Jane's Jihad: the new face of terrorism

 
(left)Colleen LaRose, known as 'Jihad Jane' since her arrest on terrorism charges in 2009, is seen in an undated family handout photo from her time as a young schoolgirl in Michigan in the early 1970s. The Pennsylvania woman pleaded guilty to plotting to kill a Swedish cartoonist, providing material support to terrorists, and other criminal charges. LaRose admitted her role in a plot with others to kill the cartoonist, who had depicted Prophet Mohammed in a way that is offensive to Muslims. To match Special Report USA-JIHADJANE/ REUTERS/Family Photo/Handout (UNITED STATES - Tags: CRIME LAW RELIGION PROFILE HEADSHOT) FOR EDITORIAL USE ONLY. NOT FOR SALE FOR MARKETING OR ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS. THIS IMAGE HAS BEEN SUPPLIED BY A THIRD PARTY. IT IS DISTRIBUTED, EXACTLY AS RECEIVED BY REUTERS, AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTS
(right)Colleen LaRose, a Pennsylvania woman who named herself 'Jihad Jane,' is shown in an undated video grab released by the Site Intelligence Group on March 10, 2010. The Pennsylvania woman pleaded guilty to plotting to kill a Swedish cartoonist, providing material support to terrorists, and other criminal charges. LaRose admitted her role in a plot with others to kill the cartoonist, who had depicted Prophet Mohammed in a way that is offensive to Muslims. To match Special Report USA-JIHADJANE/ REUTERS/Site Intelligence Group/Handout/Files (UNITED STATES - Tags: POLITICS CRIME LAW) FOR EDITORIAL USE ONLY. NOT FOR SALE FOR MARKETING OR ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS. THIS IMAGE HAS BEEN SUPPLIED BY A THIRD PARTY. IT IS DISTRIBUTED, EXACTLY AS RECEIVED BY REUTERS, AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTS

By John Shiffman
On March 9, 2010 – the day U.S. authorities announced terrorism charges against a blonde, white American woman who called herself Jihad Jane – senior government officials repeatedly described the arrest as a seminal event in the war on terror. The case was so serious, authorities said, that they charged the woman, Colleen LaRose, with crimes that could keep her in prison for the rest of her life. Now, as she awaits sentencing, a months-long Reuters review of confidential documents and interviews with sources in Europe and the United States -- including the first and only interview with Jihad Jane herself -- reveals a far less menacing and, in some ways, more preposterous undertaking than what the U.S. government asserted.

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Jihad Jane, Part 1: From abused child to American jihadist

Colleen LaRose, an American woman who called herself Jihad Jane online, was arrested in 2009 for plotting to kill Swedish cartoonist Lars Vilks. Reuters investigative correspondent John Shiffman chronicles LaRose on her to journey to jihad, beginning with her abusive childhood.  Video