GCN Tech Blog

By GCN Staff

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Technology: The intelligence equalizer

If you're not from the Washington area (or even if you are), you might have missed an interesting tech story in yesterday's Washington Post about a woman in Montana who has taken it upon herself to help snare terror suspects online (free registration may be required--GCN and the Post are owned by the same parent company).

Shannen Rossmiller is a municipal court judge who might have lived her dual life in relative annonymity, cooperating with the intelligence community, if she hadn't been called to testify in the case of a Washington state National Guardsman convicted in 2004 of attempted espionage. Apparently, Rossmiller helped catch this and other would-be terrorists.

Rossmiller has taken great pains to educate herself in Arabic, as well as in the technology tools she needs to convice online jihadists that she's one of them. Given the chance to pooh-pooh her work, the CIA and FBI did not. In fact, they told the Post she'd provided useful information, and one source said her family's safety has been a government issue for two years.

She uses software to mask her IP address and make it seem like she's writing from the Middle East. Her husband maintains their home's eight computers and two broadband connections.

What's to keep the average American from pitching in like Rossmiller? Language skills, mostly, and maybe gumption, but not technology roadblocks. And as of now, it seems, the intel agencies aren't discouraging her from helping out.

Posted by Brad Grimes

Posted by Brad Grimes, Joab Jackson on Jun 05, 2006 at 9:39 AM


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