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Born in Narvik, Norway in 1977, I was educated in Oriental Studies and Modern Middle East Studies at Oxford University and obtained my doctorate in political science from the Institut d'Etudes Politiques in Paris in 2007 with a thesis entitled "Violent Islamism in Saudi Arabia, 1979-2006: The Power and Perils of Pan-Islamic Nationalism".

I am currently director of terrorism research at the Norwegian Defence Research Establishment (FFI) in Oslo. I was previously a Zuckerman fellow at the Center for International Security and Cooperation (CISAC) at Stanford University (2012-2013), a non-resident fellow at New York University (2010-2011), member of the School of Historical Studies at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton (2009-2010), fellow and associate at Harvard Kennedy School (2008-2010), postdoctoral fellow at Princeton University (2007-2008) and visiting fellow at King's College London (2005-2006).

I have published widely on various aspects of Islamist militancy. I wrote Jihad in Saudi Arabia (Cambridge 2010) and co-authored the Meccan Rebellion (Amal 2011) and Al-Qaida dans le texte (Presses Universitaires de France, 2005). My articles have appeared in journals such as the American Political Science Review, International Security, Journal of Peace Research, International Affairs, International Journal of Middle East Studies, British Journal of Middle Eastern Studies, The Middle East Journal, Middle East Policy, and Studies in Conflict and Terrorism. I have also written for the International Crisis Group and Oxford Analytica. I previously co-edited Jihadica, a blog that covers developments on jihadist websites.

I regularly advise governments on matters relating to Islamism and terrorism. I have testified in the US Congress (2013), in the Canadian Senate (2005 and 2010) and in the Danish Parliament (2006). I have also served as an expert witness in several terrorism trials in the United Kingdom.

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