An American Hero
This is truly an inspirational story for our times....
Radical Islamists may not know it but their global jihad has more to fear from Shannen Rossmiller, an American mother-of-three, than from a squadron of F16s.
Yet a summary of case histories and transcripts seen by The Daily Telegraph reveals that she has uncovered the whereabouts of al-Qa'eda fighters in the lawless highlands of Pakistan, shopped groups of would-be terrorists from Liverpool to Lebanon, tracked down an Islamist designing a nuclear device and much, much more.
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.
In her first interview with a British newspaper, the 37-year-old said that at first she kept her nocturnal sleuthing secret: "I didn't want my family to know because they'd call me crazy and this was just too damn interesting."
Now she finds it hard to escape the world she has entered. Asked whether she seeks a way out, she said: "I've tried a couple of times to back off, but it just hasn't been the right time.
"I remember the time I screamed 'Can't these guys take a weekend off?' But humanity is such a precious thing that you don't want to see [terrorist attacks] happen to anybody, to any country, any people."
She has proved increasingly useful to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, which now supplies her with handlers, Arabic translators and security, in case the terrorists seek revenge.
They have reason to be angry: in America alone, the authorities have made several arrests based on Mrs Rossmiller's work.
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.