United States v. Colleen LaRose (E.D. Pa. Mar. 9, 2010) (material support indictment)

March 9, 2010

* United States v. LaRose (E.D. Pa. Mar. 9, 2010) (indictment alleging conspiracy to use the internet to recruit in support of violent jihad)

Indictment attached (thanks to the folks at DOJ for taking care to attach the indictment to the press release!).

The charges include a conspiracy count under 18 USC 2339A (the 1994 material support statute) and an 18 USC 956(a) conspiracy count (956(a) criminalizes conspiracies to commit murder overseas), among others.

The pattern of alleged facts is fascinating: the defendant first drew attention from contacts abroad by posting comments on Youtube, generating responses from persons located in South Asia; subsequent emails ultimately led her to travel to Sweden in order eventually to locate and kill an unidentified Swedish individual (note, though, that the BBC reports that there were several arrests in Ireland today relating to a plot to kill a Swedish artist – see here).

Assuming these allegations bear up, it will be interesting to see whether this turns out to be an example of “decentralized” plotting in the fashion of a self-assembled cell or, instead, top-down plotting directed from al Qaeda or some other relatively organized source. And of course there will be much speculation regarding how LaRose came to be radicalized, and what if anything this signifies regarding the “homegrown” threat. Read the rest of this entry »