After Sept. 11, "Annie" couldn't shake an intense need to help victims of the largest terrorist attack in U.S. history. From her home in the Midwest, she reached out the only way she could, through her computer.
Annie, who doesn't use her real name in order to keep her identity under wraps, is part of a group of seven cyberslueths who met over the Internet. They call their union the "7 Seas" and they've come together with one goal in mind — to bring down possible terrorists of the world before they have the chance to strike.
"It involves a lot of research and monitoring Web sites, analyzing the messages that we see, the information, you have to sort through it all. We analyze it together as a group and if need be, we send to it the appropriate authorities," Annie said on ABC News' Good Morning America.
Spurred to action by the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, Annie began tracking a few Web sites. One link led her to another and now she monitors thousands of Web sites on a full-time basis. Sometimes she poses as a Muslim man, using translation software as her interpreter.
While members of the 7 Seas global intelligence network — formed by citizens from Singapore, Canada, Australia, and the United States — have no official link to any law enforcement organizations, they say their tips are helping agencies in the fight against terror.
Shannen Rossmiller, a 7 Seas member from a tiny town in Montana, met a National Guardsman named Ryan Anderson when she posed as an Islamic extremist online. When the 26-year-old tank driver with the 81st Armor Brigade at Fort Lewis allegedly offered to share military information with al Qaeda, Rossmiller, a 34-year-old city judge, contacted the FBI .
Anderson was arrested in February and charged with five counts of trying to give al-Qaeda information about U.S. troop strength and tactics. He could face life in prison if convicted.
Annie says 7 Seas members are very dedicated to their cause an they have no intention of ending their search for possible terrorists anytime soon.
"We are deeply connected to one another. We keep in constant daily contact with each other. Through the Internet, we meet online with each other, and as a group," Annie said.
As for Annie, she will continue to spend time scanning Web sites for possible terrorist activity each day, in the hopes that she can make a difference in the war on terror.
"I think we need people like us," Annie said. "This is like a major wakeup call that there is so much out there on the Internet that needs to be addressed."