Colleen LaRose is a blonde suburban Philadelphia housewife who took care of her boyfriend’s aging father. She also spent a lot of time online, and she wasn’t playing Farmville or cat blogging. As federal prosecutors put it, she “worked obsessively on her computer to communicate with, recruit and incite other jihadists, using screen names including Jihad Jane, SisterOfTerror, and ExtremeSister4Life.”
According to federal indictments, she eventually did a lot more than post fiery messages in jihadi chat forums. She arranged to marry a terrorist contact and help him move to Europe. She stole her boyfriend’s passport and headed for Europe in 2009. She helped recruit another suburban housewife, “Jihad Jamie” Paulin-Ramirez. She accepted an assignment to murder Lars Vilks, one of the cartoonists sentenced to death under Islamic law for defaming the Prophet Mohammed, by drawing his head on a dog’s body.
She declared that “only death will stop me here that I am so close to the target!” in an online posting, but the law caught up with her first. She never took her shot at Vilks, but when she returned to the United States in November 2009, the FBI bagged her at Philadelphia International Airport. Authorities in Ireland rolled up the rest of her terror cell, including “Jihad Jamie.”
Yesterday LaRose pled guilty to charges of conspiracy to murder a foreign target, conspiracy to support terrorists, and lying to the FBI. The Associated Press quotes Assistant U.S. Attorney General David Kris as saying, “Today’s guilty plea, by a woman from suburban America who plotted with others to commit murder overseas and to provide material support to terrorists, underscores the evolving nature of the threat we face.”
There’s no way of knowing how many other Jihad Janes and Jamies might be out there. Few assets are more desirable for international terrorists, and they got Colleen LaRose and Jamie Paulin-Ramirez for a bargain price. I wish the FBI good hunting.