PA Woman Charged with Recruiting Jihadists Killers Online
by Interview with Steven Emerson
Interview on Fox News
March 10, 2010
Multimedia for this item
BILL HEMMER: Back to one of our top stories this morning. Our next guest says that this is becoming all too common. A Pennsylvania woman, known as "Jihad Jane" is charged with using the internet to recruit Jihad killers to carry out assassinations and attacks overseas. Federal investigators allege she even had a personal mission to murder a Swedish artist who drew controversial pictures of the Prophet Muhammad. Now, her case is raising alarm because she is far from, as you see, the typical suspect. Steve Emerson is my guest now. He's the Executive Director of the Investigative Project on Terrorism and the author of Jihad Incorporated. And, Steve, good morning to you. You have seen some of her postings online. What do they say? What do they look like?
STEVEN EMERSON: She was a full fledged Jihad machine, Bill. Not only was she a white woman who converted and then used her American passport to gain access to Europe freely and to do reconnaissance on a potential assassination subject. But, she recruited funds on the internet for Jihad. She recruited volunteers for Jihad to carry out killings. She recruited women to use their marriage certificates to allow their husbands to carry out Jihad. She was in contact with five co-conspirators, all of them in Europe or Southeast Asia and she was either being tasked with carrying out assassinations of the Swedish artist, or she instructed them what to do in terms of how to raise funds and recruit other Jihadists.
HEMMER: Wow. Steve, how long was this going on by the way?
EMERSON: Good question. Beginning in the middle of 2008, she saw a YouTube video apparently, that was a Jihadist video and in the comments section she said "I want to volunteer to become a Jihadist." A few months later she was contacted by somebody in Southeast Asia who said, "Well, we'll help you do that." And then she started this internet community with about five co-conspirators. One of whom was in the United States, the rest either in Europe or Southeast Asia. All of whom were committed to carrying out this assassination or carrying out Jihad in other parts of the world. What's unusual here is that she got away with it for so long. The question is whether the FBI actually had somebody on the inside watching it or they retrieved the messages only recently.
HEMMER: That's a good question. She wasn't necessarily hiding when you're using the name Jihad Jane, you're online, you're on MySpace, born in Michigan, later lived in Texas. Latest word in the fall was living in Montgomery county, PA, outside of Philadelphia.
HEMMER: You're point is, Steve, is that people like this woman in America are seeking recruits all over the world on the internet and its happening more and more often.
EMERSON: Right, this is really an alarming development because she doesn't fit the stereotypical billing of a Jihadist looking to recruit. She actually exploited the fact and she mentioned it. That she looks white and she has an American passport. She even stole somebody else's American passport so that somebody else could carry out Jihad in Europe, and she mentioned the fact that some of her co-conspirators looked white or looked European so they would blend in and not engender suspicion. Our organization tracked one of her websites which actually posted all these Jihad videos, which attracted again, would-be volunteers. So she was a full fledged Jihad machine. Very unusual to see this with a white woman convert.
HEMMER: And Colleen LaRose is her original name. Whatever she goes by now, age 46. She was arrested in October. I am assuming the only reason we know about this right now is because the investigation was still ongoing and that might go to your previous point, that the FBI has been trailing her for some time.
EMERSON: Right, I think that she was asked by the FBI last year about whether in fact she solicited funds for terrorism. She denied it, she denied any postings. So there the FBI knew at that point that she was lying. So, at that point, they kept monitoring what she was doing and they kept it going as far as they could to see who else was involved. Remember, there are five other co-conspirators that are not named; including one in the United States. And I assume that person is going to be arrested very shortly.
HEMMER: Not just that person, perhaps. I think there's a lot more to this story as I think you would attest to also. She, her appearance and also the American passport helps make it a lot easier for her to operate in this country too. Steve Emerson, please come back when you've got more. I know you're on this story for us here. Thank you sir.
EMERSON: Thank you.