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An FBI employee married an ISIS terrorist in Syria


Monday's craziest story comes from CNN: Daniela Greene, an FBI employee with top-secret clearance, traveled to Syria in 2014 to marry Denis Cuspert, a German rap wannabe-turned-ISIS lieutenant. She got cold feet and somehow made it back to the U.S., but was arrested upon her return.

Why it matters: Greene's case is a huge embarrassment for the FBI, as her entrance into ISIS-controlled Syria as an American woman must have required the approval of top leadership, leading many to question what secrets she put at risk. Moreover, she received a light sentence — only two years in prison for making false statements involving international terrorism — causing speculation that she received favorable treatment during her prosecution.

  • Cuspert, who once opened for rap legend DMX, filmed an ISIS propaganda video that featured him holding a severed human head.
  • Greene was investigating Cuspert as a part of her work as a German translator for the FBI and apparently used that information to get in touch with him via Skype.
  • In June 2014, Greene — still married to an American at the time — told the FBI she was going to visit her parents in Germany, but she actually traveled to Istanbul and then onto Syria to marry Cuspert.
  • While Greene was in Syria, Cuspert featured in an ISIS propaganda video in "a field covered with dead bodies."
  • Greene avoided harsher charges through "significant, long-running, and substantial" cooperation with authorities.
  • Cuspert was believed to have been killed in an October 2015 airstrike in Raqqa, but the U.S. government rescinded that claim in August 2016.