The Terrorist Bride

Article excerpt

Byline: Orla Borg, Carsten Ellegaard Christensen, and Morten Pihl

Aminah's journey started in Croatia in the summer of 2010, as the young, blonde social worker boarded a Turkish Airlines flight. Her destination: Yemen and a man she had only met on the Internet but whom she believed to be the man of her dreams: the al Qaeda leader Anwar al-Awlaki.

What she didn't know was that her contact with Awlaki had been facilitated by a double agent, working with the CIA and the Danish secret service known as PET, in the hope that she would lead them to Awlaki.

The American-born terror leader already had two wives in Yemen but had told the undercover agent, Morten Storm, that he wanted to take a third wife--a white, Muslim woman. Two months later, Storm came across a Facebook group expressing support for Awlaki. He posted a message, encouraging people to get in touch. Soon, he received an inquiry, asking if Storm knew Awlaki personally. Aminah explained that she had recently converted to Islam and was now interested in marrying a Muslim.

Storm passed her information onto Awlaki who, in mid-December 2009, wrote to Aminah.

"There are two things that I would like to stress," Awlaki's message read in part. "The first is that I do not live in a fixed location, therefore my living conditions vary widely. Sometimes I live in a tent. Second, I sometimes have to seclude myself which means me and my family would not meet with any persons. If you can live in difficult conditions, do not mind loneliness and can live with restrictions on your communications with others then that is great."

Storm agreed to meet Aminah in Austria to make sure she was who she claimed to be. "Of course, we wouldn't want her to go to Yemen if she was crazy," says Storm.

In the spring of 2010, he went to Vienna, carrying an encrypted file with a video message that showed Awlaki, dressed in white.

"This recording is done specifically for sister Aminah," Awlaki says in the video. "I pray that Allah guides you ... to choose what is better for you regarding this proposal. …