Net spies tracked 'Jihad Jane' for years

March 11, 2010 at 4:04 PM
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WASHINGTON, March 11 (UPI) -- Amateur Internet detectives say they monitored the Islamist rantings of Colleen LaRose, aka "Jihad Jane," for the past three years, even alerting the FBI.

LaRose, who was charged March 4 with providing material support to terrorists and conspiracy to kill in a foreign country, had been posting progressively violent and radical messages, mostly on YouTube, for years, eventually expanding her activity into fundraising for terrorist organizations including the Pakistan mujahedin, bloggers say.

"A few years ago a few of us began to notice her YouTube postings. Like many other YouTube users supportive of violent jihad, she would often post al-Qaeda or related videos," a man using the pseudonym "Rusty Shackleford" told ABC News.

Users from other sites including Quoth the Raven and the YouTube Smackdown Corps said they watched LaRose's comments and postings become more and more troubling over the years, noting a turning point when she created a new account to raise funds for jihadist causes.

"It was pretty hard to miss her," said "Robert," an administrator of "She made lots and lots of encouraging comments on Islamic videos. The trick was to find her new user name after we suspended each account. She was very persistent. But again, she made it easy to find her."

One anonymous user wrote on JawaReport: "When she finally made an account which she actively solicited funds for the Pakistan Mujaheddin … I knew she had become a real threat for our safety and had officially violated U.S. Federal Law. It was time to report her. This being in July 2009 I formally called the FBI in Philadelphia to report her."

LaRose by no means is the only person espousing radical jihad on YouTube and elsewhere across the Net.

"There are certainly many others out there who are more eloquent and appear to be more dangerous from the way they talk," Shackleford told ABC.

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