World Events: June 2006 Archives

One of the awesomest stories of the year

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Montana mom hunts down al-Qaeda on the Internet.

For four years, she has alternated her day jobs of mother and magistrate in the mountain state of Montana with a night-time role as a hunter of terrorists. Mrs Rossmiller first turned freelance spy after September 11.

Donning a range of virtual disguises, she uses her functional, self-taught Arabic, and customised software that masks her true identity and whereabouts, to navigate into radical internet chat rooms frequented by real terrorists or any fanatic with a computer and a grudge.
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In her best known case, she secured a life sentence for a treacherous soldier, Pte Ryan Anderson, who was trying to transmit the weaknesses of the M1 Abrams tank to al-Qa'eda. It was when she was called to give evidence in that case that her cover was blown. "I didn't have the choice of remaining anonymous," she said, despite earlier pledges from the authorities that her name would never be made public.

On many occasions she has encountered terrorists overseas. Three times she has lured young British Islamists into unmasking themselves, including one group in Liverpool. The FBI passed the material to British intelligence, after which she heard nothing more.

She brushes off the possible threat to her and her family from terrorist reprisal. She pointed out that in Montana's little towns, strangers stick out and the locals are armed. "There have to be risks taken, otherwise you can't get anything done."

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About this Archive

This page is a archive of entries in the World Events category from June 2006.

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