‘Terrorism Close Calls’ Docuseries Gets October Premiere on Netflix

10-part series to explore thwarted terrorist plots

Last Updated: September 25, 2018 @ 8:18 AM

Netflix has acquired the 10-episode docuseries “Terrorism Close Calls,” the company announced on Tuesday.

The series from Big Media explores thwarted terror plots, featuring interviews with agents involved in disrupting them as well as leading national and international authorities on counterterrorism, intelligence, and law enforcement.

It is set to premiere on Friday, Oct. 26.

“Everyone hears about terrorism plots that succeed, but the success of our intelligence and law enforcement agencies are far more impressive,” said Big Media chairman and executive producer Jon Loew. “With this series we wanted to shed light on the terrible events that could have been and the great people responsible for stopping them.”

“Details of how we defeat those who would spread terror are largely withheld from the public for claimed national security or operational issues, but this lack of information sharing can make it appear as if those who bring terror are winning the war,” added Mark Kelton, former CIA senior executive and deputy director of the National Clandestine Service for Counterintelligence. “I’m proud to help develop ‘Terrorism Close Calls’ to showcase the incredible work done by teams around the world that have saved countless lives.”

Read an overview of each episode below.

1. THE NY CITY SUBWAY PLOT – 2009
Three homegrown US operatives link up with Al Qaeda and hatch an audacious terror plot to wreak maximum carnage – they plan to detonate homemade bombs hidden in backpacks simultaneously on various trains in the New York City subway system. It’s up to the FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force working with their counterparts at US Department of Homeland Security and the National Security Agency to stop the plot before they strike.

2. THE STUDENT BOMB MAKER – 2010
Khalid Aldwasari, a 20-year-old Saudi national on a student visa in the United States purchases chemicals for bombs and researches targets – among them the Dallas residence of former President George W. Bush, several dams in Colorado and California. He also has plans to travel to New York and plant bombs in rental cars and blow them up at rush hour. An FBI operation helps uncover the plot and reveals that the Saudi student has both the technical knowledge and the political motivation to carry out his plans.

3. CARGO BOMB PLOT – 2010
Once foiled the details of the plot were easy to find. Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) wrote about it in their online magazine listing the cost of the items used – in all they spent a little over US$5000 in a plot to blow up UPS and FedEx cargo planes using highly sophisticated printer cartridge bombs. The devices are timed to explode in mid-air over the eastern United States. Just three hours before the bombs are set to explode, they’re discovered by US, British and United Arab Emirates intelligence services. It is one of the most successful examples of international intelligence sharing between countries to date.

4. THE AMBASSADOR, THE CAR SALESMAN, & THE MEXICAN CARTEL – 2011
The plot has all the makings of a Hollywood action film -Manssour Arbabsiar, an Iranian-born car salesman living in Texas plans to assassinate the Saudi Ambassador to the United States. Manssour reaches out to the Mexican Cartel for help, but the cartel member he enlists is also a DEA source. The resulting investigation reveals a disturbing link between Manssour and the top echelon of the Iranian government. It’s a plot that if successful could have resulted in mass casualties and been the staging of a possible war.

5. “OPERATION OVERT”: SEVEN PLANES – SEVEN BOMBS – 2006
A terror cell made up of 25 predominantly British born men of Pakistani decent plot to create another 9/11. The plan is to smuggle liquid explosives inside sports drinks to be detonated simultaneously by suicide bombers on at least 7 flights headed from London’s Heathrow Airport to the US and Canada. This deadly threat would drive both the US and Britain to new levels of transatlantic security and intelligence sharing and forever change the way we travel today.

6. MARTIN LUTHER KING DAY PLOT – 2011
Kevin Harpham, a thirty-seven-year-old with strong ties to white supremacists planned to kill and maim as many people as he could during the Martin Luther King Day Parade in Spokane, Washington. Harpham carefully planted a pipe-bomb into the most crowded area of the parade route -it was intended to explode and hurl poison-laced shrapnel from fishing weights and rat poison into the crowd. He would return two hours later with a remote-controlled detonator and video camera hoping to film the carnage, instead he found the backpack being disassembled by the FBI bomb squad. A seven-week manhunt ensued as FBI traced every lead along with Harpham’s communications to conduct a complex sting operation to capture and arrest him before he could strike again.

7. THE SAUERLAND CELL – PLOT TO KILL US SOLDIERS – 2007
Although they plan to strike in Germany, their targets are American soldiers who frequent popular nightclubs and bars as well as at the Ramstein Airbase.   The plot to kill “many” US soldiers is considered one of the most significant homegrown terrorists threats to Germany and would launch a nine-month undercover surveillance operation. Once arrested all four suspects issued lengthy confessions calling their intended plot a “defensive jihad” and retaliation of what they saw as America’s war against Islam.

8. THE ISRAELI HONEY TRAP – 2004
A suicide attack by a young Palestinian woman at an Israeli checkpoint made headlines not only because she killed two soldiers, but because she left behind a martyrdom video to her daughter. Israeli intelligence later discover Reem’s true motivation for the attack may not have been a desire for jihad, but a result of an ultimatum delivered to her by her husband and Hamas leaders – she could be remembered
as an adulterer or a hero – she would die either way, she chose the latter. Israeli forces retaliate by going after one of Hamas top terror operatives by using a special forces female agent in a love triangle of
their own – a plot to seduce, pinpoint the targets location and eliminate the threat.

9. AUSTRALIAN ANZAC DAY PLOT – 2015
Anzac Day is a national day of remembrance to those who served and died in wars past and present in Australia, but it is also the day marked for a terror attack. When police arrest a 14-year-old boy in England for threatening to behead his teachers they discover a keyboard jihadi with over 24,000 twitter followers and a link to a terror plot on the other side of the world. Australia is just days away from experiencing a devastating, violent terror attack orchestrated by a schoolboy.

10. GERMAN JIHAD & THE EURO PLOT – 2010
The plot is said to have been signed off by Osama Bin Laden himself and was intended to mirror the 2008 terror attacks in Mumbai, India which left 160 people dead. A group of twelve plan to stage a series of synchronized terror attacks in several different European countries including the UK, France and Germany. Tipped off after the arrest of a member of the cell – a joint force of American, French, British and German intelligence and law enforcement agencies work together to dismantle the deadly plot before it’s too late.