A woman from Canada had been tracked to have joined the ISIS because of her tweets which divulged her location. She unwittingly failed to disable the geo-tagging function on her Twitter account, enabling authorities to see her every movement.
Identified only as “L.A.,” her tweets were tracked by iBRABO, which describes itself as an open source intelligence research group. The group is based in Canada. A report by the U.S.-based Terrorism Research and Analysis Consortium, or TRAC, said the woman had been tweeting from Toronto up until Nov 2014, when suddenly she appeared to be already in Syria.
Jeff Weyers, a senior analyst with iBRABO, said he cannot ascertain if the woman is indeed a Canadian citizen. He said they assumed she’s Canadian because her tweets started out in Toronto. Weyers told CTV News they are certain L.A. is a female because of her “softer extremist profile.”
“L.A. had actually been actively moving about throughout Toronto, even broadcasting her location up until the 23rd of Nov 2014. At that point she disappears and isn’t seen again until her Android phone starts broadcasting on the 8th of Dec from Ar Raqqah, Syria,” TRAC said. Further observing her Twitter network, TRAC saw L.A. follows and engages with several dozen ISIS fighters and supporters. She had also been vocal about her support for ISIS in several tweet posts, such as “God bless those who live on His path and who die on His path.”
TRAC went on to further examine L.A.’s movements. They saw she has travelled on numerous occasions to virtually “every major city that ISIS controls,” including Ar Raqqah, Dier ez Zur, Mosul, Aleppo and the embattled town of Kobane. On Christmas day, Dec 25, she was seen on the frontline in Kobane. TRAC believed L.A. was there because the ISIS had started to lose fighters and thus need to use women to act as spies for the group. “While on the frontline in Kobane she comments on her interaction with the fighters, ‘I did not see in their actions, anything but the utmost of respect for me as a sister,’” TRAC said, quoting her tweet post.
Veryan Khan, TRAC’s editorial director, noted L.A.’s active participation right in the centre of the battle lines. Women who support ISIS are usually there to serve as so-called “jihadi brides.” But L.A.’s case had been different. “This has never been seen before,” Khan told CTV News.
On Jan 9, 2015, L.A. was seen travelling to the ISIS controlled city of Mosul in Iraq, before continuing to Aleppo where she stayed from Jan 11-16. TRAC believed L.A. may have again been facilitating surveillance while in Aleppo.