Current Page: U.S. | Tuesday, November 18, 2014
Heather Elizabeth Coffman Offered Islamic State Help; Arrested in Undercover Sting

Heather Elizabeth Coffman Offered Islamic State Help; Arrested in Undercover Sting

Shi'ite fighters pose with a black flag belonging to the Islamic State, which they pulled down after capturing the town of Jurf al-Sakhar from the Islamic State militants, south of Baghdad, Iraq, October 26, 2014. | (Photo: Reuters/Stringer)

A Virginia woman has been charged with lying to authorities about her involvement with ISIS and was arrested in an undercover sting operation on Monday.

Heather Elizabeth Coffman, 29, allegedly used social media to show her support for the Islamic State and even offered to help someone in the United States connect with the group in Syria.

According to the FBI, Coffman was in touch with a person interested in joining the group; unbeknownst to her, that someone was a federal official. She explained that she had helped her "husband" travel to Turkey to meet up with ISIS agents who could get him to the front lines in Syria and even outlined the specific details of her plan, but said that she and her husband separated, so he never made the trip.

Coffman "is suspected of conspiring and attempting to provide material support to the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham ("ISIS") a foreign terrorist organization," the FBI's affidavit read.

The FBI became aware of Coffman's presence online when they noticed an increase in her support for ISIS, which she expressed on her Facebook account.

"We are all ISIS, Islamic State of Iraq & Sham," Coffman posted on June 23, according to the FBI's affidavit.

She even went so far in her support as to try and convince her sister to join her in supporting the group, the FBI said. Coffman posted about that experience as well and noted that her dad was "a little angry because I got her into all this jihad stuff."

But Coffman's attorney said that his client has never met with ISIS agents and simply used her social network to express herself.

"As far as I know, she hasn't traveled anywhere," Mark Henry Schmidt, Coffman's attorney, told The Washington Post. "Her connections with the outside world would be on the Internet. I imagine you can get into trouble on the Internet, but I imagine you can also think a lot more's going on than really is. If nothing else, this is certainly a cautionary tale about the Internet."

She appeared in federal court on Monday morning and is being held until Wednesday, when she will next appear in court.


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