By Katherine Lam
Published May 02, 2017
A former FBI translator with top-secret security clearance traveled to Syria in 2014 to marry an ISIS leader she was ordered to investigate, court documents obtained by Fox News on Tuesday revealed.
Daniela Greene served two years in prison for lying to FBI officials and sneaking into Syria to marry the top ISIS recruiter, identified as Denis Cuspert, in June 2014.
The chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, Michael McCaul, R-Texas, confirmed to Fox News there was an ongoing investigation into Greene’s case.
Details of Greene’s bizarre escape from the U.S. and into an ISIS fighter’s arms were revealed in redacted 2015 court documents filed in Washington, D.C., which Fox News obtained on Tuesday. CNN reported she now works as a hostess in a cocktail lounge and told the network: “If I talk to you my family will be in danger.”
Greene, who is fluent in German, began working for the FBI as a contract linguist and was granted top-secret security clearance in 2011. She was assigned to investigate Cuspert in January 2014 while working at FBI’s Detroit division.
Court documents identified Cuspert as “Individual A,” but he previously was a German rapper who went by the name Deso Dogg. He adopted the name Abu Talha al-Almani when he moved to Syria and used his show-biz persona to become one of ISIS’ top recruiters.
“Cuspert was a foreign terrorist fighter and operative for ISIL who used social media to take advantage of disaffected youth and potential Western recruits,” Pentagon spokeswoman Elissa Smith previously said in a statement to Fox News.
Cuspert appeared in propaganda videos, urging Muslim fighters to come to Syria to support the terrorist organization. Greene knew this for months during her investigation into Cuspert, according to court documents.
In June 2014, Greene took the plunge and decided to travel to Syria to be with Cuspert. She told her FBI supervisor and chief security officer that she was flying to Germany to visit her family. She filed paperwork listing her time off as “vacation/personal.”
Greene never made it to Germany, but instead took a one-way flight to Istanbul, Turkey, on June 23, 2014. She then allegedly traveled to Gaziantep, located about 20 miles away from the Syrian border.
The FBI agent got in contact with Cuspert, entered Syria and the two married on June 27, 2014, court documents showed, adding that she even warned Cuspert that the FBI was investigating him. The marriage lasted about a month before Greene realized she “had committed a criminal act,” according to the documents. They revealed three emails she wrote to an unidentified individual in the U.S. detailing her regret.
“I was weak and didn’t know how to handle anything anymore. I really made a mess of things this time,” Greene wrote in one email.
“I am in Syria. Sometimes I wish I could just come back. I wouldn’t even know how to make it through, if I tried to come back,” she wrote in another email.
In her third exchange, she acknowledged she was going to “prison for a long time if [she] comes back,” but accepted the consequence.
Greene returned to the United States on Aug. 6, 2014, where she was immediately arrested. She pleaded guilty and signed an agreement to cooperate with government officials.
Though Assistant U.S. Attorney Thomas Gillice said Greene engaged in “egregious” actions that “endangered our national security,” he recommended a prison sentence of just two years. One of the reasons was because the risk of her committing the crime again was low, according to court documents. She also was willing to work with the Government and had no prior incidents.
Greene was released from prison in August 2016. Two months earlier, reports surfaced that Cuspert was still alive despite the Pentagon declaring him dead in the fall of 2015.
A FBI spokesperson released this statement to Fox News: “As a result of this case the FBI took several steps in a variety of areas to identify and reduce security vulnerabilities. The FBI continues to strengthen protective measures in carrying out its vital work.”
Fox News’ Matthew Dean and Catherine Herridge contributed to this report.