Monday, October 9, 2017

Finalist: Governor General's Literary Award

I'm delighted and humbled to be a non-fiction finalist for a Governor General's Literary Award, which recognizes literary work by Canadian authors. Details here.

Congratulations to my fellow finalists.

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

The statistics of mass killing

After the Las Vegas shooting, the largest mass shooting in U.S. history, the ghoulish debate resumed over the demographics of killers. Are they white? Immigrants? Muslims? Christians? Young? One thing is certain: they're almost all men.

I look at these questions -- and the impulse to ask these questions in the first place -- in The Atlantic. This is not the first instance of a statistically-based report on terrorism dissolving under scrutiny.

(Also worth a look: Daniel Engber's discussion of the same topics in Slate.)

Friday, September 22, 2017

Going undercover

I have never misrepresented myself in speaking with an Islamic State supporter. Here I reflect on the ethics of lying to sources, in the context of a white supremacist infiltration project.

Saturday, August 19, 2017

A botched opportunity

The United Nations Office of Counterterrorism just issued a report, based on interviews with a tiny number of incarcerated Islamic State supporters. Its conclusions are almost worthless.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

How the Islamic State made jihad religious again

Sebastian Gorka, the terror-maestro of the Trump White House, argues that jihadism is a unified front, and that policy should reflect that. He remains wrong. But many of those who disagree with him share the general view that the distinctions between Al Qaida and the Islamic State are, in the main, cosmetic.

I reviewed Ali Soufan's The Anatomy of Terror in the latest issue of Foreign Affairs.

Tuesday, July 25, 2017