Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Desperate housewives of ISIS: Virginia woman arrested for lying to the FBI


On November 17, 2014, Heather Elizabeth Coffman, 29 of Henrico County, Virginia, made her first appearance in U.S. District Court in Richmond. She is charged with making a false statement regarding an offense involving international or domestic terrorism. According to an affidavit filed by an FBI agent, Coffman promoted ISIS on several Facebook accounts she maintained under various aliases. Court documents also accuse her of offering to help an undercover FBI agent connect with the terrorist group in Syria. When she was questioned by the authorities, Coffman lied, denying that she engaged in these activities.

Mark Henry Schmidt, Coffman’s defense attorney, said that his client was born and raised in the United States, lived with her parents and cared for her 7-year-old child. He seemed to blame the case on “Facebook going badly.” The FBI’s investigation of Coffman commenced when agents took note of her Facebook postings and sought search warrants to access her various accounts. In her social media postings, Coffman exclaimed, “I love ISIS!” and posted images with text that said: “We are all ISIS, Islamic State of Iraq & Sham.” The court ordered her to remain in custody until the next hearing on Wednesday.