An FBI interpreter with top clearance traveled to Syria in 2014 and married an ISIS operative she had been assigned to investigate.
A CNN report reveals Daniela Greene, 38, went to Syria and married a terrorist who had appeared in ISIS propaganda videos. She lied to the FBI about where she was going and warned her new husband he was under investigation.
Greene married no ordinary terrorist. Her husband, Denis Cuspert, was a German rapper who turned into a front man for jihadists. He was known in Germany by his rap name Deso Dogg, whereas in Syria, he was known as Abu Talha al-Almani.
Just weeks into the marriage, Greene realized she had made a mistake. Somehow she managed to return back to the U.S. where she was immediately arrested. She pleaded guilty for making false statements about terrorism and agreed to cooperate with the authorities. She was sentenced to two years in federal prison.
She completed her sentence and was released in August 2016.
However, critics argue the FBI went light on her as people who merely tried to join ISIS were given much more severe punishments. According to an analysis by the Center on National Security at Fordham University, U.S. citizens convicted in dozens of recent ISIS prosecutions received an average sentence of 13 1/2 years in prison.
John Kirby, a former State Department official, said he suspects Greene's entry into Syria required the approval of top ISIS leaders. Outsiders who try to get access to inner ISIS region risk “getting their heads cut off.” Therefore, as an American woman and as an FBI employee, getting into the inner sanctum of ISIS would have had to have been preapproved by its leaders.
“It's a stunning embarrassment for the FBI, no doubt about it,” said Kirby.
According to Assistant U.S. Attorney Thomas Gillice, Greene "violated the public trust, the trust of the officials who granted her security clearance, and the trust of those with whom she worked and, in doing so, endangered our nation's security."
Greene was born in Czechoslovakia and was raised in Germany. As several friends and acquaintances recalled, she married a U.S. soldier at a young age and moved to the United States. She attended college at Cameron University in Oklahoma and graduate school at Clemson University. In 2011, she went to work for the FBI as a contract linguist because she was fluent in German.
When reached by CNN she said, “If I talk to you my family will be in danger.”
She now works as a hostess in a hotel lounge.
Greene told the FBI that she was going on vacation to visit her family in Germany. But instead she flew to Turkey and then Gaziantep, near the Syrian border where she met up with Cuspert and married him. However, she regretted her decision within weeks and wrote to her friend.
“I was weak and didn't know how to handle anything anymore. I really made a mess of things this time. I am gone and I can't come back. I wouldn't even know how to make it through, if I tried to come back. I am in a very harsh environment and I don't know how long I will last here, but it doesn't matter, it's all a little too late...” read the email.
The brutal terrorist that Greene married converted to Islam after a near-death experience in a car accident. He also sang songs of praise about Osama bin Laden. He reportedly fled Germany in 2012 and spent time in Egypt and Libya before coming to Syria.
Greene's case, which was always kept a secret, exposes an embarrassing breach of national security for the FBI. The case also raises questions about whether she received favorable treatment from Justice Department prosecutors who charged her with a relatively minor offense.
FBI employee joined ISIS of her on volition & got 2 yr sentence—those the FBI goads to join in sting ops get 10+ yrs https://t.co/4VnrWrMYUV— Avi Asher-Schapiro (@AASchapiro) May 2, 2017
Alot to unpack here, like why an FBI employee w/top secret clearance who married an ISIS terrorist was barely punished compared to recruits. https://t.co/zb63Gwxt2D— Hend Amry (@LibyaLiberty) May 1, 2017
That's never good. https://t.co/r4jPxRr5ym— Joe Walsh (@WalshFreedom) May 1, 2017