Once her son is off to school, Laura Mansfield settles in at her dining room table with her laptop and begins trolling Arabic-language message boards and chat rooms popular with jihadists.
Fluent in Arabic, the self-employed terror analyst often hacks into the sites, translates the material, puts it together and sends her analysis via a subscription service to intelligence agencies, law enforcement and academics.
Occasionally she comes across a gem, such as when she found a recent Osama bin Laden video — before al-Qaida had announced it.
"I realized, oh my gosh, I'm sitting here, I'm a fat 50-year-old mom and I've managed to scoop al-Qaida," said Mansfield, who uses that name as a pseudonym because she receives death threats.
Her website is here.