Mr. Bergen does a nuanced job here of pointing out the difficulties of tracking lone wolves and the significant warnings missed by law enforcement. He also offers a judicious assessment of controversial F.B.I. sting operations, using often unsavory informants, and the overreach by intelligence agencies in their surveillance efforts.
Peter Bergen has written what in effect are two books about terrorism. Both are valuable. One is a riveting, thoroughly researched account of the evolving state of the threat as a growing number of American citizens join the ranks of foreign terrorist movements—and of how U.S. intelligence and law-enforcement agencies are addressing the constantly shifting threat. The other is a skilled defense of what Mr. Bergen would say is the moderate, middle-of-the-road approach that has characterized the Obama administration’s anti-terror effort.
...an engrossing and edifying book ... It is to Bergen’s immense credit that, without downplaying the threat of Islamist terrorism — home-grown or directed at America by groups abroad — he refrains from overstating it and attempts to maintain perspective.