My Cyber Counter-Jihad

[Middle East Quarterly] Shannen Rossmiller - Before 9/11, I had no experience with the Middle East or the Arabic language. I was a mother of three and a municipal judge in a small town in Montana. In January 2002, I began taking an Arabic language course online for eight weeks from the Cairo-based Arab Academy, supplemented with an intensive Arabic course at the State University of New York at Buffalo. As I learned more Arabic, the jihadi websites opened for me. Certain individuals stood out for either their radicalism or the information that they sent. I followed and tracked these individuals and kept notebooks detailing each website and person of interest. I created my first terrorist cover identity on the Internet on March 13, 2002, to communicate and interact with these targets. In my first chat room sting, I convinced a Pakistani man that I was an Islamist arms dealer. When he offered to sell me stolen U.S. Stinger missiles to help the jihadists fighting the U.S. and coalition forces in Afghanistan, I used the Persian Gulf dialect of Arabic to ask him to provide me with information that I could use to confirm his claims. Within a couple of weeks, the missile identification numbers were in my computer inbox.

2007-07-13 01:00:00

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