Danish Man: I Planted CIA Tracking Device on Awlaki
A Danish man claims he worked with the CIA to infiltrate al Qaeda as a double agent and helped track radical cleric Anwar al-Awlaki, a prominent al Qaeda propagandist, until Awlaki was killed in an American drone strike.
The 36-year-old Dane, who calls himself Morten Storm, told Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten that he cultivated a relationship with the US-born Awlaki in Yemen over several years, then helped the CIA plant the tracking device that led to Awlaki's death. The report has been quoted by the Washington Post, ABC News and other English language publications.
Storm said he sent Awlaki a USB stick that contained a tracking device that eventually allowed an American drone to take him out in September 2011.
Both the CIA and the Danish intelligence service declined to confirm or deny the account.
Storm has supplied the Danish newspaper with copies of alleged e-mail exchanges with Awlaki, and what he says is a secret audio recording of a meeting with a CIA officer last year in which the targeting of Awlaki was discussed.
Storm said he had been a radical militant Islamist in Britain in the mid-2000s, but that he was turned by Danish intelligence agency PET in 2006.
He said he traveled to Yemen several times and eventually earned Awlaki's trust, so much so that the cleric would ask Storm to purchase everyday goods for his wife, incluyding clothes and perfume.
A statement from PET did not deny or confirm the report. "It should be noted, however, that in no way does PET engage in or support operations aimed at taking civilian lives. Consequently, PET has not contributed in connection to the military operation that led to the killing of Anwar al-Awlaki in Yemen," the statement said.
The CIA declined to comment and a White House official did not immediately return requests for comment on this report.
Storm told the Danish newspaper he wanted to come forward now because he was proud of the work he had done and wanted some recognition. Bruce Riedel, a former CIA officer and contributor to The Daily Beast, said that for the most part, Storm's account seems plausible.