‘CNN’s Jean Casarez reports on the woman, known as “Lady al Qaeda,” who ISIS wanted to exchange for James Foley (22 August 2014)’.
Born in 1972, the Pakistani Aafia Siddiqui went to the United States to study neuroscience. She immigrated to the US in 1990 and obtained a PhD from Brandeis University in 2001. The good people of Wikipedia explain further that in “Siddiqui returned to Pakistan [in 2003 and that]. [i]n March . . . she was named as a courier and financier for al-Qaida by Khalid Sheikh Muhammad and was placed on a “wanted for questioning” list by the FBI. She subsequently disappeared until she was arrested in Ghazni, Afghanistan, with documents and notes for making bombs plus containers of sodium cyanide. Siddiqui was indicted in New York federal district court in September 2008 on charges of attempted murder and assault stemming from an incident in an interview with US authorities in Ghazni, charges which Siddiqui denied. After 18 months in detention, she was tried and convicted in early 2010 and sentenced to 86 years in prison. Throughout the trial, the Pakistani government supported Siddiqui. Her conviction resulted in some protests in Pakistan. Various media reports have also highlighted differences in how the case was portrayed in the US and in Pakistan”.
In the Independent, Heather Saul writes that “Islamic State militants reportedly demanded the release of Dr Aafia Siddiqui, a female Pakistani scientist and others extradited to the United States, in exchange for American photojournalist James Foley and other Western hostages. In an email sent to the family of Mr Foley, the militants claimed they had offered “prisoner exchanges to free the Muslims currently in your detention” including Dr Sidiqqui. Dr Sidiqqui, 42, a neuroscientist trained at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, was arrested in Ghazni, Afghanistan in 2008. She was found to be carrying notes at the time of her arrest that included references to constructing dirty bombs and a list of New York City landmarks, as well as the toxic substance sodium cyanide. While being interrogated by US officials she allegedly grabbed a rifle and opened fire, shouting ‘death to Americans’, according to the BBC. She was sentenced to 86 years in prison after being convicted of attempting to kill US military personnel, sparking protests across Pakistan demanding her release. A petition to the White House also calling for her release has gathered 110,000 signatures in August. She is being held at a prison in Texas”.
 Heather Saul, “James Foley beading: Isis ‘demanded release’ of female Pakistani scientist Dr Aafia Siddiqui and others in exchange for Western hostages” The Independent (22 August 2014). http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/middle-east/james-foley-beading-isis-demanded-release-of-female-pakistani-scientist-dr-aafia-siddiqui-and-others-in-exchange-for-western-hostages-9685598.html.