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News, documents and analysis on violent extremism

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Jihad Jane: Colleen LaRose Indictment

Here are the court documents for female American jihadist Colleen Renee LaRose, aka Jihad Jane, aka Fatima LaRose. Click here to read some of LaRose's attitudes about the United States in her own words.

10/10/2009: Criminal complaint, Colleen LaRose

Indictment, Colleen LaRose

Highlights of the indictment:

Defendant COLLEEN R. LAROSE, a/k/a “Fatima LaRose,” a/k/a “JihadJane,” and others known and unknown to the Grand Jury, recruited men online to wage violent jihad in South Asia and Europe. [...]

On or about December 8, 2008, Unindicted Co-Conspirator (“CC”) #1, a resident of a South Asian country (whose full e-mail address is known to the Grand Jury), sent an electronic communication to defendant COLLEEN R. LAROSE, a/k/a “Fatima LaRose,” a/k/a “JihadJane,” stating CC #1’s desire to wage jihad and become a “shahed” (martyr). On or about December 9, 2008, defendant COLLEEN R. LAROSE, a/k/a “Fatima LaRose,” a/k/a “JihadJane,” sent an electronic communication to CC #1, replying that she also desires to become a martyr.[...]

On or about February 20, 2009, defendant COLLEEN R. LAROSE, a/k/a “Fatima LaRose,” a/k/a “JihadJane,” sent an electronic communication to CC #1, advising CC #1 that her physical appearance would allow her to “blend in with many people,” which “may be a way to achieve what is in my heart.”[...]

The problem here should be self-evident. Jihad Jane doesn't look to be the sharpest tack in the bag, but she doesn't have to be. Although we don't have an official national policy of racial profiling, it doesn't take a rocket scientist to see that a tiny blonde woman is going to attract a lower level of screening in an airport than a burly Pakistani male, nine times out of ten.

On the bright side (such as it is), given her background, profile and apparent capability, she is not someone who could easily execute a sophisticated attack on her own initiative, or even necessarily with extensive training. If you look at the major successful terrorist attacks in the United States, you will find that most of them involve at least one operative who is extremely intelligent and who has often received some kind of formal training in military or terrorist tactics.

Is Jihad Jane a threat of magnitude under her own power? Probably not. But she would have been a potent tool in the hands of someone like Ramzi Yousef or Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, and it's a very good thing she has been taken off the playing field.

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INTELWIRE is a web site edited by J.M. Berger. a researcher, analyst and consultant covering extremism, with a special focus on extremist activities in the U.S. and extremist use of social media. He is a non-resident fellow with the Brookings Institution, Project on U.S. Relations with the Islamic World, and author of the critically acclaimed Jihad Joe: Americans Who Go to War in the Name of Islam, the only definitive history of the U.S. jihadist movement, and co-author of ISIS: The State of Terror with Jessica Stern.


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