60 MINUTES, CBS, previews & teasers
The CIA was able to target one of the world's most wanted terrorists because of information provided by a Danish spy who had gotten so close to the U.S. enemy that he was asked to procure him a third wife, says former spy Morten Storm about the controversial drone-strike in Yemen last year that killed the American-born Muslim cleric Anwar al Awlaki. Storm tells his story to Lara Logan in his first U.S. television interview to be broadcast on 60 MINUTES on Sunday, Dec. 30 (7:30-8:30 PM, ET/7:00-8:00 PM, PT) on the CBS Television Network. Get a sneak peek below!
There were few terrorists the CIA wanted to catch more than Awlaki, who preached jihad against the U.S. in English over the Internet. Awlaki plotted with "underwear bomber" Umar Farouk Abdulutallab and influenced U.S. Army Major Nidal Hasan, charged with killing 13 at Ft. Hood, Texas, in a terrorist attack. Storm has come forward because he says the CIA will not give him credit or pay him a reward for his role in Awlaki's death. But Storm is convinced his mission on behalf of Danish intelligence and the CIA to make contact with Awlaki after the terrorist had disappeared in the Yemeni desert, was the conduit for the missile that killed him.
"No. There is no doubt [my efforts led to his death]," he tells Logan. "It was a lot of joyment [sic], I say, because it's good he died anyway. It is good."
Awlaki had become the head of Al-Qaeda in Yemen and was planning more attacks. "At that moment, Anwar needed to die by any means. He needed to be stopped," says Storm, a former criminal who converted to Islam in a Danish prison in the 1990s.
Storm's conversion led to his journey to Yemen, where he learned Arabic, became radicalized, married, and had children, naming one of them for Osama bin Laden after the 9/11 attacks. He says he met Awlaki in 2006. "I liked him because of his views of jihad, because that was my view as well."
Sometime after, he says he had an epiphany. "I typed on my keyboard on my laptop, 'Contradictions in the Koran.' ...what I believed in for those 10 years suddenly was just ripped away from me. I discovered that it was all fake," says Storm. Pressed by Logan for an explanation for such a sudden change, he replies, "That can actually happen... it was an emotional rollercoaster."