A Wisconsin woman hacked Facebook accounts in order to recruit ISIS supporters and instruct them on how to mix poison and build explosives, according to authorities.
Waheba Issa Dais, 46, an Israel-born permanent legal U.S. resident, pleaded guilty to efforts to garner material support for ISIS.
Milwaukee-area Dais, a mother of seven, hacked a slew of Facebook accounts from unknowing users, hoping to avoid law enforcement. She used the site to pledge allegiance to and recruit new members for ISIS, and shared instructions for building explosives. She also sought to encourage ISIS supporters who endeavored to commit terrorist acts, according to prosecutors.
“Remember [the] Boston Marathon bombing?” she asked an undercover FBI officer on Facebook. After a quick list of the explosives’ makings, Dais urged the officer to “join my channel and research.”
Upon gaining control of a user’s account, Dais replaced that person’s original Facebook friends with ISIS contacts. She altered the display names to reflect a variant of Hind Salah Eddin, her online alias.
In an effort to encourage fellow ISIS supporters to follow suit, Dais posted and subsequently shared an instructional video detailing how to hack Facebook accounts.
Dais posted additional how-to videos such as detailed lessons on building explosives, including belts worn by suicide bombers, according to a statement by the Justice Department.
Dais shared a recipe via Facebook to make the deadly poison ricin, for which there is no antidote. She called the poison “easier, more effective, and cannot be traced, even if the person dies, it cannot be found in the body.” Dais advocated the use of ricin in attacks targeting government facilities or city water reservoirs.
Cuban national, Yosvany Padilla-Conde, who was living in Milwaukee when he was arrested, pleaded guilty to aiding and abetting another man, Jason Ludke’s attempt to join the ISIS. Padilla-Conde planned to drive Ludke to Mexico in order to travel under the radar to Syria or Iraq. Padilla-Conde pledged his allegiance to the terrorist group in an online video, in which also detailed his own plans to travel to the Middle East. Both men were subsequently convicted.
Dais and Padilla-Conde face as many as 20 years in prison each as well as a $250,000 fine, according to the Justice Department. Their plea deals were only formalized in court on Monday though they had been signed weeks ago.
Seamus Hughes, the deputy director of the Program on Extremism at George Washington University, dismissed Padilla-Conde’s case as being “run-of-the-mill,” calling Dais’ more significant.
Hughes called Dais “kind of a key voice online” as her actions put a spotlight on the crucial aspect of the terrorist group’s female supporters, namely those from the U.S. “American women supporters in general, but her in particular, tend to be the glue that hold different online spaces together. … She wasn’t just a connector, she was providing some level of skill to individuals who otherwise wouldn’t have it.”
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