Skip to main site content.

‘I was weak’

FBI translator regrets abandoning husband to marry ISIS recruiter she was assigned to investigate

By WITW Staff on May 3, 2017

In 2014, FBI translator Daniela Green traveled to Syria to marry an ISIS operative she had been assigned to investigate — German rapper-turned-ISIS recruiter Denis Cuspert. The details of her overseas affair were made public this week in a report by CNN.

Greene, now 38, was raised partially in Germany but married a U.S. soldier and subsequently moved to and attended college in the U.S. After completing a Master’s Degree in History at Clemson, Greene was recruited as a contract linguist for the FBI in 2011. Three years after getting her start at the FBI, Greene was assigned to investigate Cuspert, a German former gangsta rapper who, after a near-death experience in a car accident, had began singing Islamic devotional music — some of which praised Osama bin Laden.

Cuspert had fled Germany in 2012 before re-emerging in Syria as “ISIS’s Celebrity Cheerleader,” according to the Middle East Media Research Institute. Cuspert worked to recruit online followers to ISIS, calling the terror group “the state that no one can stop.” In April 2014, while Greene was assigned to his case, Cuspert officially declared his allegiance to ISIS. Just two months later, on June 11, Greene filled out a Report of Foreign Travel form — a necessity for FBI employees with national security clearances — for a trip to Germany to visit her family. Instead of going to Germany, however, she flew to Istanbul, before contacting Cuspert to help get her into Syria. According to court records, Greene subsequently married Cuspert — all while still being married to her American husband, who was waiting for her back home.

Within a few weeks, however, emails sent by Greene to an unidentified person in the U.S. indicated that she had serious regrets about her decision.

“I was weak and didn’t know how to handle things anymore,” wrote Greene on July 8. “I really made a mess of things this time.”

“I am gone and I can’t come back,” she added in an email sent the following day. “I am in a very harsh environment and I don’t know how long I will last here, but it doesn’t matter, it’s all a little too late.”

Cuspert, meanwhile, was actively engaging in Jihad — video from July 2014 allegedly showed Cuspert “in the bloody aftermath of the ISIS takeover of the Al-Sha’er gas field in Homs … beating a corpse with a sandal.”

Somehow, Greene managed to escape Syria about a month after her initial arrival. She was arrested on August 8, 2014, but her November trial was kept secret after prosecutors argued that publicity could endanger her and compromise investigation into her case. After a series of secret hearings, Greene was sentenced to only two years in prison after prosecutors determined that she hadn’t given the group important information.

“After the egregious abuse of her position, the defendant attempted to right her wrongs, and to ultimately assist her country again,” the prosecution wrote.

Read the full story at CNN.


Yazidi woman, enslaved by ISIS, shares her story of survival

Sudanese couple adopts infant granddaughter after their daughter dies fighting for ISIS

1st British woman to travel to Syria to fight ISIS joins all-female Kurdish militia