Published December 28, 2010
A 46-year-old Indiana grandmother is under investigation for her possible ties to suspected and convicted international terrorists, FoxNews.com has learned.
Muslim-convert Kathie Smith, 46, a U.S. citizen living in Indianapolis who has blogged about her granddaughter, last year married a suspected German jihadist, and has been flying back and forth between the U.S. and Germany as recently as two weeks ago.
A pro-jihadist video featuring Smith and her husband – alongside photos of members of the Islamic Jihad Union charged with plotting failed terror attacks against U.S. targets in Germany -- is being investigated by the Indiana Intelligence Fusion Center. The center is a counterterror intelligence clearinghouse staffed by law enforcement officers from local and federal agencies, including the FBI and Department of Homeland Security.
“Certainly, it’s being looked at and evaluated by Indiana State Police, which runs Indiana Intelligence Fusion Center, ” Indiana Department of Homeland Security spokeswoman Emily Norcross told FoxNews.com, adding that the video would be passed along to appropriate law enforcement for further investigation.
FBI spokeswoman Jenny Shearer said: “As you’re aware, FBI and DOJ policy precludes us from confirming or denying the existence of an investigation.”
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Washington office did not respond to a request for comment.
Interpol, which helps government law enforcement agencies track crime suspects around the world, declined to comment, citing policy.
The FBI also did not respond to an e-mail from FoxNews.com asking why Smith is not on the federal government’s no-fly list. Smith, meanwhile, said she believes her name is on some kind of government “watch list.”
In lengthy e-mail exchanges with FoxNews.com, Smith claimed that she has been repeatedly subjected to hours-long interrogations by Homeland Security every time she travels. She said her luggage has been subjected to bomb residue tests, and that officials asked her numerous detailed questions about her husband. She also claims DHS officials on more than one occasion escorted her onto a departing airplane.
DHS did not respond to FoxNews.com’s request for comment on Smith’s allegations.
Smith — who now calls herself Zubaida — added that she and her husband were met and interrogated by German police while in a taxi in October 2009.
German police, however, said they were not currently investigating an American woman, but declined to say whether they were aware of Smith.
In lengthy e-mail exchanges with FoxNews.com, Smith alternatively defended her online postings, denied being anti-American, called the Sept. 11 attacks an inside job, the U.S. a terrorist organization and praised the American-born radical Muslim cleric Anwar al Awlaki -- architect, trainer and inspiration for many of the recent terrorist attacks attempted or committed against the U.S. President Obama last April approved Awlaki's inclusion on the CIA's targeted killing list.
In one e-mail to FoxNews.com, Smith wrote:
“If your neighbor was being attacked by a perpetrator, would you just stand there and say, 'Oh I will let someone come who has a gun to help them'? No, you would rush to their defense. And use any type of "weapon" to help that person... this is what I am doing. I am defending the defenseless. I am defending my home and family and their right to safety. No matter who it is at my door. These are the rights the Constitution gives me. The very right this Communistic government is trying to take away from me and the rest of the Americans.”
In the nearly six-minute video under investigation, Smith and her husband, known online as Salahudin Ibn Ja'far, 28, appear posing and hugging and holding weapons interspersed with photos of known and suspected terrorists and assorted jihadist propaganda, like an Awlaki sermon album cover.
There also are photos of German Taliban Mujahideen -- German nationals who have formed their own splinter group within the Taliban -- and mug shots of members of the Saarland cell of Islamic Jihad Union charged with plotting failed terror attacks against U.S. targets in Germany, including a 2007 plot to bomb the U.S. Air Force base at Ramstein.
Smith said of the Ramstein plotters featured in her video:
“The so-called 'jihadists' you have mentioned are actually personal friends of my husband from childhood. In the video he was expressing his love and gratitude to his friends, who have died fighting for freedom. Just like any other American or European citizen who displays pictures of soldiers who have died on their videos. There is no difference in gratitude and love. It is just that your government has deemed these noble men as 'terrorists' because they are not on the same side. Least us not forget the Mujahideen who fought the Russians for the U.S. They were deemed 'heroes' and lead by Osama Bin Laden at that time, and now because the government says so... they are "terrorists.””
(In a no-longer-active Facebook profile, Smith's husband, Salahudin, listed his current city as Saarbrucken, the capital of the state of Saarland in Germany.)
In addition to being close childhood friends of convicted terrorists, Salahudin has posted content from the German Taliban’s media outfit and the Islamic Jihad Union on forums and social networking sites. He's also written in support of his “noble leaders” -- bin Laden, Awlaki, the Sept. 11 hijackers and other terrorist leaders.
Salahudin appeared to maintain forums devoted to hosting Awlaki’s sermons. Earlier this month he uploaded videos to his since-deleted YouTube account that included German muhajideen training at jihadist camps in Pakistan, and another featuring the widow of a German Taliban jihadist directing the wives of jihadists to fulfill their obligations while their husbands are off fighting.
In other English-language posts, he suggests he himself has trained in these same jihadist camps.
On Facebook, he is "friends" with the notorious Al Qaeda English-language online magazine Inspire, thought to be principally authored by American-turned-Muslim radical Samir Khan. Salahudin also has used his online posts to call for the deaths of U.S. citizens, military and government leaders, and recently joined in on another user’s thinly veiled threats against Condoleezza Rice, according to postings discovered by FoxNews.com and screen shots provided by the Jawa Report, a watchdog blog that has been following the online activities of Smith and her husband.
His Facebook "friends" make up a who’s who of terror groups, many of which his wife is also associated with online. He and Smith have been kicked off of Facebook repeatedly over the past month, but both continue to open up new accounts and remain on the social networking site today.
On Facebook, Smith "likes" Awlaki, has belonged to a Facebook group called “Al Qaeda in Islamic Maghreb to answer your questions,” referring to the North African branch of Al Qaeda. Smith also is Facebook "friends" with pages claiming to be the terrorist groups Al Shabaab and Ansar al Jundullah, in addition to "friends" Sheikh Faisal and Youself al-Khatb, the reported spiritual leader and co-founder of Revolution Muslim, respectively. Her “Likes” and “Groups” are visible to the public; a friend request from this reporter to Smith was not accepted.
A Facebook Page provided by Jawa Report shows that Smith warned her husband via Facebook post not to accept FoxNews.com’s friend request either.
On her MySpace page, currently available for viewing via Google cache, Smith wrote: “As salamu alaikum akhi.. it is time for Jihad and it is now Fard ayn for ALL Muslims whether their in the United Snakes or else where...Insha'Allah!!!!”
Smith has lauded Awlaki, celebrated the deaths of U.S. soldiers -- who she called “terrorists” -- at the hands of the Taliban in Afghanistan, and applauded another user’s posting of a rendering of the two planes hitting the World Trade Center towers on Sept. 11, 2001.
And while she has repeatedly called for jihad against the West, Smith told FoxNews.com: “I am exercising my right, as an American citizen to freedom of speech, religion, and the right to bare arms. I have the right in America to say what ever I want. That is what makes America so great, right?”
But a paid government consultant aware of Smith’s movements said there’s concern that Smith could follow the path of Colleen LaRose, a suburban Philadelphian dubbed “Jihad Jane,” who pleaded not guilty in March to conspiracy charges involving a plot to kill a Swedish artist and providing material support to terrorists.
“As we saw in the case earlier this year with the arrests of "Jihad Janes" Colleen LaRose and [co-conspirator] Jamie Paulin-Ramirez, Kathie Smith has been exhibiting classic signs of extremism possibly transitioning into violence," the consultant told FoxNews.com, asking not to be identified due to the sensitive nature of his work. "Her online postings on Facebook have been increasingly promoted acts of terrorism and statements by terrorist leaders, such as Anwar Al-Aulaqi,” the contractor said.
“When her husband released the video earlier this month of the two of them holding weapons and included standard jihad imagery, such as pictures of German jihadists that have left to join terrorist groups in Pakistan and Afghanistan or have been arrested for plotting terror attacks, we were concerned that they might be escalating to an attack themselves,” the consultant said.
To that concern, Smith replied by e-mail to FoxNews.com:
“I live a simple life, a life where I fear Allah first and try hard to do what is right for mankind. I am not some "horribly misguided, or brainwashed" individual. I have lived a long life and have seen many things. And I will always stand up for what is right, no matter who is trying to say the contrary.”