(read the book free online - read the Reddit AMA)
10. After the bungled Glasgow International Airport attack, one of the terrorists was apprehended by a Scottish cabby who kicked a burning terrorist in the balls so hard he tore a tendon in his foot.
9. The Times Square Bomber, Faisal Shazhad, locked the keys to both his get-away car and his house inside the car-bomb he rigged. The car bomb consisted of a bunch of fireworks stuck in a bucket, and a bunch of fertilizer. Inert, non-explosive fertilizer that only served to muffle the blast.
8. While terrorist “mastermind” Khalid Sheikh Mohammed was hiding out in the Philippines, he kept a low profile by renting a freaking helicopter and making fly-overs of the building where the “cultural dancers” he wanted to date worked. They were impressed enough to allow him to take them on a date. He chose the local Wendy’s.
7. Terrorists in the cell caught by an FBI-NYPD sting in the Bronx were called “intellectually challenged” by their lawyer, said they were high when they were arrested, and claimed that the FBI entrapped them with fried chicken.
6. On 9/11, the terrorists who flew out of Logan – after having spent years preparing, months training, and tens of thousands of dollars on the attack – made it onto their flight with just six-minutes to spare.
5. Part of this close-call may have been due to being up late the night before. Hotel records show the night before they carried out what they saw as a sanctified assault against the forces of Evil – they rented a porno together.
4. The aforementioned Glasgow International Airport attack was originally thwarted by another unusual hero. The height of the airport’s doorway – the terrorists never bothered to check if it would allow clearance for the jeep they were driving, so they got stuck. Their bomb detonated anyways, lighting one of them on fire – the attack’s only serious injury (unless you count the cabby as well).
3. The terrorist in charge of the 1993 van-bombing of the World Trade Center waited until the night before the scheduled attack to find a Ryder van they could use, and someone willing to drive it beneath the Towers. They were ultimately all tracked down after one of them returned to the rental agency to noisily insist that he should get their deposit back – three separate times. The FBI was waiting for him the third time.
2. This 1993 World Trade Center cell was finally caught in Manila, where a policewoman – a grandmother wearing a flowered muumuu, hoop earrings, and rubber slippers – ran Abdul Murad down in the street, bound his hands with clothesline, and hailed a taxi to get him back to the station. Police were tipped off to his presence after he managed to light his apartment on fire.
1. A cell plotting a car-bombing in Southeast Asia were foiled when an issue arose with the guy they’d spent months recruiting and training to drive their car-bomb. When he got into the vehicle the morning of the attack he explained there was a problem: he didn’t know how to drive stick.
Political Terrorism is a gyre that’s only set into motion when fear and panic cause the target to overreact with disproportionate violence, which draws sympathizers into the terrorist fold and creates justification for further attacks. If we don’t lose our shit – the terrorists lose.