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Killing the Killers

Killing the Killers Summary

In Killing The Killers, #1 bestselling authors Bill O'Reilly and Martin Dugard take readers deep inside the global war on terror, which began more than twenty years ago on September 11, 2001.

As the World Trade Center buildings collapsed, the Pentagon burned, and a small group of passengers fought desperately to stop a third plane from completing its deadly flight plan, America went on war footing. Killing The Killers narrates America's intense global war against extremists who planned and executed not only the 9/11 attacks, but hundreds of others in America and around the world, and who eventually destroyed entire nations in their relentless quest for power.

Killing The Killers moves from Afghanistan to Iraq, Iran to Yemen, Syria, and Libya, and elsewhere, as the United States fought Al Qaeda, ISIS, and the Iranian Revolutionary Guard, as well as individually targeting the most notorious leaders of these groups. With fresh detail and deeply-sourced information, O'Reilly and Dugard create an unstoppable account of the most important war of our era.

Killing The Killers is the most thrilling and suspenseful book in the #1 bestselling series of popular history books (over 18 million sold) in the world.

About the Author

BILL O’REILLY’s success in broadcasting and publishing is unmatched. He was the iconic anchor of The O'Reilly Factor, the highest-rated cable news broadcast in the nation for 16 consecutive years. His website is followed by millions all over the world, his No Spin News is broadcast weekday nights at 8 and 11 (ET) on The First TV, and his O’Reilly Update is heard on weekdays on more than 225 radio stations across the country.

He has authored an astonishing seventeen #1 bestsellers; his historical Killing series is the bestselling nonfiction series of all time, with over 18 million books in print. O’Reilly has received a number of journalism accolades, including three Emmys and two Emmy nominations. He holds a History degree from Marist College, a master's degree in Broadcast Journalism from Boston University, and a master’s degree from Harvard’s John F. Kennedy School of Government. O’Reilly lives on Long Island where he was raised. His philanthropic enterprises have raised tens of millions for people in need and wounded American veterans.

MARTIN DUGARD is the New York Times bestselling author of several books of history, among them the Killing series, Into Africa, and The Explorers. He and his wife live in Southern California with their three sons.

Killing the Killers Introduction

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

AUGUST 19, 2014



The condemned man kneels on the rocky ground in an orange jumpsuit. He is emaciated and barefoot, hands cuffed behind his back. The bright sun casts strong shadows. The landscape around him is nothing but beige desert hills—no vegetation, no sign of life. The garish prison garb is intentional, a mocking reminder of the uniform captured terrorists are forced to wear at America’s Guantánamo Bay prison.

The executioner is clad in all black, face covered by a balaclava. He stands behind the condemned, right hand gripping his shoulder, left fist clutching a long steel-bladed knife. Both men know that a video crew is recording every word and movement. The desert backdrop offers absolutely no clue to the location of the grisly scene now being filmed.

James Foley is a good man. He stares straight into the camera. His head and face are shaved. Foley is forty and Catholic, raised in New Hampshire, a freelance journalist with a long history of covering war in the Middle East. Almost two years ago, on November 22, 2012, Foley was taken hostage by a Muslim militia while covering the Syrian Civil War. His hired driver and translator were not kidnapped, but fellow journalist John Cantile was also abducted with Foley.*

It is often said that prostitution is the oldest profession in the world, but in the Middle East that title goes to kidnapping. The motives of terror kidnappers are many, among them seeking to trumpet their atrocities, to influence foreign powers to remove their armed forces, and to convince corporations to do business elsewhere.

But the prime reason is money. Ransom payments raise millions to fund insurgent movements. This “hostage terrorism” makes it almost suicidal for foreign journalists and aid workers to do their jobs in places like Syria. And yet they still come, from nations all around the world, their caution overridden by a desire to find information or save lives in conditions where the term “adventure” does not begin to describe the danger. While some reporters think themselves brave and noble for pursuing this work, many officials from their home countries marvel at their naïveté and label them “useful idiots.”

But for James Foley, covering war was his profession, risks and all. “I had done several tours as an embedded reporter with US troops in Iraq and Afghanistan. So, for me, the frontlines felt natural. And I believed it was my job,” he has written.

At the time of their kidnappings, James Foley and John Cantile knew the risks of this hostile war zone, both men having previously been taken hostage and subsequently released. Foley was kidnapped in North Africa in 2011, while covering the fall of Libyan strongman Muammar al-Gaddhafi.

“I woke up in a white washed cell, grimed with streaks of either blood or feces, or both. Sun peeked through from a barred window high on the back wall,” Foley wrote of his first morning as a hostage in Libya. “I spent the whole day thinking and trying to sleep, my mind wandering between anguish and confusion. I was given rice dishes with no silverware. I ate greedily with my hands.”

The journalist spent forty-four days being beaten and mistreated before his release. He went home to New Hampshire afterward, speaking openly about his time as a hostage. But despite his experiences, and well knowing the risks, he chose to go back to war again—this time to Syria.

Foley was considered too experienced to let a kidnapping happen again. But while journalists from more established outlets like major television networks always travel with a security detail—usually made up of heavily armed former Special Forces operatives—freelance journalists such as Foley and Cantile cannot afford such a luxury, making them prime targets for kidnappers.

Since being taken hostage, the pair have attempted to escape at least twice. Both failed efforts were immediately followed by extreme torture. They are not the only journalists being held for ransom on this day, but Foley stands out among the captives for his calm demeanor—even fellow hostages will describe his countenance as stoic during his imprisonment. In fact, Foley is considered a leader, sharing the small portion of food given him each day and reenacting scenes from favorite movies to keep spirits high.

Along with Foley, there are three other Americans—Time magazine journalist Steven Sotloff and two humanitarian workers, Peter Kassig, a former Army Ranger from Indianapolis, and Kayla Mueller, from Prescott, Arizona. The kidnappers are hoping to receive millions in ransom for these individuals.

On one occasion, James Foley did successfully escape, but let himself be recaptured when Cantile was unable to get away, knowing the photographer would be severely beaten for Foley’s success.

Now time has run out for the journalist. The only thing that can save him is immediate payment of the terrorists’ ransom demand. But 100 million euros—roughly $132 million—will not be forthcoming.

Paying ransom to terrorists is against United States law. Foley’s parents are secretly looking for a way to violate this law, but there has not been any payout. As the kidnappers await the ransom, they mentally torture Foley—repeatedly forcing him to don an orange jumpsuit and kneel for his execution, only to have the murder called off at the last moment. Foley has also been ordered to stand against a wall with his arms spread wide as if being crucified.

He has been waterboarded, a type of torture which involves pouring liquid into a captive’s mouth and nose to the point of drowning. The terrorists do not want to kill James Foley, preferring the ransom. But that prospect has dimmed.

American journalist James Foley, who went missing in Syria on November 22, 2012, and was ultimately beheaded by ISIS.

One week ago, August 14, 2014, Foley’s captors emailed the journalist’s parents, stating that the lack of ransom payment would ultimately result in their son’s death. In New Hampshire, the elder Foleys cling to hope, believing there is still time to negotiate.

They are wrong.

The camera crew filming the kneeling James Foley is highly technical. Grainy footage is a thing of the past for these video experts. A high-definition lens holds the captive and his would-be executioner in perfect focus. There are no shadows on camera, the result of professional lighting meters and filters instead of just the natural illumination of the noonday sun. Precise audio captures every word and sound. The footage, taken on a hill outside what might be the northern Syrian city of Raqqa, will be downloaded and edited with other images and sounds, then packaged in a four-minute-and-forty-second video, ready to be shown worldwide on YouTube.

It is a savage scene of brutality.

“I wish I had more time,” Foley says into the camera. “I wish I could have the hope for freedom, to see my family once again.”

And then it happens. The knife blade flashes in the desert sun. Foley’s executioner grabs the back of the orange jumpsuit to keep his victim from squirming.

The beheading takes ten barbaric seconds. Windpipe, arteries, spine—all severed. There is no lack of blood. The camera records every moment. Millions around the world will soon watch this horrific sight.

The hooded executioner lets go of the orange jumpsuit. Foley’s torso falls forward onto the rocky soil. His severed head, face covered in blood, eyes closed, is placed on the small of his back and positioned for the benefit of the lens.

Eventually, after the filming ends, the kidnappers will dispose of James Foley in the desert. His body will never be found.

A single militant group steps forward to claim responsibility. They were once called “al-Qaeda in Iraq” but now go by the name of “the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria.” The acronym is the name by which the world will soon know these killers and their vile acts: ISIS.

As James Foley lies dead in the dirt, his murderers celebrate their cowardly act. It is done, they claim, for the god of Islam. And many more will die under that belief.

Foley’s fellow hostages now know they may meet the same fate as the forty-year-old from New England. And that horror is present every second of every day.


AUGUST 20, 2014


12:52 P.M.

“Good afternoon, everybody,” President Barack Obama greets the gathered members of the press. He stands before a blue backdrop in the Edgartown School cafeteria, the hastily organized press conference interrupting his summer vacation. An American flag is behind him to the right. The presidential seal is affixed to the podium. He spoke with the family of James Foley this morning, offering his condolences.

“Today, the entire world is appalled by the brutal murder of Jim Foley by the terrorist group ISIL,” the president begins.

Obama is referring to ISIS, using one of their many acronyms. The use of the “L” refers to “the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant,” a nod to the terrorist organization’s growing power throughout not just Syria but the entire Middle East.*

The Islamic State—also known as ISIS, ISIL, or Daesh—emerged from the remnants of al-Qaeda in Iraq (AQI), a local offshoot of al-Qaeda founded by Abu Musab al-Zarqawi in 2004.† This terrorist organization faded into obscurity for several years after the surge of US troops to Iraq in 2007. But the end of the Iraq War and the subsequent withdrawal of most US troops from the region, instigated by President George W. Bush, saw the reemergence of AQI.

The group quickly took advantage of growing instability in Iraq and Syria brought on by the US departure to carry out attacks and bolster its ranks, and soon changed its name to “the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria” (ISIS). But that is the English translation. Throughout the Middle East, the terrorists are known by the acronymic Arabic nickname “Daesh.”‡ The acronym sounds similar to other Arabic words meaning both “to trample down or crush” and “bigot,” depending upon the conjugation. ISIS detests that label and cuts out the tongue of anyone speaking it aloud.

The United States made an early attempt to halt the terrorist advance. On April 18, 2010, a joint operation of United States and Iraqi forces fired rockets that shattered the ISIS headquarters in Tikrit, Iraq. The subsequent commando raid uncovered intelligence that linked the terrorists with Osama bin Laden, who was still alive at the time.

That American and Iraqi attack caused the Islamic State in Iraq to flee underground. A cleric named Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi was named the group’s new leader on May 16, 2010. The Islamic State was once al-Qaeda’s representative in Iraq, but that connection was severed upon bin Laden’s death. In this way, al-Baghdadi became the most powerful terrorist on earth, simultaneously declaring that he would avenge bin Laden’s assassination with one hundred acts of terror. But even as the terrorist organization spread into Syria in 2013, formally becoming the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, al-Baghdadi was nowhere to be seen.

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Killing the Killers

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Product details:

EditionInternational Edition
ISBN1250279259, 978-1250279255
Posted onMay 3, 2022
Page Count288 pages

Killing the Killers The Secret War Against Terrorists PDF Download - HUB PDF

In Killing The Killers, #1 bestselling authors Bill O'Reilly and Martin Dugard take readers deep inside the global war on terror, which began more than twenty years ago on September 11, 2001.



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