As authorities tell it, Colleen R. LaRose wasn’t joking on June 20, 2008, when she posted a comment on YouTube using the screen name “JihadJane” and saying that she was “desperate to do something somehow to help” suffering Muslims.
Instead, LaRose, 46, formerly of Pennsburg, Montgomery County, and a U.S. citizen, was about to embark on a plot to recruit terrorists and commit murder in Sweden, according to federal prosecutors.
Authorities unsealed an indictment yesterday alleging that LaRose and five unindicted co-conspirators recruited men and women over the Internet to be terrorists in South Asia and Europe and to finance terrorism.
A Department of Justice spokesman wouldn’t confirm that the case was related to a group of people arrested in Ireland earlier yesterday on suspicion of plotting against a Swedish cartoonist who depicted the prophet Muhammad with the body of a dog.
But a U.S. official speaking on condition of anonymity said LaRose had targeted the Swedish cartoonist and had online discussions about her plans with at least one of the suspects in Ireland.
LaRose, also known as “Fatima LaRose,” was arrested in Philadelphia by the FBI on Oct. 15, and appeared before a federal magistrate the next day and agreed to pretrial detention.
She did not enter a plea, but U.S. Attorney Michael Levy said he expects LaRose to be arraigned soon.
LaRose has been charged with conspiracy to provide material support to terrorists, conspiracy to kill in a foreign country, making false statements to the FBI and attempted identity theft.
If convicted of all charges, LaRose could potentially face life behind bars, authorities said....