Have you ever read a book so riveting you could not put it down? I carried around my tablet, opened to Silent Strike, and surreptitiously read through meetings, lunch hours and while jolting home on the metro bus. It’s that good. However, some of the insights revealed by the book hit a little too close to home. It changed the way I read today’s headlines about terrorist insurgents in our backyard. The parallels are uncanny and frightening.
While completing operations training in the Mexican desert, Troy Stoker, M.D., a psychiatrist, comes across Shiite combatants. He discovers they are getting ready for insertion into the United States. The mastermind behind the scheme is a Chicago hotel owner, Nicholas, intent on a wide-scale biological attack on U.S. soil. Nicholas is a sleeper agent for a terrorist group. Unfortunately, two recent stories feature real sleeper agents uncovered and arrested by authorities.
Hezbollah Operates Out of Lebanon — and New York
Hezbollah is a Lebanon-based terrorist group that acts as a proxy to Tehran. Its purported goal is to take out the Israeli nation and anyone that supports it. Like the mogul-terrorist in Silent Strike, Ali Kourani was a sleeper agent who carried out activities for his handlers. In Kourani’s case, the Islamic Jihad Organization (IJO) received photos and information on targets as diverse as Israelis living in New York to Federal buildings in the city. Kourani attempted to procure arms to stockpile them for Hezbollah — the obvious goal was to strike American targets at home.
Although Kourani was convicted and imprisoned in September, reading Silent Strike made me curious about how widespread this problem may be. It turns out that the Kourani case implicated several other people, include a New Jersey man posing as a software engineer and college instructor.
… and in New Jersey
Alexei Saab, 42, a Morristown, NJ, resident was charged in a federal indictment for his support of Hezbollah and for marriage fraud. A 33-page criminal complaint contains photos and diagrams that he put together for various intelligence-gathering missions. His involvement with Hezbollah pre-dated his oath of allegiance to the United States in 2008 and continued afterward.
Saab worked as a computer programmer and became a leader in his company. He also taught students at a community college. This is a man who betrayed the trust of everyone around him but still managed to go undetected for more than 11 years.
Why We Need a Better Understanding of These Terrorists Today
These arrests underscore the need to understand the terrorist agenda. The antagonist in Silent Strike, written by Dr. Francis Bandettini and Matt Nilsen, amassed a fortune by distorting the American Dream to his own purposes. Like the real-life sleeper agents, Kourani and Saab, he would have turned the generosity and freedom of our society against us in the name of a suppressive regime. Get the book. You’ll never read headlines the same way again.