PET agent Morten Storm, who detailed last week how he infiltrated al-Qaeda’s inner circle and directly contributed to the targeted killing of American-born terrorist Anwar al-Awlaki, was an agitator who attempted to radicalise Muslim youth in England, a Birmingham community leader has told The Copenhagen Post.
According to Abu-Eesa Asif, the host of a weekly radio programme on Muslim issues and a leader in the local Muslim community, Storm was an “infiltrator” with “an incorrect understanding” of Islam who attempted to incite the youth of Birmingham into becoming radicals.
“I treated him like any Muslim would, fed him at my house and helped him when he needed help. This man was my friend and he let many people down,” Asif told The Copenhagen Post. “[Storm] helped to brainwash many with [the blessing of] PET, CIA and MI5.”
Asif served as a religious advisor of sorts to Storm and said that in the roughly year and a half that the Dane lived in Birmingham, the two would often engage in deep, prolonged discussions about Islam.
“He did not have a correct understanding of Islam,” Asif said. “He held very extremist views.”
Asif contends that while in Birmingham, Storm would seek out impressionable youth and attempt to get them to adopt his more radical views. Many members of the local Muslim community were sceptical of Storm, and the possibility that he was a spy was discussed, but ultimately dismissed by Asif.
Asif also alleges that Storm sold drugs to teens in the Birmingham Muslim community. Storm told Asif that he discussed his drug-dealing with al-Awlaki, who encouraged him to stop. Asif, however, thinks that Storm continued to sell drugs.
Asif also said that Storm was prone to fits of violent rage that often led to fights.
In one incident, Asif said that Storm had a large truck parked outside his residence advertising his outdoor survival company, Storm Bushcraft. When a neighbour complained about the truck, Storm “flew into a rage” and threatened the neighbour’s life. Asif said Storm would often appear with bruises and cuts after getting into fights.
And, Asif argues, Storm did all of his drug dealing, fighting and radicalising while on the payroll of PET.
“For him, it was all about money,” Asif said. “He sold himself to the CIA and PET. Remember, he is the one who approached PET. He said it was because he had a change in his religious views, but Morten Storm was just out for money.”
Asif believes that Storm arrived in Birmingham as a paid agent of PET, with the knowledge of the British intelligence agency MI5 and the American intelligence agency CIA.
“He did a lot of travelling, to Denmark, to Yemen and so on,” Asif said. “How could he afford this when he didn’t even have a job? He claimed his mother had won the lottery.”
Before moving to Birmingham in 2010, Storm lived in Luton, England, and the stories coming out of there largely mirror Asif’s telling.
Farasat Latif, a spokesperson for the Luton Islamic Centre, told Politiken newspaper that Storm tried to radicalise and militarise the Muslim community there as well.
“He promoted active radicalisation in Luton. There is no doubt about that,” Latif told Politiken. “He said that he wanted people to become militant. He encouraged a violent revolution against, in his eyes, corrupt foreign leaders.”
Latif said that Storm went as far as to create a splinter group in opposition to the Luton Islamic Centre because the centre disavowed the actions of al-Awlaki and Osama bin Laden. Storm would stand outside the local mosque and distribute a book he had put together with Jihadist language he found on the internet.
British newspaper The Independent spoke to Muslims in Luton who said they often had to help Storm purchase necessities like nappies. The newspaper also discovered that Storm skipped out on his Luton residence without paying his rent.
But when Storm came to Birmingham, Asif says, his money situation had suddenly changed.
“He arrived in Birmingham with tonnes of money,” Asif said. “He liked to flaunt it, often paying for others when out on the town.”
Asif believes that the change in Storm’s financial fortunes was due to being directly funded by PET.
Asif characterised Storm as a generally loud, boisterous man and said he wasn’t surprised that Storm took his story to Jyllands-Posten newspaper.
“He had already exposed himself to many people, as he had a big mouth,” Asif said.
Storm often bragged about his connection to al-Awlaki, who at the time of his killing in September 2011 was a high-ranking member of al-Qaeda who had used his American connections and English skills to recruit militant Islamists online. Asif said he had seen Storm with the USB memory stick that he used to pass messages back and forth with al-Awlaki and is “99.9 percent sure that [Storm] led the CIA to al-Awlaki”.
Asif played a recording for The Copenhagen Post that he claims is a Skype conversation between Storm and al-Awlaki. A third party confirmed to The Copenhagen Post that voices on the recording are those of Storm and al-Awlaki.
Asif told The Copenhagen Post that he felt the need to come forward because he was upset that Storm had deceived so many Muslims in England and because he feels Storm is just out for both attention and money.
“I will now openly speak out against all of these people even if it costs me my life,” Asif said.
For his part, Storm said that after contacting PET in 2006 and offering his services, he had to keep up the appearance of being a radical Muslim so as not to blow his cover.
According to criminal law experts that spoke with Politiken, if the various allegations against Storm are correct he overstepped the legal boundaries for secret agents.