A German rapper turned top-ranking Islamic State soldier has entered international discourse once more, after it has been exposed that he married an FBI agent who was investigating him.
Deso Dogg, or Denis Cuspert, was a successful performer in Germany around 10 years ago, and even toured with the well-known American rapper DMX. German authorities disclosed in 2014 that he had joined Islamic State fighters in Syria and was recruiting German speakers into the terrorist organization.
American broadcaster CNN revealed on Tuesday that a rogue FBI employee named Daniela Greene fled the United States in June 2014 while investigating the IS operative to join him in Syria and marry him. As an undercover agent, she communicated with him over various online channels, including a Skype account of which she kept "sole access" unbeknownst to her FBI superiors.
According to court documents, Ms. Greene, an agency translator who was born in former Czechoslovakia and raised in Germany, changed her mind shortly after becoming a jihadi bride. In August 2014, she escaped back to the US where she was swiftly arrested and later received a sentence for misleading statements about her involvement in terrorism. She only had to serve two years in jail for "significant, long-running and substantial" cooperation with authorities.
Mr. Cuspert last made international headlines in October 2015, when the US Defense Department announced he had been targeted and killed in an air strike near Raqqa. However American authorities admitted almost a year later it was a mistake and the “specially designated global terrorist” had survived, following online reports that he had narrated an IS video off-camera.
The former rapper is now believed to be somewhere in IS-controlled Syria.
Born to a German mother and Ghanian father, Mr. Cuspert grew up in Berlin and as a teenager was part of a Turkish street gang called the 36 Boys, along with Germany's Spike Lee, film director Neco Çelik, and Michelin star chef Tim Raue. In 2010, he abandoned rap music and converted to Islam, becoming a popular singer of nasheeds, or Islamic devotional music, in German.
Mr. Cuspert has appeared in several propaganda videos since reportedly joining IS in 2012, including one in which he's seen holding a severed head.
Barbara Woolsey is an editor for Handelsblatt Global in Berlin. To contact the author: [email protected]