Early in the morning on August 16, 2006, the Terrorism Task Force arrested Osama bin Laden in Brooklyn, New York. Despite the event’s Earth-shattering significance, this clandestine story didn’t make headlines.
This secret history is at the heart of the narrative by historian, computer expert and lay detective Barbara Janik who submitted the tip that led to bin Laden’s presumed 2006 arrest. In Chasing bin Laden:My Hunt for the World’s Most Notorious Terrorist, Janik takes readers on an emotional journey through the hidden world of lay investigations, complete with high-stakes puzzle solving, Arabic message boards and anxiety-provoking collaborations with the FBI.
“We’re living in an era where lay detectives are making a major impact,” says Janik. “From Michelle McNamara’s work on the Golden State Killer to true crime podcasts that use crowdsourcing to crack cases, it’s exciting to be part of this movement.”
Chasing bin Laden casts doubt on the official account of the terrorist’s final chapter. The author provides 177 historical citations, email and phone records of her communications with the FBI, and other critical evidence to corroborate her story.
Released near the 10th anniversary of the bin Laden raid, the memoir is already captivating the public.
The memoir begs an intriguing question: Everyone thinks they know the final chapter of Osama bin Laden’s life, but can they be sure?
Barbara Janik is a masters-level historian with a degree from Sam Houston State University. She spent several years as an adjunct professor for Alvin Community College and her background includes computer science and computer repair work. The author lives in Texas. ◊