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Born in Denmark, lived in Yorkshire, led the CIA to al-Qa'ida's leader in Yemen
Jonathan Brown on the extraordinary double life of motorcycling outdoor pursuits enthusiast Morten Storm Jonathan Brown Author Biography
Wednesday 10 October 2012
When Morten Storm arrived in Luton ten years ago he cut quite a swathe. The beared former cage fighter had served a prison sentence in his native Denmark but said he had put a life of drugs and crime behind him. He had also converted to Islam.
At first the ex-biker appeared to embrace the moderate teachings of his Islamic centre, but before long he was an outspoken supporter of extremist groups such as al-Muhajiroun and a devoted follower of Osama bin Laden – even naming his eldest son after the late al-Qa'ida leader.
But the truth was far more complex. While posing as a radical Islamist known as Murad Danish, Storm was actually a CIA agent who played a crucial role in the US fatal drone attack on Anwar al-Awlaki in Yemen, he claimed yesterday.
In a series of interviews with the Danish media, the 36-year-old said he had exploited his friendship with the US-born al-Qa'ida chief to help in the assassination of the radical cleric last year. Storm claims he located Awlaki using an encrypted USB device passed to one of the militant cleric's messengers during a visit to Yemen in 2011. Awlaki is alleged to have orchestrated attacks on Western targets including one involving underpants bomber Umar Farouk Abdulmuttalab.
According to the newspaper Jyllands-Posten, since 2006 Storm was under the command of a joint CIA, MI6 and the Danish Intelligence Service PET operation to infiltrate the highest echelons of al-Qa'ida. But he later fell out with his US handlers after they appeared to renege on the offer of a reward for killing Awlaki.
Storm is now thought to be in hiding, but attention is focusing on his life in Britain. The Independent has learnt that he rented an area of woodland near Wetherby, West Yorkshire, where he intended to carry out training on behalf of his outdoor pursuits company.
However, although he conducted a couple of exploratory exercises there, he disappeared without paying his rent last year. Locals described him as a plausible figure who never revealed his Islamic faith.
The website of his company, Storm Outdoors, refers to the founder's experience travelling in some of the world's "most hostile environments" and living among Bedouin tribes in North Yemen.
For much of his time in the UK, he lived in Luton, where he drew attention by proclaiming radical views at a time when community leaders were trying to keep a lid on extremism in the wake of 7/7. Storm also coached young Muslims to box, learnt Arabic and described himself as a "holy warrior" helping recruit members for groups such as the now banned al-Muhajiroun, it is claimed.
Farasat Latif of the Luton Islamic Centre said he initially found Storm to be "friendly and very jolly" but the pair rapidly fell out over his extreme views. "He loved the attention. He first introduced himself as an ex-member of a biker gang and told me about his escapades. But he said he wanted to put all that behind him and become a good Muslim," he said.
But within six months Storm was accusing mosque leaders of apostasy – while spying for the intelligence services.
"Morten Storm not only infiltrated extremist groups in Luton, he promoted them, helped them recruit members, and aided them in theologically refuting their opponents. In short, while he was doing the CIA's dirty work in Yemen, he gave religious extremism a huge boost in Luton," said Mr Latif.
Community members were baffled that the father of two, who had to borrow money to buy nappies for his children, was able to afford to travel to Yemen.
Storm claims to have first met Awlaki in 2006 in the Yemeni capital Sanaa. He said the intelligence organisations "knew that Anwar saw me as his friend and confidant. They knew that I could reach him, and find out where he stayed".
The first plan was to plant a tracking device on the militant cleric who by 2009 was living in the remote Shabwa province. Their final meeting was at the home of a sympathiser in September that year, during which Morten claims Awlaki discussed plans for "poison attacks" on Western shopping centres.
When he returned to Copenhagen he met PET and the CIA who identified the house where they had met using satellite pictures. The premises were later destroyed by Yemeni security forces. In April 2011 Storm claims to have held another meeting with agents at a hotel in Helsingor, eastern Denmark where the plan to pass a USB stick to Awlaki was hatched.
At a meeting with a US official after Awlaki's death, Storm claims he was told his work had been recognised. A recording he made caught the official saying: "I'm talking about the President of the United States. He knows you. So the right people know your contribution. And we are grateful."
A Muslim convert who spent years living in Bury Park and was heavily involved with Luton’s notorious Al Muhajiroun group is claiming he was actually undercover for the CIA.
In an interview with a Danish newspaper this week, Morten Storm claims he was only posing as an extremist, and was in fact working for the Danish intelligence service (PET) and the CIA.
The claims have left mosque leaders in Luton, who say they spoke to Storm about his extremist views on many occasions, furious.
Qadir Baksh, chairman of the Luton Islamic Centre in Bury Park Road, said Storm had been known as ‘Murad Danish’ during his time in Luton.
“Certain people here propped him up, such as Al Muhajiroun. They made him their scholar.
“He tried very hard to spread mischief in the community.
“He would come to us and tell us his views, and we would send him away with his tail between his legs.
“Early on I had my suspicions about him, but I didn’t have clear evidence.”
When he arrived in Luton in 1999, Storm told religious leaders he had come to learn about Islam in what he saw as a safe haven for Muslims.
He told them he was a former Hell’s Angel who had spent time in Yemen and had a history of violent behaviour, but wanted to start a new life.
“He was running around here, there and everywhere, with a corrupt version of Islam, and leading people astray,” he said.
“There are extremist jihadists in Luton and he was propagating their thoughts among young people, spreading lies about Islam.
“We thought he was probably being watched by the security services.”
Storm, who lived in Connaught Road, was last seen in Luton in 2010.
Asked whether he thought Storm could have invented his story, Mr Baksh said: “We know the CIA do conduct sting operations.
“The police and security services want us to trust them but they are sending agitators into our community to lead people astray.
“The vast majority of Muslims just want to get on with their lives and practise their religion in peace.”
Storm’s story was published this week in Jyllands-Posten, one of Denmark’s biggest selling daily newspapers.
Its publication of cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed in 2005 sparked violent protests around the world.
He told the newspaper he had been recruited by PET in 2006, and claims he led the CIA to Al Qaeda leader Anwar Al-Awlaki, who was killed in a drone attack last September. PET has refused to comment on his claims.
Secretary of the Luton Islamic Centre, Farasat Latif, said Storm did “a lot of showing off”.
“People got to know him because he had a lot to say,” he said.
“Young people were attracted to him because of his radical ideas.”
MI6 told agent they could not kill al-Qaeda leader
MI6 passed up an opportunity to kill a senior leader of al-Qaeda because lawyers advised them they would be breaking the law, it can be disclosed.
British agent Morten Storm: MI6 passed up an opportunity to kill a senior leader of al-Qaeda because lawyers advised them they would be breaking the law, it can be disclosed.
British agent Morten Storm and MI6, the overseas intelligence service
By Duncan Gardham, Investigations Correspondent
7:30AM GMT 03 Dec 2012
The agent who came up with the plan says that he was cut off by the British security services after he took the idea to the CIA.
He was told that the British were no longer allowed to work with him because they were not allowed to get involved in assassinations.
The terrorist Anwar al-Awlaki, who was later killed by the Americans, was pumping out propaganda calling for attacks on the West and actively recruiting young Muslims to launch such attacks.
The revelations have been made by Morten Storm, the first British agent to go public since 9/11, who has spoken to the Daily Telegraph.
Storm, the former leader of a motorbike gang in Denmark, lived in Britain on and off for 15 years, first as an extremist using the name “Murad”, then as an agent using an outdoor pursuits company as cover.
His work helped foil three terrorist plots in Britain and Demark and led to the jailing of Hassan Tabbakh, a science graduate of Syrian origin who was making home-made bombs in Small Heath, Birmingham, it can be disclosed.
Storm has provided documentation to the Danish newspaper Jyllands Posten which confirms he was recruited by the Danish security service, the PET.
A recording of a conversation with a Danish security officer provided to the Daily Telegraph confirms that he also worked for MI5, the British domestic security service.
In addition, Storm says he also traveled to Yemen and East Africa on behalf of MI6, the British foreign intelligence service.
A security source refused to talk about Storm but said that MI6 does not get involved in “extra judicial killing or assassinations.”
The source said MI6 officers are not allowed to do anything abroad that would be illegal in Britain, nor ask anyone to do it on their behalf, without permission from the Foreign Secretary.
“Lethal force” can be used with ministerial authorisation only in times of “emergency or crisis which causes danger to the UK or its citizens” - which has effectively ruled out its use for decades.
Morten Storm says he was on a training course run by MI5 in Edinburgh when he told them he had an idea how to track down Anwar al-Awlaki, one of the leaders of al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsular (AQAP).
Awlaki, an American citizen of Yemeni origin, had lived in Britain for two years and was already one of al-Qaeda’s most successful propagandists.
He had preached to three of the 9/11 hijackers and his videos were found in a series of raids on terrorist safehouses in Britain, including the bookshop used by the 7/7 bombers.
Storm had befriended Awlaki during his days as an extremist studying in Yemen, when Awlaki was teaching at a local university, shortly after arriving from Britain.
At their last meeting in September 2009 Awlaki had asked Storm to look out for a more Westernised wife, preferably a convert, more in keeping with his tastes than the two Arab women he had already married.
By chance Storm was contacted on Facebook by a 32-year-old Croatian social worker called Aminah and he planned to use her to lead them to Awlaki.
But Storm says his MI5 handlers told him: “We do not involve ourselves in encouraging people to participate in jihad and we don’t involve ourselves in killings abroad. Our objective is to gather intelligence.”
A few weeks later, on Christmas Day 2009, Umar Farouq Abdulmutallab, a former student at University College London who traveled to Yemen to meet Awlaki, tried to blow himself up on a trans-Atlantic flight using a bomb in his underpants.
Awlaki had also recruited a British Airways worker called Rajib Karim who lived in Newcastle and was quizzing him over the internet about how to get bombs onto trans-Atlantic aircraft. Karim was later jailed for 30 years.
Storm last saw his MI5 handler, Kevin, at Birmingham airport in April 2010 as he left for a meeting with the CIA in Copenhagen.
Storm says he was told: “I have bad news for you. I’m very sorry to say that we are pulling out. I might never see you again but I want to say thank you, it's been very good working with you. It’s because of Aminah, it’s bureaucracy and we can’t do anything about it.”
The operation with Aminah failed and Storm launched a second attempt to track down Awlaki using the preacher’s courier network.
At a briefing for the CIA and Denmark’s PET in Malaga, Southern Spain, he was introduced to an officer from MI6 for the last time.
“I took the opportunity to say thank you to him. He didn’t come with any suggestions, he just took notes and asked me if there was anything interesting for the British.”
Storm believes it was his work that led to Awlaki’s death in a drone attack three weeks later in September last year, but the CIA told him they had been running a “parallel operation.”
The relationship deteriorated until Storm believed that the Americans were prepared to kill him in a drone attack and he decided to go public.
Morten Storm’s life had changed while in jail in Denmark in 1997, where he had been serving six months for assault after a fight with three other men.
A former secret agent has described how he played matchmaker for an al-Qaeda leader in a bid to help the CIA track him down and kill him.
British agent Morten Storm (left) and Anwar al-Awlaki and Aminah
By Duncan Gardham, Investigations Correspondent
7:20AM GMT 03 Dec 2012
The 21-year-old was the president of the Bandidos motorcycle gang for the towns of Korsor and Slagelse in Denmark. He considered himself a soldier and was heavily involved in taking drugs of almost every description and in the murderous and well-documented turf wars with rival Hells Angels.
Storm was a trained boxer but life had become increasingly dangerous and after two years, he was looking for a way out.
He had already “flirted” with Islam, making a couple of visits to a local mosque for Friday prayers in a bid to seek moral guidance in the middle of the biker wars.
In jail he met a man who persuaded him to convert to Islam and travel to Britain, where the fellow prisoner had a wife of Pakistani origin in Milton Keynes.
Storm prevaricated but while on remand he was arrested again, this time for a bank robbery. When those charges were dropped and he was released, still on remand, he decided to make a run for England.
“I was looking to change my life because it wasn’t really me, I just felt I would be much better off just being me rather than having to put on a facade and instead of having people fear me. I like having people love me,” he said.
In Milton Keynes, his fellow prisoner’s wife’s family owned properties across the Buckinghamshire town. They took the new convert under their wing and lent him a flat to live in while he worked for a recruitment agency and then at a tobacco kiosk opposite the pyramid-shaped cinema known as the Point.
“I was really happy, I felt I was becoming normal, not having to look over my shoulder or be aggressive or be part of that violent life,” he said. “I could concentrate on praying and learning about Islam, which made me much happier.”
But his life was not to remain peaceful for long. Three months after his arrival his fiancée back in Denmark, a Christian Arab who was not so enamoured by his change of lifestyle, broke off the relationship.
Storm says he was “heartbroken” and asked for the day off to travel to London to go to Regent’s Park Mosque and get some literature to send to her to persuade her to convert.
At the mosque, after explaining his story, he was asked if he wanted to study Islam and if he had ever considered traveling to a Muslim country. He said he would love to. Did he have his passport with him? He did.
Storm stayed with well-heeled people from the mosque in London and two weeks later he was on his way to Yemen. Not that Storm had any idea where Yemen was, but the trip was to change his life.
He traveled to the fundamentalist seminary at Damaaj, the first white face the scholars there had seen, and after four months, returned to the capital, Sanaa, where he became part of the world of ex-patriots from across the world seeking Islamic enlightenment and adventure.
They included numerous Yemenis who had been traveling to Afghanistan where they received training from al-Qaeda militants in camps at that stage barely known to the outside world.
Among them was a man who acted as a courier and recruiter for Osama bin Laden and was also an associate of the Somali al-Qaeda leader Abu Taha al-Sudani.
After nine months, in late 1998, Storm returned to Milton Keynes and began hanging out in fundamentalist, Salafi mosques – Hounslow in West London, al-Muntada in Fulham, and Brixton in South London.
In Brixton he found himself in the tower block flat of Zacarias Moussaoui one evening as the wannabe 9/11 hijacker rallied a group of young French Muslims to get training in Afghanistan.
Richard Reid, the future shoe-bomber who tried to blow himself up on a flight to Miami soon after 9/11, and Danny Williams, the heavyweight boxer and Muslim convert, were also among the crowd at the mosque.
On August 26 1999, during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, the Russians attacked the republic of Chechnya for a second time, and began a brutal siege of the capital Grozny.
The young men couldn’t understand why the imams at the mosques weren’t praying about the injustice they could see on the television news as the Russians exacted brutal revenge for their defeat at the hands of the separatists three years earlier.
But Storm, who was still wanted in Denmark, decided to go back home to complete his jail sentence and clear his name.
In the summer of 2000 he returned to attend a Muslim conference in Birmingham as conflict broke out in Indonesia between the Christians and Muslims in Maluku.
Among his friends was a Pakistani activist from the Kashmiri group Lashkar-e-Taiba and talk among the group at the conference, organised by Salafi Publications, turned to holy war.
“We had a found a fatwa saying that this is jihad and we should go. We believed that jihad was the highest and noblest thing you could do in Islam and this was the only thing that would guarantee your entry to paradise.
“We were surprised again that having a fatwa from a renowned scholar no one backed us up. We got upset because we felt that these people were too attached to this worldly life, that they loved money, loved status.”
Filled with zealous outrage, Storm and a group of young men began a 10-day proselytising trip around British mosques – the al-Hadith mosque in Green Lanes, Birmingham, the al-Huda mosque in Whitchapel, East London, and the Masjid Tawheed in Leyton, East London.
He even moved to Middlesbrough for a while to work in a takeaway and study with a Pakistani scholar there.
Then Storm returned home to Odense in Denmark, tried to settle down with a Moroccan girl and re-start the education he had neglected as a young tearaway, with a course at business college.
But it was not to last. His salafi learning had taught him it was a sin to die in “daar al kuffar,” the land of disbelief, where his soul would be tormented by disbelievers. He believed that he should move to a Muslim country, a journey known as hijra.
To his teacher’s dismay, he dropped out of his course and switched to an Arabic language course run by Danish Youth Education that would pay for him to study abroad in Yemen again.
He arrived in Yemen in January 2001 and stayed for a year and a half, studying at the Centre for Arabic Learning and Eastern Studies (CALES) in Sanaa where John Walker Lindh, an American jihadi later captured in Afghanistan, stayed in the room next door.
Two months before the terrorist attacks of September 11 2001, Storm was offered the opportunity to join Osama bin Laden in Afghanistan through the intermediary he met in Yemen who acted as bin Laden’s courier.
“He said Sheikh Osama needs you to go to Afghanistan to make hijrah. I agreed to that but my wife was pregnant so I asked for permission to leave my wife in Yemen and travel to Afghanistan first to see what it was like.”
The reply came: “Bring your whole family or don’t come,” so Storm decided to wait for his child to be born before traveling.
It was to be a close escape. Storm was having his shoulder-length hair trimmed at a barber’s in Sanaa when he saw the second plane hit the twin towers in September 11 2001.
“I had never heard about the Twin Towers before, maybe I had seen them on TV but I had never paid attention,” he said.
He returned home with a friend and listened to the unfolding drama on the BBC because he didn’t have a television, missing the sight of the towers collapsing.
In the mosques in Sanaa, worshipers prostrated themselves in thanks for the attacks on America.
“People in the mosque were happy and the imam announced it and said this is a bloody nose for America,” Storm said. “We were proud of Sheikh Osama, that one man could stand up against the big tyrant, the big Satan and poke his eye.”
But when the Americans invaded Afghanistan the atmosphere changed. Storm’s friends in Sanaa looked down on the Taliban for following the deobandi school of Islam, which they considered less authentic than salafism.
Storm was unhappy that some of them were celebrating the defeat of fellow Muslims. He collected money for the Taliban and tried to recruit others to fight.
But the Yemen security services became aware of his activities and he fled to the city of Taiz where he could hang out with rich friends.
He met others who had fought in Chechnya and Bosnia and had been to the training camps in Afghanistan, who he considered “the real mujahideen” and appeared to be waiting around for the next jihad.
In May 2002, his son was born and he named him after bin Laden. “Osama is a noble Arabic name and I could lie and say I picked it for religious reasons, but it wouldn’t be true,” he said.
Storm returned to Denmark so that his family could meet his wife and son for the first time.
While he was there, some of his friends were involved in an attack on the French oil tanker the Limburg off the coast of Yemen, in an echo of the attack two years earlier on the USS Cole and they advised him not to return.
Storm divided his time between Denmark and Britain, acting as an agent for the religious magazine al-Jumuah, which was run from the al-Muntada Mosque in Fulham, West London.
While Storm was visiting London, his wife, who was pregnant with their second child, ran home to Morocco, in the apparent belief that Storm was preparing to kidnap their son.
Storm followed her and they were reunited but in March 2003 al-Qaeda-linked militants launched a series of suicide bomb attacks in Casablanca, killing 45 people.
His wife gave birth to a daughter in July and Storm moved his family to Britain a few months later, where he worked as a forklift truck driver in Hemel Hempsted.
He then moved on to Luton “because of my profile as a salafi and jihadi with connections” where he mixed with students of radical preachers Abu Hamza and Abu Qatada.
He played football with Taimour Abdulwahab, who went on to blow himself up among Christmas shoppers in Stockholm in 2010 and attended the Luton Islamic Centre and the Madani mosque.
Storm trained fellow Muslims in boxing and martial arts at a community centre in Wood Green Road in Luton and gave them military training outdoors in Barton Hills near Luton, to prepare them for terrorist training camps.
Like many extremists in Luton, Storm became a follower of the preacher Omar Bakri Mohammed and his organisation al-Muhajiroun, getting invited to special “VIP lectures” - radical talks behind closed doors after the public lectures had finished.
They launched a campaign called “Operation Disrespect” to disrupt rallies by George Galloway’s new Respect Party, which was targeting Muslim voters, by jumping on stage and grabbing the microphone to call for shariah law during the 2005 general election.
They also held a rally outside the US Embassy in London in May 2005 where they burned the American flag in protest at the alleged desecration of the Koran at the Guantanamo Bay prison camp.
Storm began writing a book called “Exposing the Fake Salafis” and was hard at work on it when he had a knock at the door by two police officers, ostensibly inquiring about his uninsured car, who brought with them an MI5 officer who introduced himself as “Rupert.” Storm turned down the request for information.
He remembers celebrating the July 7 bombings of 2005 and said the atmosphere changed in Luton, but he adds: “I was not fully submitted to the acceptance that you can kill unarmed civilians. It was not something I believed in 100 per cent even though I knew the scholars had found ways to excuse it.”
But Storm was becoming increasingly frustrated by what he saw as the “big empty barrels,” describing such activists as conducting “chicken and chips jihad” because they would rather have a takeaway and talk about action instead of doing it.
In January 2006, he left again for Yemen, where he studied at the Iman University and befriended the extremist preacher Anwar al-Awlaki after meeting him through mutual acquaintances.
“I found out that the sheikhs who Bakri said he had met, knew nothing about him, I felt so stupid, I realised this guy tricked me. Sheikh Omar was just an entertainer but Sheikh Anwar was a man who conveyed detailed information and after my first lecture with him at my house when he talked about jihad, I found he was totally on another level.
“It was not longer the joking chicken and chips jihad. It was carefully selected and detailed material he came up with. I was already convinced I was on the right path but he put the last cherry on the cake. At that point I wanted to fight jihad.”
Storm returned to Denmark at the beginning of 2007 to earn some money as a bricklayer. Soon afterwards friends including Rasheed Laskar, from Aylesbury, Bucks, were arrested in Yemen, accused of trying to smuggle weapons to militants in Somalia.
Storm appeared on TV in Denmark to campaign for their release - and still maintains they were unjustly accused - but the arrests led to him once again being contacted by the security services, this time the Danish PET.
They said they were not interested in his criminal past, they just wanted help to stop terrorist attacks.
Storm told them he was planning to travel to Somalia to join the Islamic Courts Union and fight jihad and asked if that was illegal. They said they would check it out and when they got back to him, they admitted there was nothing they could do to stop him.
Storm bought £1,500 of equipment for himself and those he was planning to meet, packed it all into a rucksack, said goodbye to his family and friends for the last time and bought a ticket to Somalia.
But just before he was due to depart, he had a phone call from his contact in Somalia who said they had lost control of the airport in Mogadishu to Western-backed Ethiopian troops and there was no way for him to get there.
“All my dreams about jihad were ruined. I was like, ‘that can’t happen, why?’ I was so hurt, and really, really upset and angry. I couldn’t comprehend.
“It made me sit up all night. I came back, opened the laptop and typed ‘contradictions in the Koran,’ something I had never dared ask before. If I had some doubts I had suppressed them. Then I picked up the Koran and confirmed it.
“It took a couple of days, and then I said: ‘F**k it. I spent ten years of my life and I was just about to get killed for this.’ So I called the PET.”
The Danish agents met Storm at the Raddisson Hotel in Copenhagen and when he requested a beer, they knew he had turned his back on his old life.
Morten Storm’s first mission was to meet up with the radical preacher Omar Bakri in Tripoli, Lebanon, where he had fled following the 7/7 bombings.
Out in Lebanon, he met another British activist for the extremist group al-Muhajiroun called Abu Mounisa who was also visiting Bakri.
Bakri, who drove an American SUV, claimed that he was going to set up an Islamic state in Tripoli, “like Fallujah” in Iraq.
He said he had tried to join the insurgency in Iraq but had been stopped on the Syrian border and told: “Sheikh we need you for knowledge and guidance, go back.”
Storm thought he was lying but stopped himself saying anything and quickly turned his attention elsewhere, meeting Saddam el-Hajdib and his brother Khaled, senior members of the terrorist group Fatah al-Islam.
When they thrust a Kalashnikov in his hand, then drove him at break-neck speed around the streets of Beirut in an old BMW, showing him guns, hand grenades and the suicide vests they wore in case of capture, Storm thought it was time to make an exit.
Back in Britain, the PET set up a meeting for him with an MI6 officer called Matt and an officer from MI5 at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Portman Square, where he talked to them about Bakri.
Storm moved to a modern terraced house in Alum Rock in Birmingham with his wife and two children.
He set up a company called Storm Building Construction as cover for the income of around £1,200 a month he received from the Danish PET, while MI5 helped him with occasional expenses like his phone bill and car repairs.
MI6 sent him on a role playing course at a fort on the south coast where he was housed in a first floor room apart from the normal barracks complete, he says, with butler.
The mahogany paneled, thickly carpeted room, was once occupied by Sir Mansfield Cumming, the founder of the Secret Intelligence Service.
It featured a double bed, dark wooden desk and dining table. The former chief’s portrait hung on the wall and a distinct smell of tradition in the air.
His MI5 handlers - Kevin, Andy, and Ann, who he nicknamed “Sunshine,” – moved in more humble surroundings, picking him up in a van and driving him to a lock-up garage with an office inside where they would hold their meetings once or twice a week.
Sometimes the targets they chose to look at were his suggestion, sometime they were theirs.
Storm began going to a Somali mosque in Small Heath where he says he was more easily accepted than in the Pakistani community.
He befriended a man he knew as “Omar”, who was actually called Hassan Tabbakh, at the Somali mosque in Small Heath.
Tabbakh was a science graduate of Syrian origin who was teaching himself how to make bombs.
“He was a scientist and he knew how to make bombs. He was asking me if we wanted to make plans. He was quite serious, he had plans, he had drawings about how he would make bombs in London and didfferent places. He was a proper lunatic,” Storm said.
Police raided Tabbakh’s home in Small Heath in December 2007 and found three bottles of the soft drink Tango in the hallway cupboard containing a cocktail of chemicals along with handwritten notes in Arabic which seemed to be instructions on how to construct the bombs.
Tabbakh was jailed for seven years but MI5 managed to divert attention away from Storm, who did not have to appear in court, and his cover remained intact.
Storm was also traveling to Denmark where he tipped off the PET about Hammad Khurshid and Abdoulghani Tokhi, after he spotted that Hammad had shaved off his beard in preparation for an attack.
The pair were filmed using hidden cameras as they experimented with TATP, a similar explosive to that used in the 7/7 attacks.
They were arrested in September 2007 and sentenced to 12 and seven years for possessing explosives and handwritten bomb-making manuals from the extremist Lal Masjid mosque in Islamabad.
In August 2007, Storm’s second daughter was born in Birmingham but his wife left him later in the year and at the end of 2007 Storm set off for Yemen again for six months, this time as an undercover agent.
Before his departure he met with CIA agents Josh and Amanda at the Radisson in Copenhagen to discuss his mission.
Amanda was later killed by a Jordanian double agent who blew himself up at Camp Chapman in Khost, Afghanistan in December 2009.
When Storm passed through immigration he was asked what he did for a living. “Build bridges,” he said, and that was how he saw it.
In Sanaa, Storm tracked down his old friend Anwar al-Awlaki to Awlaki’s father’s home and they renewed their friendship.
Awlaki had just been released after spending 16 months in jail and had emerged even more bitter with the Americans.
Nevertheless Storm noted despite his strict adherence to Islam, he permitted his wife to watch TV and listen to music.
“His ideology became more and more extreme and he was full of hatred for what the West were doing all over the Muslim world,” Storm said.
The Danish spy returned the hospitality, inviting Awlaki to his house and introducing him by phone to Ahmed Abdulkadir Warsame who he had met in Britain.
Warsame had claimed asylum in Britain where he was studying to be an electrical engineer and attending the Somali mosque in Small Heath.
But he had traveled back to Somalia to join Islamist rebels and went on to act as a go-between for the emerging militant group al-Shabaab in Somalia and al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsular in Yemen before his arrest by the Americans in April 2011.
What Warsame did not know was that that Storm had helped arrange his travel to Somalia with the approval of MI5 and that they were able to monitor his communications.
Storm risked robbery and kidnap to travel to Awlaki’s tribal homeland, traveling to meet Awlaki and his nephew in the desert.
Storm was so nervous that he had been rumbled that he left a gun in the car. He delivered $5,000 he claimed to have collected from “Bosnian brothers in Vienna” along with solar panels and car batteries.
Storm’s nerves only increased as, tapping the money with his fingers, Awlaki asked him if he could buy guns and bullets with it.
“Anything,” Storm told him.
They sat under a tree and Storm told him he disagreed with attacking civilian targets but they could work together on military objectives.
At that stage Awlaki was not a target for the Americans and Storm was operating largely on his own initiative, debriefing the British, the Americans and the Danes at a round-table session in Copenhagen when he got back.
Storm returned to Yemen a few weeks later, meeting Awlaki in Aden, where he was under house arrest, although he appeared to flout it regularly.
The pair met with their wives at a fish restaurant on the harbour front near a leisure complex to discuss the state of the jihad.
Storm returned to Birmingham and MI5 bought him a seven-seat Mercedes people carrier to use as a taxi, helping him get a private hire licence.
However, he lasted only a week before deciding that the 16 hour days were not compatible with his undercover work.
“MI5 were genuinely worried about my cover because I would travel so much and people would talk about it so they wanted me to have a cover,” he said.
He rented some woodland near Wetherby in West Yorkshire where he took a number of young radicals from a gym in Birmingham and they “ran around with air guns and walkie talkies yelling Allahu Akbar.”
It piqued the interest of a neighbour out walking his Labrador who rang the police. Morten was dressed down by his MI5 handlers and told that he was not allowed to give young men any training that could be useful for terrorists.
Storm moved on to identify a former prisoner, a former drug dealer who drove around in an Audi saloon but wanted to travel to Denmark and launch a machinegun attack on the newspaper Jyllands Posten in revenge for the publication of cartooons of the Prophet Mohammed.
Storm produced a fake fatwa from Awlaki saying that it was permissible to deal drugs in order to raise money for jihad and get non-believers addicted. The former prisoner was then arrested on drugs charges so that Storm was not exposed.
“He was a hard-core criminal. He came out of prison and he wanted to go to Denmark to run around with a machinegun and kill people in the street. He just wanted to randomly kill people. He was ready to die he wanted to go on a suicide mission. He wanted to kill and kill and kill.”
Matt, his MI6 handler, took him fly fishing in Wales with the Danish PET agents as part of a “team building” exercise.
They suggested that he traveled to Kenya to meet up with al-Shabaab militants he had known from his time in Yemen.
Using the name “Dalmar” or traveller, he flew to Nairobi where he met up with an associate of Warsame, leading to the arrest of a cell of 18 militants who were found with weapons in their rooms.
He also supplied equipment via an intermediary to Saleh Ali Saleh Nabhan, one of the men behind the al-Qaeda attacks on the US embassies in East Africa which killed 230 people. Nabhan was killed by US helicopter gunships as he traveled in a convoy in southern Somalia in 2009.
Storm traveled back to Amsterdam where he conducted a round-table debrief with the British, Americans and Danes before watching British boxer Ricky Hatton lose to Floyd Mayweather on December 8.
In July 2009, Storm was back in Yemen, but by this time Awlaki had retreated to the southern province of Shabwa.
The preacher was accompanied by 30 fighters and over a dinner of meat and rice, he asked Storm to help raise money for him in the West and asked if he could get him a small fridge and some solar panels, for storing chemicals for explosives.
He also talked about launching attacks against the West, and mentioned plans to hit major shopping centers with ricin poison attacks.
Storm returned to London on September 19 where he held a briefing for the three services at a hotel in Euston.
“I said Anwar had now gone from amber to red, he’s got to be stopped, he’s serious, he wants to kill civilians. I insisted that I would keep working on his case. I decided this guy has to be stopped by any means,” Storm said.
The British were so pleased with his work that they sent Storm on a survival course run by TV star Ray Mears in Essex.
Storm loved it and was inspired to start his own company Storm Bushcraft but it demonstrated the frugal and often cautious nature of the British.
The $5,000 he had used in Yemen had come from the Americans – the British had offered him $500 so that they were not seen to be financing terrorism.
“We were laughing out loud,” he said.
On another occasion MI6 said they could not supply hammocks to Somalia. The Danes came to the rescue with 50 tents.
Storm began using a Facebook page dedicated to Awlaki to appeal for anyone serious about helping him who was not “just full of empty words.”
No young men came forward but on November 28, a 32-year-old woman called Aminah from Zagreb, Croatia, contacted him to ask if he knew Awlaki personally.
Aminah, a social worker who worked at a home for disabled young people, had converted to Islam six months earlier.
Describing herself as appreciating “family values, and high moral standards,” she said she did not mind “at all” that Awlaki already had two wives.
She asked if she could marry the terrorist preacher and Awlaki in turn asked for more information about her.
On December 14, Awlaki wrote to her: “There are two things that I would like to stress. The first is that I do not live in a fixed location, therefore my living conditions vary widely. Sometimes I even live in a tent.
“Second, because of my security situation I sometimes have to seclude myself which means me and my family would not meet with any persons for extended periods.
“If you can live in difficult conditions, do not mind loneliness and can live with restrictions on your communications with others then alhamdulillah [thanks be to god] that is great.”
When she said she wasn’t sure she could cope with those conditions, he wrote back: “Tell the sister that currently I am not living in a tent but in a house of one of my friends.”
At a meeting at the Ascot Hotel in Copenhagen, the CIA showed Storm satellite pictures of Shabwa and got him to identify where he had stayed.
On December 17, the Americans launched missile attacks aimed at Qasim al-Raymi, AQAP’s military commander, and at Awlaki.
They missed both but a few weeks later Yemeni ground troops raided the home of the tribal leader Abdullah al-Mihdhar in the town of Hawdhar in Shabwa Province, killing him and detaining four others.
But Awlaki had already recruited Umar Farouq Abdulmutallab, a Nigerian student who had studied at University College London. On Christmas Day 2009 in Amsterdam Abdulmutallab boarded a trans-Atlantic flight with a bomb in his underpants.
The device failed to detonate as the plane came in to land but the plot proved what Storm was saying about Awlaki.
Storm was able to identify another man from East London, who had studied alongside Abdulmutallab at the Sanaa Institute for the Arabic Language and was also seeking to join up with Awlaki and the young man was detained in Yemen and deported.
The mission to get Aminah to Yemen went ahead and on June 4, Storm received a message from his PET handler, “Klang”, which read: “Congratulations brother. You just got rich, very rich.”
Five days later, Storm received a suitcase full of $100 bills from the PET handler and a CIA man called “Doc” at the Crown Plaza Hotel in Orestad, Copenhagen.
Doc had the briefcase chained to his wrist and when Storm asked for the code, he said: “Try 007.”
Inside was £250,000 in cash for delivering Aminah to Awlaki. Storm opened the case on the floor in his mother’s kitchen and could not resist the temptation to take a picture on his phone.
Nevertheless the plan to use Aminah to lead them to Awlaki went awry when she was told to leave her luggage, which contained a locating device, behind in Sanaa.
Awlaki, on the other hand, sent an encrypted email to Storm telling him she had not lived up to expectations, adding: “....she is much better!”
The Danes organised a visit to the Blue Lagoon spa in Iceland to thank Storm for his efforts and by April 2011 the CIA and PET had come up with a new plan.
Storm wrote to “Sheikh Anwar” at his Inspire Magazine – an online English-language terrorist manual Awlaki released every few months – using the codename they had agreed “Polar Bear” and saying he was visiting Yemen shortly.
Storm travelled to Yemen on June 23, and met with a courier on August 14 at a shopping centre, where he received a message from Awlaki asking Storm to buy him some supplies for his new wife including Pantene Prov V, Sunsilk or Dove hair conditioner.
Storm went shopping on Hadda Street, passing the cosmetics to the courier at the Alhambra restaurant along with $300 and receiving a thank you in reply a few days later.
There was also a request that Storm should tell him what was being written about him in the West and asking if he could get hold of various items of bomb-making equipment.
At a second meeting, Storm delivered head torches, penknives and fire starters – although the wrong type which would be no good for making bombs.
Awlaki was also asking for a cooler box to keep his chemicals cold, but Storm stalled for time, instead leaving a USB memory stick and some gifts with an intermediary for collection by the courier.
Storm was back in Britain in early September when he received a call from his intermediary, who knew nothing of the plot, saying the courier was on the way.
Storm let the PET know and they informed the CIA. Three weeks later on September 30, Awlaki was killed by a missile from an unmanned drone but when Storm asked the Danes to find out if it was his mission that had succeeded, he was told it was a “parallel operation.”
He met the new CIA station chief at a hotel in Helsingor, Denmark on October 7 and recorded the subsequent conversation on his mobile phone, in which the agent told him that President Obama knew of his work.
Despite his upset, Storm decided to do one more job for the CIA, but halfway through he felt his own life was at risk and pulled out.
“Anwar was a terrorist, that’s the reason why I befriended him and at the end of the day he needed to be stopped. It was a necessity,” Storm says.
But he adds: “I feel very disappointed and let down by the Americans. I have so many questions, there was so much injustice. All I wanted was to retire and I feel that they have acted without honour.”
Storm now fears that his life and those of his children are at risk after MI5 refused to allow him to join their witness protection programme if he spoke publicly.
He has heard from contacts in Yemen that the leadership of al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsular has set about trying to kill him in revenge for the death of Anwar al-Awlaki, their figurehead.
He has also seen that radical websites in Britain are awash with rumours about him and his whereabouts.
Comments on one website read: “This scumbag lived in Luton and mixed with brothers for a few years and was an agent all along.”
A woman had posted: “Depths of hell reserved for his like. As for Shaykh Anwar then he achieved his goal, and his words live on as Abdullah Azzam [mentor to Osama bin Laden] said, because his blood gave life to his words.”
Storm is now in hiding and has changed his name. He has been given a panic alarm, but he fears that extremists will find him if he is not given better protection.