Published March 09, 2010
A Pennsylvania woman known to authorities as "JihadJane" has been charged in federal court with using the Internet to recruit jihadist fighters to carry out murders and violent attacks overseas.
The woman, Colleen R. LaRose, was charged with conspiracy to provide material support to terrorists, conspiracy to kill in a foreign country, making false statements to a government official and attempted identity theft, according to the indictment, unsealed Monday.
Sources tell Fox News the "Swedish citizen" who "JihadJane" was allegedly looking to kill is Lars Vilks, who drew one of the controversial Prophet Muhammad cartoons. There was a series of arrests in Ireland earlier Tuesday that are reportedly connected to LaRose's case.
In September of 2007 Al Qaeda offered a bounty for the murder of Viks.
LaRose and five unindicted co-conspirators are accused of recruiting men to wage violent jihad in South Asia and Europe and of recruiting women who had passports and the ability to travel to and around Europe for similar missions.
The accused co-conspirators are located in South Asia, Eastern Europe, Western Europe and the United States.
"Today's indictment ... underscores the evolving nature of the threat we face," said David Kris, Assistant Attorney General for the National Security Division.
In June 2008, LaRose posted a comment on YouTube under the username "JihadJane," stating that she is "desperate to do something somehow to help" the suffering Muslim people, according to the indictment.
She was also know to authorities as "Fatima LaRose." The indictment describes LaRose as in her 40s.
Court documents show LaRose was first arrested by federal authorities on Oct. 16, 2009, for allegedly trying to "transfer" a stolen passport.
The indictment accuses the American-born LaRose and her unindicted co-conspirators of using the Internet to establish relationships with one another and to communicate their plans, which included martyring themselves, soliciting funds for terrorists, soliciting passports and avoiding travel restrictions, through the collection of passports and through marriage, according to a government release.
LaRose, who lives in Montgomery County, Pa., received a direct order to kill someone in Sweden, and to do so in a way that would frighten "the whole Kufar [non-believer] world," according to the indictment.
It states that LaRose agreed to carry out her murder assignment, and that she and her co-conspirators discussed that her appearance and American citizenship would help her blend.
According to the indictment, LaRose traveled to Europe and tracked her intended target online, but it isn't clear whether she carried out the mission.
"This case shows the use terrorists can and do make of the Internet," U.S. Attorney Michael L. Levy said. "Colleen LaRose and five other individuals scattered across the globe are alleged to have used the Internet to form a conspiracy to provide material support to terrorism, culminating in a direct order to LaRose to commit murder overseas."
LaRose is one of the first American females to be charged with a terrorism offense in the U.S.
The only other one a Department of Justice official could recall was Lynne Stewart, a New York attorney and American citizen who was convicted of terrorism violations in 2005 for passing prison messages from the "Blind Sheikh" to his followers on the outside urging violent attacks.
Last month, Aafia Siddiqui, a Pakistani woman who lived in Boston for some time but was not a U.S. citizen, was convicted in federal court in New York in connection with her attempt to kill U.S. military and law enforcement personnel in Afghanistan.
Fox News' Mike Levine contributed to this report.