J.M. Berger: Author of "Jihad Joe," the new book on American jihadists and American terrorists; journalist specializing in terrorism, Al Qaeda, business, New Media and science writing










Jihad Joe book

Fox: Awlaki's death

GWU book talk

Al Jazeera interview

Bosnia documentary

9/11 + Ten Years

Author, analyst and consultant on extremism


ISIS: The State of Terror, by Jessica Stern and J.M. BergerJessica Stern and J.M. Berger co-author the forthcoming book, "ISIS: The State of Terror," from Ecco, an imprint of HarperCollins. The book, which will debut in early 2015, will examine the rise of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, its potential fall, how it is transforming the nature of extremist movements, and how we should evaluate the threat it presents. Jessica Stern is a Harvard lecturer on terrorism and the author of the seminal text Terror in the Name of God: Why Religious Militants Kill. J.M. Berger is author of the definitive book on American jihadists, Jihad Joe: Americans Who Go to War in the Name of Islam, a frequent contributor to Foreign Policy, and editor of Intelwire.com.

Pre-order the book now | Pre-order Kindle version


  • Jihadist and domestic U.S. extremist movements
  • Social network analysis, with special focus on extremist use
  • American jihadists, including Anwar Awlaki, Omar Hammami
  • Domestic U.S. extremists
  • Countering Violent Extremism (CVE), Social Media and Big Data
  • Investigation: Law enforcement tactics against extremists
  • Primary Sources, 9/11, Al Qaeda and More
  • Author, Jihad Joe: Americans Who Go to War in the Name of Islam


    Given the robust discussion of the relevance/irrelevance of al Qaeda Central, al Qaeda affiliates, the Islamic State, the Khorasan Group (if it is in fact anything but just plain old AQC), it's worth pointing out a fundamental tenet of terrorism, which one could be forgiven for having forgotten, given how much energy we spend fighting terrorism on the big stage.

    Terrorism is asymmetrical. Recruit five guys and their last week's paychecks, and you can make headlines for months. Recruit 20 guys and their life's savings, and you can make headlines for years. All it takes is some creativity, psychology and street smarts about how you approach your attack. Fortunately for us, terrorist groups and individual terrorist actors don't usually tend to apply all three at the same time to accomplish a task effectively.

    Read the full analysis


  • ISIS Twitter: Resistible Force Meets Movable Object
  • Jihadist Hostages and the Shape of Things to Come
  • 10 Things to Know About Reporting on Terrorists on Social Media

    Read the full story at Foreign Policy

  • H.P. Lovecraft Evil-O-Matic, ISIS Edition
  • IS/ISIS/ISIL: What's in a Name?
  • Zawahiri's Silence Raises Concerns With Nusra Supporters
  • Islamic State Massacre Provokes Backlash
  • The Daily Beast: ISIS Takes a Big Gamble
  • The Atlantic: How ISIS Games Twitter
  • Analysis: How Online Fundraising Networks Are Reacting to ISIS
  • A New Day for ISIS: Considerations
  • War on Error: Understanding the evolution of al Qaeda


    Click here for a frequently updated chart tracking splits in the broad Al Qaeda network.

    J.M. Berger's latest analysis for Foreign Policy on the current state of al Qaeda offers new and important assessments for U.S. policymakers to understand and consider.
    "One of the best articles I've read on the nature of al-Qaeda today." -- William McCants, director of Brookings project on US-Islamic World Relations

    "If you are going to read one piece on al-Qaida this year, read this one." -- Thomas Hegghammer, director of terrorism research at the Norwegian Defence Research Establishment

    "Probably the best piece on al-Qaeda in years." -- Shiraz Maher, senior fellow at the International Centre for the Study of Radicalisation

    "A thoughtful piece from @intelwire on AQ big picture worth reading." -- Paul Cruickshank, CNN terrorism analyst

    Read the full story at Foreign Policy


    J.M. Berger, Daveed Gartenstein-Ross and Kelsey Atheron discussed the impact of social media on terrorism, extremism and Middle Eastern conflicts at a panel hosted by the Foundation for the Defense of Democracy.



    J.M. Berger appeared at the New America Foundation to discuss his book, Jihad Joe: Americans Who Go to War in the Name of Islam, with CNN terrorism analyst and bestselling author Peter Bergen.

    Buy the book | More about the event

    Read the full story at Foreign Policy | More on Hammami


    I've spent some years now reading what you write and say to each other, and talking to you directly from time to time. I've been thinking about those conversations a lot, and I have a few things I want to say.

    Read the full article on INTELWIRE


    The Westgate mall siege by al-Shabab has once again raised red flags about terrorist use of social media thanks to the al Qaeda affiliate's brazen use of Twitter to promote its attack and threaten Kenyan civilians, during and after the bloody massacre. In the wake of the crisis, the social media service has returned to its policy of studied indifference about the content posted by its users, allowing threats of further violence against Kenyan civilians by al-Shabab, after a brief crackdown during the crisis itself. That's a mistake.

    Full story on Foreign Policy


    There's a new jihadist recruiter on the Internet. Based in San Francisco and backed by a multimillion dollar bankroll, the recruiter orchestrates thousands of introductions every day, connecting people at risk of radicalization with extremist clerics and terrorist propagandists -- even facilitating online meetings with hardcore al Qaeda members. The recruiter is Twitter, and it's shaking up the world of online radicalization in ways both large and small.

    Full story on Foreign Policy


  • Terrorists on Social Media: Arguments That Don't Impress Me
  • I've Got a Little List
  • Buzzfeed: How to Ruin Al Qaeda's Day on Twitter
  • #Unfollow: The Case for Kicking Terrorists Off Twitter
  • Who Matters Online: Metrics for Monitoring Extremism Online
  • Yellow and Black is the New Black Flag

    Over the last week, critics and defenders of the National Security Agency have heatedly debated the merits of metadata -- information about the phone activity of millions of Americans that was given to the government via a secret court order. For some, the collection of these data represent a grave violation of the privacy of American citizens. For others, the privacy issue is negligible, as long as it helps keep us safe from terrorism. There are indeed privacy issues at play here, but they aren't necessarily the obvious ones.

    Read the full story at Foreign Policy


    Just weeks before Pakistan's former prime minister Benazir Bhutto was assassinated, she told U.S. State Department officials that Pakistani police had pulled back their protection on her home after a suicide attack on one of her rallies, according to new documents obtained by INTELWIRE through the Freedom of Information Act.

    Read the story

    Additional documents:

  • Binder 1 (very large PDF)
  • Binder 2 (very large PDF)
  • 12/12/2001: The Kashmir Equation Post-September 11
  • 9/11/2002: Pakistan's Elections, A Primer
  • 11/01/2002: Bhutto meeting with Assistant Secretary of State
  • 9/20/2004: Urgent request on Bhutto eligibility for a US visa
  • 11/6/2004: Bhutto "depressed" over re-election of U.S. President Bush
  • 11/2004: Assistant Secretary of State Rocca responds to Bhutto's letter to President Bush congratulating him on his re-election
  • 2007: Musharraf Keeps Opposition Parties Off Balance
  • 11/27/2007: Bhutto Assassination Aftermath


    The Southern Poverty Law Center released its annual "Year in Hate and Extremism" report last week, and as usual, it was terrifying. In an article for the SPLC's Intelligence Report magazine, researchers said they had identified an "all-time high" of 1,360 antigovernment groups active during 2012 and about the same staggering number of hate groups as last year, a total of 1,007. But those numbers are not what they seem.

    Full Story at Foreign Policy

    Somali al Qaeda affiliate al-Shabab woke up one January morning to discover that its popular English-language Twitter account -- @HSMPress -- had been suspended, apparently because it had issued a direct, specific threat of violence in breach of Twitter's terms of service. This rare termination dusted off one of the counterterrorism industry's most-cobwebbed debates: Should we let terrorist groups use the Internet, or should we try to knock them offline?

    Full story at Foreign Policy


    J.M. Berger took part in a panel discussion on terrorist use of the Interent for the Huffington Post Live news channel.



  • #Unfollow: Why Kicking Terrorists Off Twitter Works
  • How Metadata Works: What the NSA Does with Phone Records
  • Who Matters Online: Metrics for Monitoring Extremism Online
  • Foreign Policy: Fringe Following
  • Understanding the NSA's Location Data
  • Visualizing CVE Audiences
  • Recalculating the SPLC's Hate List


  • A Way Forward for CVE: The Five Ds
  • Monsters and Children: Politics And How We Talk About Muslims
  • The Value of Exposing Collaborators
  • The 'You Name It!' Problem
  • White House CVE Strategy Full of Sound and Fury
  • Terrorist Acts, Terrorist Thoughts


  • How the West made a laughable terrorist magazine into a success
  • Interview with Online Jihadist Abu Suleiman Al Nasser
  • Internet provides terrorists with tools -- just like everyone else
  • The Trolls of Jihad
  • Don't Be Evil: Why Terrorists Love Google Services


  • Sex as a Weapon: The Blurry Line Between Informants and Agents
  • Patriot Games: FBI Undercover Operations And Timothy McVeigh
  • White Paper: PATCON infiltration and Oklahoma City
  • Video: Panel on infiltration, New America Foundation
  • A Nation of Spies and Snitches


  • The Enduring Appeal of Awlaqi's "Constants on the Path of Jihad"
  • The Myth of Anwar Awlaki
  • Gone But Not Forgotten
  • Anwar Al-Awlaki's Links to the September 11 Hijackers
  • Anwar Awlaki's Emails with Fort Hood Shooter
  • U.S. Gave Millions To Charity Linked To Al Qaeda, Anwar Awlaki


  • Omar and Me: My Strange Relationship with an American Jihadi
  • Bum Rap: Omar Hammami Disavows Jihadist Raps
  • Best-Liked on the Most-Wanted
  • Former Jihadist Friend Rips Hammami in Online Post
  • Foreign Policy: Me against the World
  • Omar Hammami and the Trolls of Jihad


  • Newtown and the Doomsday Preppers
  • White Nationalists See Opportunity After Election
  • How the Recession Helps Extremists
  • New York Times: Has threat from hate groups been overlooked?
  • J.M. Berger: Temple shooting suspect linked to Florida terror probe
  • Did You Hear The One About U.S. Internment Camps?
  • Unplaying the Race Card in the Patriot Movement
  • The Evolution of Race in the Patriot Movement


  • Jihad Joe: Americans Who Go to War in the Name of Islam
  • Exclusive: Omar Hammami on why Al Shabab wants to kill him
  • Bun Rap: Omar Hammami Disavows Propaganda Beats
  • The Boy Who Cried Lone Wolf
  • Why U.S. Terrorists Reject the Al Qaeda Playbook
  • Baltimore's Jamaat al-Muslimeen: Radical But Disciplined
  • Al Qaeda's Gun Fixation
  • The History of Chechen Jihadists in Boston


  • FBI's Investigative Files on 9/11
  • CIA records on Al Qaeda and bin Laden
  • Beatings and Bureaucracy: Al Qaeda's Founding Memos
  • State Department Secretly Met With Followers of Blind Sheikh
  • Oklahoma City Bombing Documents
  • Ali Mohamed
  • The Sadat Assassination
  • The Siege at Mecca


    J.M. Berger is a researcher, analyst and writer covering extremism, with a special focus on extremist activities in the U.S. and extremist use of social media. His work has appeared in The New York Times, The Atlantic, The Daily Beast, Foreign Policy, the CTC Sentinel, the New York Daily News and the Boston Globe, and on National Public Radio, Public Radio International and the National Geographic Channel. Berger has discussed terrorism and extremism on CNN, Fox News and many other radio and television outlets.

    In addition to writing for the media, Berger consults on homegrown terrorism, online extremism and how extremists use social media and the Internet. He has presented research for counterterrorism professionals such as the New York City Police Department's Intelligence Division, New Jersey state law enforcement, the National Counterterrorism Center (NCTC), the Homeland Security Policy Institute at George Washington University and more.


    Jihad Joe by J.M. Berger Jihad Joe is the first comprehensive history of the American jihadist movement, tracking the phenomenon from the 1970s to the present. The book has been praised in reviews by the New York Times, Publisher's Weekly, the Washington Times, Redstate.com, Library Journal and more. It is available in hardcover eveywhere books are sold, as well as Kindle, Nook and Google ebook editions.




    Jihad Joe by J.M. BergerJihad Joe: Americans Who Go To War In The Name Of Islam, the critically acclaimed book by INTELWIRE's J.M. Berger, is now available in both Kindle and hardcover editions. Order today! To understand the Americans now fighting in the ranks of the brutal Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, it is important to understand the long and surprising history of American participation in military jihad. Read Jihad Joe, the only comprehensive history of the American jihadist movement, from 1979 through the 21st Century.


  • FRONTLINE: What a Pledge of Allegiance to ISIS Means
  • Al Jazeera: What would Baghdadi's demise mean for ISIL?
  • BOSTON GLOBE: The Jihadi Hunters
  • ABC WORLD NEWS: ISIS Recruits Americans
  • MSNBC: Panel on U.S. options for the Islamic State
  • CNN: Are social media services doing enough about terrorism?
  • MSNBC: The rise of the Islamic State
  • NYT: Iraq Insurgents Reaping Wealth as They Advance
  • NPR: How ISIS uses social media
  • CNN: Social media battle augments Iraq bloodshed
  • CBS: Jihadists on the move with weapons, hashtags
  • Daily Beast: Twitter Snitch Spills ISIS Secrets
  • NBC News: Domestic Terror Task Force 'Overdue'
  • Washington Post: Terror in the American Desert
  • CNN: Are Mass Murderers Using Twitter as a Tool?
  • Fox Business: Does Twitter Have a Terrorism Problem?
  • NY Times: Twitter Suspends Somali Militants' Account
  • Kenya Attack Unfolded in Up and Down Twitter Feeds
  • NPR Weekend Edition: Talking to Omar
  • CNN Newsroom: The Death of Omar Hammami
  • NYT: American Jihadist Believed Killed by Ex-Allies
  • AP: Most Wanted American jihadi killed in Somalia
  • ABC News: American Jihadist Hammami Likely Killed
  • On the Media: How We Made Inspire Magazine Big
  • Buzzfeed: How to Ruin Al Qaeda's Day on Twitter
  • MSNBC: Trolling Al Qaeda
  • Al Jazeera: Online Roots of Radicalization
  • Wired: Here's how far-right extremists recruit online
  • Salon: How to spot a white supremacist on Twitter
  • Vice: Can you be outed as a white supremacist online?
  • AP: US using Twitter, Facebook to fight AQ online
  • Loopcast: Violent extremism and social media
  • New York Times Review of Jihad Joe
  • Publisher's Weekly Review of Jihad Joe
  • More Reviews of Jihad Joe

    Visit NBCNews.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

    The Stream, on Al Jazeera English, hosted a discussion of radicalization with Haris Tarin, director of the Washington office of the Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC); Mubin Shaikh, a former undercover operative with the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS); and Intelwire's J.M. Berger.

    J.M. Berger discussed the Boston Marathon bombing with BBC television and radio, and the Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Berger also wrote about the attack for Foreign Policy and spoke with reporters from The Toronto Star, The Globe and Mail, the Christian Science Monitor, Radio Australia, AFP and many others.

    CNN's Starting Point (above) and Out Front with Erin Burnett invited J.M. Berger to reveal new details about Wisconsin white supremacist shooter Wade Page and his recent encounters with law enforcement sources investigating domestic terrorism.

    Berger was quoted in stories on on Wade Page, the white supremacist who opened fire on a Sikh religious assembly in Oak Creek, Wisc., by the New York Times, the Washington Post, CNN and more.


    New America Foundation panel, "Infiltration and Surveillance: Countering Homegrown Terrorism," with J.M. Berger and Pulitzer Prize-winning reporters Matt Apuzzo and Adam Goldman.


    J.M. Berger was named one of Foreign Policy's Twitterati 100, "the 100 Twitter feeds you need to follow to make sense of" global turmoil and conflict.

    In an exclusive report for Foreign Policy, J.M. Berger reveals the reason that Somalia's Al Shabab wants to kill American jihadist Omar Hammami.

    J.M. Berger's investigative piece Patriot Games: How the FBI spent a decade hunting white supremacists and missed Timothy McVeigh was named a long-form journalism pick of the week from Longform.com.

    INTELWIRE and J.M. Berger were quoted in a New York Times story on the latest Al Qaeda terror scare.


  • Homegrown violent extremism (HVE and CVE)
  • Terrorist and extremist use of the Internet
  • Lone wolf and loosely networked terrorism
  • American jihadists including Anwar Awlaki
  • History of jihadist terrorism in the U.S.
  • History of right-wing extremism in the U.S.
  • Al Qaeda infiltration and targeting of U.S. military
  • Early Al Qaeda history and structure
  • Terrorist tactics and financing
  • Jihadist activity during Bosnian civil war
  • Document research and FOIA


    New York Times: "a timely warning from an expert who has not lost his perspective"

    Washington Times: "How these American jihadists became radicalized, recruited and trained... constitute the core of Mr. Berger's important book."

    Zenpundit: "Berger neither condemns nor excuses: he sees, he asks, he researches, he reports. ... a book to read... a book to admire."

    Redstate.com: "well-researched and incredibly accessibly presented history of American involvement in violent jihad."

    Publisher's Weekly: "lifts the veil on the phenomenon of American jihadists..."

    Library Journal: "an easy read... the better choice for those seeking ... objective [journalism]."

    Buy "Jihad Joe" now!