Video: The case of the runaway jihadi bride

posted at 10:01 am on July 3, 2014 by Ed Morrissey

The FBI routinely gets accused of entrapment when arresting potential home-grown jihadis, but the curious case of Shannon Maureen Conley demonstrates just how far the agency will go to avoid an arrest. Agents arrested Conley in April, according to an indictment unsealed last night, when she attempted to board a plane to Turkey to marry an ISIS fighter and support the jihad cause. The FBI had previously tried to get her to change her mind, involving her parents and even a local mosque to convince her to find moderate means to support Muslims abroad. Conley didn’t take the hint:

A Colorado woman was arrested at the Denver airport in April and charged with conspiracy to provide material support to terrorists, according to court documents that were unsealed Wednesday.

Shannon Maureen Conley, 19, allegedly told FBI agents before her arrest that she was going to be with a member of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, or ISIS, that she had met through the Internet.

“It’s a difficult time for us,” her mother, Ana Conley, told CNN on Wednesday.

Conley’s attorney, Robert William Pepin, said he had no comment.

His client was arrested on a jetway while trying to board a flight to Germany on April 8, according to a criminal complaint. She told investigators she was going to Turkey to await word from her suitor.

Conley, a certified nurse aide, had told FBI agents she was going to be the man’s wife and a nurse in a ISIS camp near the Turkish border, documents showed.

But that wasn’t the first time agents had talked to Conley. The FBI tried for five months to divert Conley’s actions into more lawful and less dangerous directions:

FBI agents became aware of Conley’s growing interest in extremism in November after she started talking about terrorism with employees of a suburban Denver church who found her wandering around and taking notes on the layout of the campus, according to the court documents. The church, Faith Bible Chapel in Arvada, was the scene of a 2007 shooting in which a man killed two missionary workers.

She spoke with agents several times after that, telling them of her desire for jihad, the records state. The agents tried openly to dissuade her, urging her instead to support Muslims through humanitarian efforts, which she told them was not an option.

“Conley felt that Jihad is the only answer to correct the wrongs against the Muslim world,” the documents say.

Agents encouraged Conley’s parents to get her to meet with elders at her mosque to find more moderate options. Her parents knew she had converted to Islam but were apparently unaware of her extremism, authorities said.

And even after that, FBI agents kept trying — almost literally until the moment she walked onto the jetway:

Her father told an agent in March that Conley and her suitor had asked for his blessing to marry and were surprised when he declined. Her father later found a one-way plane ticket to Turkey.

Four days before her arrest, she told agents “there was nothing they could do to change her mind and that she was still going.” They stopped her as she was walking down the jetway.

Bummer of a case, Mr. Pepin. Best of luck with your upcoming insanity plea for Ms. Conley.


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“Conley felt that Jihad is the only answer to correct the wrongs against the Muslim world,”

Why Islam is incompatible with the West, example ∞.

nobar on July 3, 2014 at 10:09 AM

Islam is a cult.

JimK on July 3, 2014 at 10:09 AM

She needs to be purged of her Thetans or something.

Akzed on July 3, 2014 at 10:12 AM

So many odd stuff about this. Who knew that the FBI was in the counseling field. Also, ISIS was sure going to get a shock about the depth of her medical knowledge.

Cindy Munford on July 3, 2014 at 10:12 AM

Best of luck with your upcoming insanity plea for Ms. Conley.

She’s going to leave, nice, safe America for a violent cult that’s anti-woman and in a war zone to boot. Yeah, I’m thinking temporary insanity works well here.

rbj on July 3, 2014 at 10:13 AM

FBI agents became aware of Conley’s growing interest in extremism in November after she started talking about terrorism with employees of a suburban Denver church who found her wandering around and taking notes on the layout of the campus, according to the court documents.

I don’t know how understanding anyone is supposed to be if she was caught plotting a terrorist attack, mentally ill or not.

NotCoach on July 3, 2014 at 10:13 AM

She needs to be purged of her Thetans or something.

Akzed on July 3, 2014 at 10:12 AM

That word is copyrighted and you cannot use it without our permission.

Walter L. Newton on July 3, 2014 at 10:14 AM

Islam is a cult.

JimK on July 3, 2014 at 10:09 AM

The obvious can’t be stated publicly because the obvious raises far too many uncomfortable questions about how to deal with said cult.

NotCoach on July 3, 2014 at 10:15 AM

charged with conspiracy to provide material support to terrorists,

She’s arrested, while Obama gave ISIS their weapons.

What a country.

faraway on July 3, 2014 at 10:15 AM

Smh

cmsinaz on July 3, 2014 at 10:15 AM

I don’t know how understanding anyone is supposed to be if she was caught plotting a terrorist attack, mentally ill or not.

NotCoach on July 3, 2014 at 10:13 AM

If she’s tried in Colorado, she’s set. Her peers on the jury will be too stoned to think critically.

nobar on July 3, 2014 at 10:17 AM

When you’re that kind of zealot, it’s either that, or working for the IRS reviewing tax exemptions for policy interest groups.

RBMN on July 3, 2014 at 10:17 AM

So many odd stuff things about this. Who knew that the FBI was in the counseling field. Also, ISIS was sure going to get a shock about the depth of her medical knowledge.

Cindy Munford on July 3, 2014 at 10:12 AM

Grammar is my friend but proofreading hates me.

Cindy Munford on July 3, 2014 at 10:18 AM

One fewer vote for Hickenlooper/Udall in November.

sentinelrules on July 3, 2014 at 10:19 AM

Media to claim she is a Tea Partier in 3-2-1

faraway on July 3, 2014 at 10:21 AM

Conley told the investigators she does not like Israel or FBC’s active and vocal support for Israel.

What’s with the Left and their hatred of Israel?

sentinelrules on July 3, 2014 at 10:23 AM

Be glad you got caught, sweetie.

the curious case of Shannon Maureen Conley demonstrates just how far the agency will go to avoid an arrest.

The Choom Gang’s FBI don’t arrest no Moslems.

formwiz on July 3, 2014 at 10:25 AM

Maybe King Barack can hold a beer summit. Has anyone told Holder what his FBI agents are doing?

GarandFan on July 3, 2014 at 10:29 AM

Conley, a certified nurse aide, had told FBI agents she was going to be the man’s wife and a nurse in a ISIS camp near the Turkish border, documents showed.

Betcha Conley’s was attracted to ISIS offers because it offers all 20 types of contraception an employer must pay for under Obamacare. Not like those hate crafters.

Happy Nomad on July 3, 2014 at 10:30 AM

Agents encouraged Conley’s parents to get her to meet with elders at her mosque to find more moderate options.

Uh huh.

I guess we’re supposed to believe that the “elders” at her mosque would have altered her beliefs. Cause Lord knows, these poor kids are born radicalized.

BKeyser on July 3, 2014 at 10:34 AM

This woman and her activities had less government scrutiny than groups attempting to legally and peacefully form themselves as conservative associations. She was not audited by the IRS and nobody asked her about the nature of her prayers and meetings.

Happy Nomad on July 3, 2014 at 10:38 AM

and even a local mosque to convince her to find moderate means to support Muslims abroad.

Moderate means she can send money to support jihad like every other moderate Muslim in America and the American government.

BL@KBIRD on July 3, 2014 at 10:40 AM

Found an image of her at the Daily Mail wearing her Chairman Mao hat in a family photo.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2678662/Denver-woman-19-charged-plotting-join-ISIS-militants-wage-jihad-U-S.html

NotCoach on July 3, 2014 at 10:42 AM

Screaming about jihad, casing a chapel for nefarious purposes, spouts jihadi talking points… No problem here.

Thank Allah she didn’t illegally use her car horn. Now that’s serious stuff.

mankai on July 3, 2014 at 10:42 AM

Agents encouraged Conley’s parents to get her to meet with elders at her mosque to find more moderate options.

Sounds to me like she had already been meeting with them
and hence her original turn to violent jihad.

TXUS on July 3, 2014 at 10:42 AM

The case of the runaway jihadi bride leftist self-loathing tool

More accurate headline. Truth be told, she was going to be the camp whore. If she protested, she would be killed.

I’m pretty sure that the parents knew about her “issues” long ago but decided that she just had to go her own way. How quaint and movie-like.

platypus on July 3, 2014 at 10:47 AM

The Choom Gang’s FBI don’t arrest no Moslems.

formwiz on July 3, 2014 at 10:25 AM

This.

wifarmboy on July 3, 2014 at 10:52 AM

NotCoach on July 3, 2014 at 10:42 AM

Even with all of its cotton candy articles, the Daily Mail is trying hard to be the number one real journalism paper in the world. The detail and scope of their articles is amazing. They seem to find things all the LameStreamMedia seem to miss/ignore.

platypus on July 3, 2014 at 10:53 AM

I think we should give all Muslims that want of fight for ISIS a free one way ticket to the Middle East upon renunciation of their US citizenship.

– and we should publicize this deal!!

KenInIL on July 3, 2014 at 10:54 AM

As an atty, I’m not sure anything she did was illegal. Clearly, she wanted to do those things but arresting someone for leaving the country to marry a jihadi is not usually a crime. That’s awfully close to thought crime.

Hucklebuck on July 3, 2014 at 11:04 AM

Sounds like a new social experiment by the FBI .

Lucano on July 3, 2014 at 11:09 AM

“With Allah as my witness, I thought I could fly to Turkey.”-Shannon Maureen Conley Carlson

Flange on July 3, 2014 at 11:13 AM

The agents tried openly to dissuade her, urging her instead to support Muslims through humanitarian efforts,

Yes, please help our enemies destroy us through “humanitarian efforts.” That’s some FBI we’ve got there.

If I so much as look at a cop the wrong way, I could end up in jail. This chick is actively planning to attack our country, and she gets sensitivity training.

“Conley felt that Jihad is the only answer to correct the wrongs against the Muslim world,” the documents say.

That’s standard orthodox Islam. Although Islam defines someone merely not being Muslim as a ‘wrong against the Muslim world.’

Agents encouraged Conley’s parents to get her to meet with elders at her mosque to find more moderate options.

They’ll advise her only to blow up 5 people instead of 50. Moderate, see?

WhatSlushfund on July 3, 2014 at 11:16 AM

I assume that as soon as she arrived in Turkey that the ISIS folks would put her in a burqa and set her to work in the kitchen. They can’t have women (even the western kind) tending to their Islamic men.

This woman had no idea what she was getting into.

Special Forces Grunt on July 3, 2014 at 11:17 AM

Snort

katy the mean old lady on July 3, 2014 at 11:23 AM

Is Evan Perez a US citizen, or is CNN trying to make some DACA point? He’s a moron, and he can’t tighten his tie correctly.

BuckeyeSam on July 3, 2014 at 11:25 AM

Moderate Muslims would counsel the dear heart to wait to fight jihad here at home until there are enough Muslims to decapitate all the queers, Christians, Jews, agnostics, atheists, NOW members, Hollywood actors and actresses, and NFL cheerleaders. Which, in the view of CNN, BBC, and NYT, would be a small price to pay in order to get rid of goober Tea Party guys like me.

catsmeow on July 3, 2014 at 11:26 AM

That word is copyrighted and you cannot use it without our permission.

Which word?
She, needs, purged, Thetans, or something?

Hammie on July 3, 2014 at 11:28 AM

She just believes in Islamic exceptionalism.

tdau1997 on July 3, 2014 at 11:29 AM

Dying in Jihad, she could have contributed to reducing carbon emissions. Instead, Colorado will generate in excess of a million psycho-legal-babble entropic units of activity. Clearly, a defeat for Climate Change leftists.

catsmeow on July 3, 2014 at 11:32 AM

OT: Police Officer narrowly escapes injury in brutal attack BobMbx on July 3, 2014 at 11:04 AM

You cop hating anarchist pantywaist cop hater.

Akzed on July 3, 2014 at 11:38 AM

Heh. If they really wanted to punish her, they should have just let her go — and never let her come back to the US.

CJ on July 3, 2014 at 11:40 AM

Grammar is my friend but proofreading hates me.

Cindy Munford on July 3, 2014 at 10:18 AM

Ha! I’m stealing this!

Lolo on July 3, 2014 at 11:44 AM

The FBI had previously tried to get her to change her mind, involving her parents and even a local mosque to convince her to find moderate means to support Muslims abroad. Conley didn’t take the hint:

…was she a republican?

JugEarsButtHurt on July 3, 2014 at 11:45 AM

“Moderate” way means sending money instead of fighting.

Ben Hur on July 3, 2014 at 11:51 AM

“With Allah as my witness, I thought I could fly to Turkey.”-Shannon Maureen Conley Carlson

Flange on July 3, 2014 at 11:13 AM

Thread winner.

Hucklebuck on July 3, 2014 at 11:53 AM

What she needs is for the FBI to set up a tent in a gravel pit and hire a couple of Somalis with head rags to ravish her royally. That is the secret nature of her quest after all.

BL@KBIRD on July 3, 2014 at 11:55 AM

Betcha Conley’s was attracted to ISIS offers because it offers all 20 types of contraception an employer must pay for under Obamacare. Not like those hate crafters.

Happy Nomad on July 3, 2014 at 10:30 AM

No. In Islam the only approved method consists of getting the head far removed from the body. This should be no problem for Ms. Conley as he mind already seems elsewhere.

Annar on July 3, 2014 at 12:17 PM

Shannon Maureen Conley, 19, allegedly told FBI agents before her arrest that she was going to be with a member of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, or ISIS, that she had met through the Internet.

Well, when she finds out it was a 12 year old kid in Vermont she was communicating with she’s going to be in even worse shape.

But still in better shape than if she’d actually flown to the Middle East to meet up with ISIS.

gekkobear on July 3, 2014 at 12:48 PM

As an atty, I’m not sure anything she did was illegal. Clearly, she wanted to do those things but arresting someone for leaving the country to marry a jihadi is not usually a crime. That’s awfully close to thought crime.

Hucklebuck on July 3, 2014 at 11:04 AM

The same thought occurred to me. I’m guessing there may be a bit more to the story we aren’t hearing.
On the other hand, the FBI may have just come to the conclusion that arrest was the best way to go, even if they knew they did not have a case. Putting myself in those shoes, I think I would have done just that, it has to be better than knowingly letting a 19 year old kid with mental problems fly off to service savages.

JusDreamin on July 3, 2014 at 12:55 PM

Islam is a cult.

JimK on July 3, 2014 at 10:09 AM

This right here…A satanic cult that wants to rule the whole world

sadsushi on July 3, 2014 at 1:08 PM

Bummer of a case, Mr. Pepin. Best of luck with your upcoming insanity plea for Ms. Conley.

A woman who voluntarily converted to Islam? That sounds like a good basis for an insanity plea to me.

Theophile on July 3, 2014 at 4:54 PM

One way ticket from Denver to Istanbul: $1,285.00 plus tax.

Expression on young Shannon’s face when her Jihadi husband-to-be’s traditional mother informs her about that old Middle Eastern Clitoridectomy thing: Priceless

focusfrost on July 3, 2014 at 6:09 PM

Pathetic 5150.

Have fun in Guantanamo.

evergreen on July 3, 2014 at 6:19 PM

She could be a hipster designer for a new line of abayas in the new caliphate. She can create a new shade of black that women there will die for.

V-rod on July 3, 2014 at 7:35 PM

http://launch.newsinc.com/embed.html?type=VideoPlayer/16×9&videoId=26336883&trackingGroup=91944&widgetId=28446&playlistId=12850&siteSection=libunyielding_blg_pol_sec&embedOriginUrl=http%253A%252F%252Flibertyunyielding.com%252F

If some guy in a motorized wheelchair deliberately rolled over my foot, the result would be identical. You are always obligated to operate machinery with great concern for the people around you. If you know (and I think the wheelchair guy knew) that you might hit someone with your vehicle, you are obligated to remain halted and to tell the people who might be hit that they need to move out of the way so you can pass. There’s a reason why that guy had four policemen around him, and I expect that will all come out in the wash.

I once had a taxi driver make a right hand turn directly in front of me in Manhattan as I was crossing the street. I jumped back and then stove in the rear quarter panel on his vehicle as he went by (I was wearing steel toed shoes). He immediately halted his vehicle in the middle of the street and got out. I continued over to the subway station where I was headed, giving him a choice — he could leave his taxi and chase me down into the station and get his cab stolen — or he could just keep going, smarter and wiser.

unclesmrgol on July 3, 2014 at 8:21 PM