In November 2020, Sam Sally, also known as Sam Elhassani, was sentenced to six-and-a-half years in prison for financing terrorism — making her the first American woman brought back from Syria or Iraq and convicted on ISIS-related terrorism charges.
How did this American mother go from a comfortable life in Indiana to the heart of ISIS’s self-declared caliphate in Syria, with her husband a sniper for the terror group and her 10-year-old son forced to threaten President Donald Trump in an ISIS propaganda video shown around the world?
FRONTLINE tells the inside story tonight in Return From ISIS, a documentary in association with the BBC that has been nearly four years in the making.
It’s a saga in which truth is stranger than fiction: “I’ve covered many stories about ISIS and Westerners who’d joined the group,” says the documentary’s director, writer and producer Josh Baker (Battle for Iraq, I’m Not A Monster). “But I’ve never encountered anything quite like this.”