Saturday, January 10, 2009

Cyber-Spy Shares Her Know-How Tracking Terrorists Online

Shannen Rossmiller

Erika Hayasaki writes in The Los Angeles Times:

The nervous woman in a gray suit clicked on a photo lineup on an overhead screen labeled, "Jihadi Martyrs." It flashed to mug shots of men with names like Abu Issa, an Al Qaeda recruiter, and Abu Jabber, a trainer.

A man in one photograph was pointing a machine gun.

"They are all me," said the blond mother from Montana, speaking before an audience of computer experts, law enforcement agents and investigators at the first International Conference on Cyber Security, which was held last week in New York. "These are all individuals I acted as on the Internet."

Shannen Rossmiller, 39, is a cyber-spy and former judge who taught herself Arabic after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks and began infiltrating websites and chat rooms to hunt for terrorists. "I learned to act like them," she said. "I learned to be them."

As her children slept, she spent nights and mornings posing as more than two dozen Muslim militants from her home computer to gain information about planned attacks and terrorist cells across the world. Her investigations have led to two terrorism-related convictions in the U.S., and she has provided intelligence in more than dozens of other international cases.

More here.

Image source: David Howells / The Telegraph


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