that he's overestimating his own role," said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to discuss the matter publicly.
Storm says he provided information that led to the 2007 arrest in Britain of Hassan Tabbak, a Syrian-born man sentenced to seven years in prison for trying to make bombs in preparation for terrorist attacks.
In his book, "Storm, the Danish agent in al-Qaida," he also says he was involved in an operation targeting Saleh Nabhan, a senior al-Qaida operative killed by Navy SEALs in a helicopter attack inside Somalia in 2010. The book is set for release Monday in Denmark, but Storm gave the AP an advance copy.
The most elaborate operation involved al-Awlaki. In 2009, Storm said, the reclusive cleric asked for his help to find a European wife. Storm made contact on Facebook with a Muslim convert from Croatia named Aminah, who was fascinated with al-Awlaki. Storm said he helped carry encrypted video messages between the soon-to-be spouses on a flash drive, before they decided to meet in Yemen. He provided those video clips to AP.
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