The Hunt for KSM

Inside the Pursuit and Takedown of the Real 9/11 Mastermind, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed


By Terry McDermott

By Josh Meyer

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The definitive account of the decade-long pursuit and capture of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the terrorist mastermind of 9/11.

Only minutes after United 175 plowed into the World Trade Center’s South Tower, people in positions of power correctly suspected who was behind the assault: Osama bin Laden and Al Qaeda. But it would be 18 months after September 11 before investigators would capture the actual mastermind of the attacks, the man behind bin Laden himself.

That monster is the man who got his hands dirty while Osama fled; the man who was responsible for setting up Al Qaeda’s global networks, who personally identified and trained its terrorists, and who personally flew bomb parts on commercial airlines to test their invisibility. That man withstood waterboarding and years of other intense interrogations, not only denying Osama’s whereabouts but making a literal game of the proceedings, after leading his pursuers across the globe and back. That man is Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, and he is still, to this day, the most significant Al Qaeda terrorist in captivity.

In The Hunt for KSM, Terry McDermott and Josh Meyer go deep inside the US government’s dogged but flawed pursuit of this elusive and dangerous man. One pair of agents chased him through countless false leads and narrow escapes for five years before 9/11. And now, drawing on a decade of investigative reporting and unprecedented access to hundreds of key sources, many of whom have never spoken publicly — as well as jihadis and members of KSM’s family and support network — this is a heart-pounding trip inside the dangerous, classified world of counterterrorism and espionage.


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Throughout the modern age of terror, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed has had the eerie ability to be at its center yet glimpsed only in the margins. He's been the ghost of our times.

In New York in 1993, he was nothing but a name at the other end of a modest contribution to a bomb maker's bank account. In Manila in 1994, he was again little more than a name, this time in a fax file buried in a laptop computer. In Qatar, he was the terror plotter who got away. In the months leading up to 9/11, he became an increasingly worrisome presence in the data raked into the nation's intelligence trough. He took on different names, different histories. None of it connected. None of it brought him out into the light. As time went on, he remained on the outside edge of anybody's ability to know quite who he was.

The art of investigation is in part the art of seeing, of finding a place to stand so that you can see. To see a ghost presents a special kind of problem. The American intelligence apparatus, under the right conditions and armed with the right information, can perform stunts Hollywood would be hard-pressed to imagine. It can zero in on a single man standing in front of a single cave in the farthest reaches of the Hindu Kush; it can extract a conversation from the back bedroom of a fourth-floor walk-up in old, crumbling Cairo. It is a wondrous thing. Still, it is not magic; it needs a place to start, a place to stand. For six full months following the September 11 attacks on New York and Washington, half a year after four hijacked airliners had claimed nearly three thousand victims, the system had not yet found that point. The full and sustained efforts of the mighty American intelligence-gathering machine had yet to yield enough information to produce a single living man who was in any fundamental way responsible for the attacks.

It wasn't that the` assumed perpetrators were unknown. The machine had identified a fairly long list of suspects. In fact, within minutes of the moment, 9:03:02 EDT, to be precise, when Marwan al-Shehhi, an anonymous young son of an Emirati prayer caller, plowed United 175 high into the World Trade Center's South Tower—the moment, that is, when it seemed certain the airline crashes on that sparkling lower Manhattan morning defied coincidence and almost certainly were not accidents—people in positions of power correctly suspected who was behind the assault: Osama bin Laden and his Al Qaeda organization.

Six months later, a war had been launched, a government toppled, and victory all but proclaimed. Yet the net remained empty of big fish. This was not for lack of clues or want of trying. An army had been unleashed. Agents from the Federal Bureau of Investigation chased tens of thousands of dead-end leads from coast to coast. The Central Intelligence Agency scoured the farthest reaches of the globe. And in the even darker reaches of space, the invisible web of satellites operated by the National Security Agency, National Reconnaissance Office, and the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency caught and sifted billions of bits of data, telephone conversations, Internet chat, and e-mail, and captured thousands of images. Other friendly organizations spanning the planet churned out their own steady storms of data. No, there was no shortage of information. There was too much—a blizzard of it, a whiteout so complete investigators routinely lost their way within it.

The nation's leaders and its security agents were beside themselves in their ignorance. One investigator described it as overpowering: "The amount of intel that was coming through was immense, and it was raw intel. We'd been used to looking at the processed stuff. We'd get an overnight [cable] about a bomb plot at six a.m. from NSA, and then by eight a.m. it'd be processed and it'd be nothing. You were overwhelmed by it."1 Everyone was petrified of the next attack, which they knew in their bones was imminent. They vowed to do whatever was necessary to stop it, but they really didn't know as much as they thought they did about who had produced the first assault. Al Qaeda, yes, about that all doubt had been obliterated. Bin Laden publicly crowed about his triumph. Between bin Laden at the top and the dead foot soldiers—the hijackers themselves—at the bottom, however, was a void.

We learned about the man who filled that void, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, not long past the day that many 9/11 investigators had first learned themselves. There was an invitation from a source to attend the retirement dinner of an agent from the FBI's vaunted I-49 international terrorism squad in New York, which had spent the past eight years tracking Mohammed. The dinner adjourned to a raucous bar, where FBI, police, and firefighters had been gathering in the months since 9/11—to circle the wagons, to commiserate about setbacks, and to celebrate small victories. As the graybeards of the New York field office drank and laughed and toasted the newly liberated retiree, the doors of the bar swung open and in swaggered a group of about a dozen much younger agents. It was the PENTTBOM squad, the mostly inexperienced agents who had been given the daunting task of conducting the actual criminal investigation into the attacks on New York and Washington. There was an agreement between journalist and agents not to discuss the investigation that night. But a few hours of drinks later, an agent was asked for any crumb of information he could provide. A tip. A direction to go in. Maybe even a name. The agent thought about it for a minute, looked around to ensure that he was not being overheard, and said in a stage whisper, "Khalid Sheikh Mohammed."

In the ten years since, we followed those agents as they attempted to follow Mohammed. We soon learned that tracking the story of a ghost is not a great deal different from tracking the ghost himself. Khalid Sheikh Mohammed was the enigmatic empty center of every story he was in, always hidden behind the curtains, a wizard in his Oz.

Bringing KSM into focus—at least enough to learn who he was—took investigators years. Finding him took more time yet, and even after he had finally been run to ground he remained hidden. This time, his hiding places were furnished by the U.S. government. At the time of publication, KSM will have been in American custody for nine years, and still his story—and that of his pursuers—remains untold. There is a good chance his full story will never be told in an official venue. For reasons that perplex even its best friends, the United States has kept Mohammed in the shadows of its secret prisons for so long it seems likely he can now never be fully exposed to the light for fear of what he might say about what went on in the darkness. In the meantime, as myths tend to do when the truth is hidden, his legend has grown to mountainous heights and the sometimes heroic stories of those who pursued him have been banished.

We have attempted here to lure the ghost on stage, to dress him in his natural clothing, and to place him and those who fought him nearer the center of the events of the last two decades, many of which he set in motion.

The Hunters and the Hunted

Matthew Besheer Former New York and New Jersey Port Authority detective and member of New York Joint Terrorism Task Force; currently police officer, Punta Gorda, Florida
Michael Garcia Former assistant U.S. attorney, Southern District of New York; currently in private practice in New York City
Stephen Gaudin FBI special agent; currently FBI legal attaché, overseas
Robert Grenier CIA station chief, Islamabad, Pakistan; currently private security consultant, Washington, D.C.
Jennifer Keenan Former FBI assistant legal attaché, Islamabad, Pakistan; currently assistant special agent in charge for national security, Minneapolis, Minnesota field office
John Kiriakou Former CIA agent; currently private security consultant, Washington, D.C.
John O'Neill Former head of counterterrorism, FBI; killed at World Trade Center on 9/11
Francis J. "Frank" Pellegrino FBI special agent; KSM case officer, New York City
Michael Scheuer Former head of Alec Station, CIA; currently a writer living in Virginia
Dieter Snell Former assistant U.S. attorney, currently in private practice in New York City
Ali Soufan Former FBI special agent; currently private security consultant, New York City
Mary Jo White Former U.S. attorney, Southern District of New York; currently in private practice in New York City
Ali Abdul Aziz Ali (Ammar al-Baluchi) KSM nephew, helped arrange financing for hijackers; Guantánamo prisoner
Mohamad Farik Amin Senior member of Al Qaeda; currently imprisoned at Guantánamo
Ramzi bin al-Shibh (Omar) Yemeni member of the Hamburg cell; volunteered as 9/11 pilot; never able to receive visa to enter U.S.; became KSM's contact to the hijackers; currently imprisoned at Guantánamo
Walid bin Attash (Khallad) Veteran Yemeni Al Qaeda operative, nominated by Osama bin Laden to take part in 9/11 attacks; unable to participate due to difficulty obtaining visa; currently in Guantánamo
Iyman Faris Pakistani American truck driver; KSM recruited to blow up bridges, other targets in U.S.; imprisoned in U.S.
Christian Ganczarski German Al Qaeda recruit; helped KSM coordinate Djerba synagogue bombing; imprisoned in France
Mohammed Amin al-Ghafari Associate of Mohammed Jamal Khalifa; active in Philippine charity organizations; managing director of Konsojaya shell company used by Manila conspirators; currently living in Australia
Rusman "Gun Gun" Gunawan Brother of Jemaah Islamiyah leader Hambali; convicted of facilitating and aiding terrorism; currently imprisoned in Indonesia
Mustafa al-Hawsawi 9/11 hijacker facilitator and Al Qaeda accountant; captured with KSM; currently imprisoned at Guantánamo
Nawaf al-Hazmi Nominated by bin Laden as 9/11 hijacker; deceased
Riduan Isamuddin, aka Hambali Indonesian who organized and led Jemaah Islamiyah, Al Qaeda's Southeast Asian affiliate. Longtime ally of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed.
Mohammed Mansour Jabarah Young Kuwaiti Canadian Al Qaeda recruit, sent by KSM to Southeast Asia to distribute money and plot attacks; imprisoned in U.S.
Abdul Karim Abdul Karim (Musaad Aruchi) Abdul Basit's brother; went to university in U.S. with KSM, assisted him in Pakistan after 9/11; arrested in Pakistan in 2004; whereabouts unknown
Mohammed Jamal Khalifa Saudi businessman, brother-in-law of Osama bin Laden; led NGOs and financed radical Islamists in Southeast Asia; associate of Abdul Basit, Wali Khan; deceased
Muhammad Naeem Noor Khan (Abu Talha al-Pakistani) Pakistani computer engineer; KSM associate alleged to have helped plan attacks in London; arrested 2004, released from prison in Pakistan in 2007, no further information
Wali Khan Amin Shah Afghan Manila Air plot coconspirator, bin Laden associate from the anti-Soviet jihad; currently imprisoned in U.S.
Konsojaya Trading Company Shell company in Malaysia with ties to KSM and numerous associates; supported terrorist plots in Southeast Asia, in particular the Manila Air plot
Khalid al-Mihdhar Saudi Al Qaeda operative nominated to 9/11 plot by bin Laden; hijacker; deceased
Khalid Sheikh Mohammed (Mukhtar, KSM) Kuwaiti citizen of Pakistani descent; mastermind of 9/11 and numerous other plots; captured in Pakistan in March of 2003; currently imprisoned at Guantánamo
Ibrahim Muneer (Abdul Majid) Saudi businessman, associate of Abdul Basit in Manila; whereabouts unknown
Abdul Hakim Murad Kuwaiti national of Pakistani descent; childhood friend of Abdul Basit; Manila Air coconspirator; currently imprisoned in U.S.
Saifullah Paracha Pakistani businessman, associate of KSM; accused of holding Al Qaeda funds; currently imprisoned at Guantánamo
Uzair Paracha Saifullah Paracha's son, assisted KSM sleeper agent in U.S.; currently imprisoned in U.S.
Adil Qadoos Brother of the man in whose house KSM was captured; Pakistani army major arrested in Pakistan in 2003 on suspicion of ties to KSM; court-martialed, currently imprisoned in Pakistan
Ahmed Qadoos Resident of the house where KSM was captured in 2003; arrested with KSM by Pakistani authorities; released within the week
Mohammed al-Qahtani Saudi Al Qaeda member, sent to U.S. by KSM as the twentieth hijacker; never cleared customs, sent back to the Mideast; captured after 9/11; imprisoned in Guantánamo
Jack Roche British-born Al Qaeda recruit from Australia; confessed to plotting attacks in Australia; released from prison in 2007, currently lives in Australia
Mohammed Amein al-Sanani Mohammed Jamal Khalifa associate in Philippines in 1994, member of board of Konsojaya shell company, Wali Khan associate; currently living in Australia
Adnan el-Shukrijumah Saudi-born Florida resident sent to U.S. by KSM as sleeper agent to await further instructions; tasked with casing potential targets, including Wall Street and the Panama Canal; whereabouts unknown
Aafia Siddiqui American-educated Pakistani woman with science degrees from Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Brandeis University; suspected KSM associate; convicted of assault against American interrogators; currently in prison in U.S.
Abdullah bin Khalid al-Thani Qatari minister of the interior, former minister of religious affairs; member of Qatari royal family; aided jihadis, including KSM, who was given an engineering position in the Qatari Ministry of Electricity and Water
Abu Bara al-Yemeni (Abu Bara al-Taiz) Yemeni nominated by Osama bin Laden to take part in 9/11 attacks; unable to participate due to difficulty obtaining visa; currently in Guantánamo

A note on names: Because Arabic contains few vowels, transliteration of names is complex and often variable. We have tried to use the most common spellings. In the case of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed we have used the spelling he uses.



Faisalabad, Pakistan, March 2002

In the late autumn of 2001, just as the first fresh snows fell, the American military with its NATO and Afghan allies thundered into Al Qaeda's Afghanistan redoubts; the foot soldiers of the terror organization, when still alive and able, largely fled rather than stand and fight. "It wasn't a highly sophisticated effort," said one American intelligence operative.1 "They were running around like roaches with the lights on, [having] totally miscalculated in terms of how the U.S. would respond." Some had gone into hiding in the southeastern highlands of Afghanistan, but most had fled overland to Pakistan, hiking through the mountain passes that connect the two countries or taking the roundabout route through Iran. Many traveled on beyond Pakistan. Others stayed.

Pakistan was hardly foreign territory to the Al Qaeda fighters. Some had come from there originally; some had been based there during the long war against the Soviet Union; still others had been educated and trained there. Almost all had transited through Pakistan more than once. They knew the place. Something more than familiarity, too, made Pakistan a likely refuge. The country was woven through with a network of jihadi fighters, organizations, and sympathizers. Militant groups had been a feature of Pakistani life almost since the beginning of the nation. The original and persistent reason for their existence had been to oppose India's efforts to control Kashmir, which Pakistan claimed as its own. The Pakistani government, particularly its principal spy organization, the infamous Inter-Services Intelligence directorate, the ISI, had blessed and supported the jihad movements in this role, legitimizing them. In many cases, ISI had created, trained, and equipped them.

Additionally, since the 1980s, there had been a Sunni-Shiite proxy war within Pakistan funded on opposing sides by Arab states in the Gulf, mainly Saudi Arabia, and Iran. An American diplomat in the region at the time described that struggle as "the confrontation to see who was going to be the dominant force in the Muslim world."2 The intermingling of the original Kashmiri jihadis, the Gulf-Iran sectarian recruits, the later-arriving fighters focused on Afghanistan, and finally Al Qaeda and the Taliban had resulted in an indecipherable—and volatile—mess. Authorities were no longer sure what anyone was fighting for, and sometimes, it seemed, neither were the jihadis. Lack of clear purpose, unfortunately, had done nothing to reduce the fervor or the deadly results. Pakistan for decades had been at war with itself.

This underlayer of violent extremism was particularly strong in the Punjab, Pakistan's rich central province, from which many of the early Kashmiri jihadis had been drawn. Faisalabad, a sprawling industrial and agricultural center of five million in the heart of the province, had been the home office of almost every significant sectarian jihadi group in the country at one time or another. So it wasn't a great shock to intelligence operatives when they received word in mid-March of 2002 that the city might be harboring Al Qaeda fighters.

NSA's computers had collected a string of intercepts that led CIA analysts to believe that a group of jihadis had holed up in Punjab. An intercepted phone call indicated that one of the group might be a man known as Abu Zubaydah, who had long-standing and close ties to the terror group's inner circle of leadership. The estimation of Zubaydah's precise role within Al Qaeda had frequently changed over the previous decade and even then remained fuzzy to the Americans. They nonetheless viewed him as a major figure, one who would know important Al Qaeda secrets. And he would certainly know the most important one—where was the next attack going to be?

The intercepts were inexact about precisely where Zubaydah and his cohorts were. John Kiriakou had arrived in Islamabad a month earlier as a TDYer, or temporary duty assignee, to help lead the CIA's counterterrorism operations in the country. He'd been begging for an Afghanistan posting since September 11, and the Pakistan job came open as he was threatening to resign if not deployed immediately. He was a fluent Arabic speaker and that alone gave him real value, as did his time chasing terrorists in the Gulf and in Greece.

The agency had a clever piece of hardware called "the Magic Box" that could send out an electronic signal keyed to a particular telephone. If it found the phone within range, a ping would be sent back to the device. The agency had Zubaydah's electronic signature from NSA. So for two weeks agents drove around Lahore and Faisalabad pinging for the phone, from two in the morning until dawn, when they thought Zubaydah was most likely to be using it. They made very little progress. The phone they were hunting appeared never to be in the same place two nights running.

One of the agency's top analysts was also TDY'd from Langley to help pinpoint Zubaydah's location. The analyst, Deuce Martinez, was regarded as one of the best "targeters" the agency had. He had arrived for the latest of several stints, just in time for the morning shift after a marathon day of flying. Martinez was told who the target was, and how the intel they had received was so vague as to render it almost useless.

Martinez went to work immediately. He put Zubaydah's name in the center of an analytical report and then added lines radiating outward, representing NSA signals, ground intel, e-mails, and whatever else he could find—phone numbers of people Zubaydah had called or who had called him, and a second layer of calls made by and to the people he had talked to. He used a link-analysis computer program to build images of networks from the raw data. He drew his own crude reconstruction of the analysis on a huge piece of butcher paper pinned to a wall inside the CIA's rooms in the Islamabad embassy. In a few weeks, Martinez had narrowed the range to fourteen distinct addresses that stood out as the most likely sites. Ten of the sites were in Faisalabad, four in Lahore.

Unable to further identify the location and unwilling to wait and risk letting Zubaydah slip away—or, worse, letting him launch an attack—Kiriakou's boss, the CIA Islamabad station chief, Bob Grenier, decided to hit the fourteen sites simultaneously. The mission was so large and expensive he had to get the okay from Langley before launching it. Permission was granted and a planeload of equipment, agents, and weapons was flown in. Three dozen American CIA and FBI agents were rounded up to take part, and one of each was paired with an officer from the ISI. It was an extraordinary number of people for a clandestine operation, but even with that they needed help. They persuaded their Pakistani counterparts to provide the rest of the manpower for their little army. The Pakistanis agreed. It was a huge undertaking with a greater chance of chaos and failure than success.

With the local knowledge the Pakistanis provided, the Americans scouted the sites as well as they could. Two of the Lahore sites turned out to be bad matches—one was a kebab stand, the other an all-girls' school. Many of the remaining sites were mud huts. Two of the Faisalabad prospects, however, were particularly interesting. One large house was curious because the shutters and windows were kept closed at all hours. Even in March, Faisalabad is hot and humid, and keeping everything shut up made no sense. Another property seemed odd because it appeared to be a vacant lot. How could phone calls be made from a vacant lot?3

The Pakistanis assisting the Americans explained that in many large cities in their country, each physical property is assigned a telephone number. Whether it is occupied or not, wires are strung so that it can be activated quickly and cheaply when the time comes. One of the Pakistanis climbed the nearest pole and found that the wire assigned to the vacant lot had been spliced and a second line was run to the three-story house next door.

"We got 'em," one of the other agents told Kiriakou.

On the night of the raids, the Pakistanis provided two big buses to take the strike teams from Islamabad to Lahore. At a safe house there, they were divided into site teams of four men each—one CIA agent, one FBI agent, and two Pakistanis. After everyone assembled in one room, Kiriakou climbed on a tabletop, and ordered everyone to synchronize watches—just like in the movies. The two Lahore teams transferred to small trucks and the rest took off for Faisalabad, another two hours down the road. The mission nearly ended right there. The highway to Faisalabad is a toll road and the lead car blew through the first tollbooth without paying. The Pakistani police chased it down and pulled it over. The whole caravan, including two buses full of guys in shalwar kameez bristling with weapons and communications gear, had to pull over and sit there and wait until the local cops were persuaded to let the lead car go.

They launched the attacks in the pitch-black two o'clock hour of March 28. The teams stormed the suspected hideouts without warnings of any sort, the Pakistanis going in first. CIA and FBI officials had set up a command post at a safe house in a central location in Faisalabad. They were waiting there in the dark when they began to hear the sounds of a gun battle coming from the direction of the house with the stolen telephone connection. Kiriakou and another CIA officer raced to the house, a pale peach three-story stucco home built behind high walls in the upper-middle-class Shahbaz Town district.

The Pakistan Rangers had rammed through an outer gate and the ground-floor doors, making a racket and igniting a full-scale firefight. By the time Kiriakou arrived, at least one of the residents was already dead. Under attack, three men attempted to flee. They ran to the top floor of the house, then tried to escape by leaping from the house to the one next door. They were spotted from below, pursued, engaged, and shot. One man was dead by the time he hit the ground. Another was screaming in pain, alive but incapacitated. The third man was wounded in the groin, abdomen, and thigh, and was bleeding profusely. Kiriakou wasn't certain, but thought there was an excellent chance the wounded man was Zubaydah. He called Martinez for advice on how to identify the man. Martinez suggested photographing his iris, but the man's eyes were rolled back in his head. Martinez said to photograph his ear, the configuration of which is as unique to each individual as a fingerprint. Kiriakou took a cell-phone photo of the ear and e-mailed it immediately to Islamabad, where it was ID'd as probably belonging to Zubaydah.4

One of the Pakistani officers, aggrieved at having one of his men shot, offered to administer justice to Zubaydah on the spot. Kiriakou was firm; he had to deliver the prisoner alive. He stopped the execution.

The men in Zubaydah's house never knew what hit them. At least ten were taken into custody. They had been living in the house for weeks. Beyond just hiding out there, Zubaydah had directed that classes in basic English and electronic bomb construction be conducted inside. He was also trying to arrange for new identity papers to be delivered to them. Among the cache of materials seized in the raid were telephones, stolen and forged passports from a dozen countries—including Somalia and Colombia—bomb-making manuals, military textbooks, diaries, videos, and cassette recordings. The materials were packed off to the embassy in Islamabad, scanned, photographed, and shipped back to Washington, D.C. The CIA team quickly bundled the wounded Zubaydah into the back end of a Toyota pickup, then raced to a local hospital, which was a mess—bugs entered freely from windows left open against the heat, geckos scrambled across the walls, the floor ran with blood and bodily fluids. Needles were cleaned by plunging them into a bar of soap prior to injection. The Americans deposited their dying prisoner on a bed and used a sheet to tie him to the frame, hoping to prevent any attempt at escape.

In the midst of this chaos, a cell phone started ringing. Over and over again. It didn't belong to any of the agents. The Americans soon realized it was Zubaydah's phone, which was in a sealed evidence bag in the room. The FBI, seeking to secure all the evidence from what they regarded as a crime scene, had stowed the phone in the sealed bag to be shipped away with the rest of the materials gathered at the scene. There it remained. Kiriakou and another CIA agent were eager to see who was calling Zubaydah, but they could do nothing but listen as the phone rang unanswered inside its evidence bag.


On Sale
Mar 26, 2012
Page Count
368 pages

Terry McDermott

About the Author

Josh Meyer is the former chief terrorism reporter for the Los Angeles Times and has reported on international terrorism for more than a decade­. His “Inside Al Qaeda” series was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize and he has twice been part of teams that have won the Pulitzer Prize for security reporting. Meyer is also a screenwriter and television producer, who co-created (with Michael Connelly), wrote and produced the network TV crime drama Level 9. He currently is on the faculty of the Medill School of Journalism, where he is director of education and outreach for the school’s groundbreaking National Security Journalism Initiative based in Washington, D.C.

Terry McDermott is the author of Perfect Soldiers (HarperCollins, 2005), and 101 Theory Drive (Pantheon, 2010). His work has appeared in the New Yorker, the Wilson Quarterly, Columbia Journalism Review, the Los Angeles Times Magazine, and Pacific Magazine. McDermott worked at eight newspapers for more than thirty years, most recently for ten years at the Los Angeles Times, where he was a national correspondent.

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