A 46-year-old Indiana grandmother is reportedly under investigation for possible ties to suspected and convicted international terrorists, Fox News reports. Kathie Smith, a Muslim convert, currently resides in Indianapolis, but caught investigators' attention after making several recent trips to and from Europe in recent weeks and blogging about her granddaughter who last year married a suspected German jihadist.
According to Fox, the Indiana Intelligence Fusion Center, a counterterror intelligence clearinghouse staffed by local and federal law enforcement officials, is currently examining a number of pieces of evidence, including a pro-jihadist video featuring Smith and her husband, as well as photos with members of the Islamic Jihad Union, a group charged with plotting failed terror attacks against U.S. and German targets:
Though the FBI and Department of Homeland Security do not generally comment on open investigations, an Indiana DHS spokesperson told Fox News that Smith's potential terror ties were being investigated by Indiana State Police. Though Smith is not currently listed on the federal government's no-fly list, she claims her name is on some kind of government "watch list."
In lengthy e-mail exchanges with FoxNews.com, Smith claimed that she has been repeatedly subjected to hours-long interrogations by Homeland Security every time she travels. She said her luggage has been subjected to bomb residue tests, and that officials asked her numerous detailed questions about her husband. She also claims DHS officials on more than one occasion escorted her onto a departing airplane.
DHS did not respond to FoxNews.com’s request for comment on Smith’s allegations.
Smith — who now calls herself Zubaida — added that she and her husband were met and interrogated by German police while in a taxi in October 2009. German police, however, said they were not currently investigating an American woman, but declined to say whether they were aware of Smith.
In lengthy e-mail exchanges with FoxNews.com, Smith alternatively defended her online postings, denied being anti-American, called the Sept. 11 attacks an inside job, the U.S. a terrorist organization and praised the American-born radical Muslim cleric Anwar al Awlaki -- architect, trainer and inspiration for many of the recent terrorist attacks attempted or committed against the U.S. President Obama last April approved Awlaki's inclusion on the CIA's targeted killing list. In one e-mail to FoxNews.com, Smith wrote:
“If your neighbor was being attacked by a perpetrator, would you just stand there and say, 'Oh I will let someone come who has a gun to help them'? No, you would rush to their defense. And use any type of "weapon" to help that person... this is what I am doing. I am defending the defenseless. I am defending my home and family and their right to safety. No matter who it is at my door. These are the rights the Constitution gives me. The very right this Communistic government is trying to take away from me and the rest of the Americans.”
The video currently being scrutinized features Smith and her 28-year-old husband, known as Salahudin Ibn Ja'far, posing with weapons and features images of known and suspected terrorists and jihadist propaganda.
There also are photos of German Taliban Mujahideen -- German nationals who have formed their own splinter group within the Taliban -- and mug shots of members of the Saarland cell of Islamic Jihad Union charged with plotting failed terror attacks against U.S. targets in Germany, including a 2007 plot to bomb the U.S. Air Force base at Ramstein.
Smith said of the Ramstein plotters featured in her video:
“The so-called 'jihadists' you have mentioned are actually personal friends of my husband from childhood. In the video he was expressing his love and gratitude to his friends, who have died fighting for freedom. Just like any other American or European citizen who displays pictures of soldiers who have died on their videos. There is no difference in gratitude and love. It is just that your government has deemed these noble men as 'terrorists' because they are not on the same side. Least us not forget the Mujahideen who fought the Russians for the U.S. They were deemed 'heroes' and lead by Osama Bin Laden at that time, and now because the government says so... they are "terrorists.””
Smith's husband has also been active in the online jihadist community, posting content from the German Taliban's media outfit and the Islamic Jihad Union. He's also written in support of his "noble leaders," including wanted terrorists Osama bin Laden and Anwar Awlaki, the Sept. 11 hijackers and other terrorist leaders.
Salahudin appeared to maintain forums devoted to hosting Awlaki’s sermons. Earlier this month he uploaded videos to his since-deleted YouTube account that included German muhajideen training at jihadist camps in Pakistan, and another featuring the widow of a German Taliban jihadist directing the wives of jihadists to fulfill their obligations while their husbands are off fighting.
In other English-language posts, he suggests he himself has trained in these same jihadist camps.
On Facebook, he is "friends" with the notorious Al Qaeda English-language online magazine Inspire, thought to be principally authored by American-turned-Muslim radical Samir Khan. Salahudin also has used his online posts to call for the deaths of U.S. citizens, military and government leaders, and recently joined in on another user’s thinly veiled threats against Condoleezza Rice, according to postings discovered by FoxNews.com and screen shots provided by the Jawa Report, a watchdog blog that has been following the online activities of Smith and her husband.
His Facebook "friends" make up a who’s who of terror groups, many of which his wife is also associated with online. He and Smith have been kicked off of Facebook repeatedly over the past month, but both continue to open up new accounts and remain on the social networking site today.
On Facebook, Smith "likes" Awlaki, has belonged to a Facebook group called “Al Qaeda in Islamic Maghreb to answer your questions,” referring to the North African branch of Al Qaeda. Smith also is Facebook "friends" with pages claiming to be the terrorist groups Al Shabaab and Ansar al Jundullah, in addition to "friends" Sheikh Faisal and Youself al-Khatb, the reported spiritual leader and co-founder of Revolution Muslim, respectively. Her “Likes” and “Groups” are visible to the public; a friend request from this reporter to Smith was not accepted.
A Facebook Page provided by Jawa Report shows that Smith warned her husband via Facebook post not to accept FoxNews.com’s friend request either.
On her MySpace page, currently available for viewing via Google cache, Smith wrote: “As salamu alaikum akhi.. it is time for Jihad and it is now Fard ayn for ALL Muslims whether their [sic] in the United Snakes or else where...Insha'Allah!!!!”
Smith has also praised Awlaki and celebrated the deaths of U.S. "terrorist" soldiers at the hands of the Taliban in Afghanistan. She has repeatedly called for jihad against the West and insists she is within her "right as an American citizen to freedom of speech, religion, and the right to bare arms. I have the right in America to say what ever [sic] I want. That is what makes America so great, right?"
According to his social media sites, Smith's husband is currently living in Germany.
“I live a simple life, a life where I fear Allah first and try hard to do what is right for mankind. I am not some 'horribly misguided, or brainwashed' individual," Smith says. "I have lived a long life and have seen many things. And I will always stand up for what is right, no matter who is trying to say the contrary."
Smith's case is similar to that of Colleen LaRose, a suburban Philadelphia woman who recently pleaded not guilty to conspiracy charges in a plot to assassinate a Swedish artist. During her time in the spotlight, LaRose was dubbed "Jihad Jane" -- the first Islamic extremist American woman arrested on terror-related charges.