The FBI is seeking help from the public in identifying foreign fighter terrorists by filling out an online form for submitting potential tips.
The FBI is also asking the public for help in identifying the man with a North American accent overseeing prisoners seemingly digging their own graves and overseeing their executions in a propaganda video for the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS, also known as ISIL).
Michael Steinbach, assistant director of the FBI’s Counterterrorism Division, told CBS:
“We need the public’s assistance in identifying U.S. persons going to fight overseas with terrorist groups or who are returning home from fighting overseas. We’re hoping that someone might recognize this individual and provide us with key pieces of information … No piece of information is too small.”
As the FBI seeks public help, they released a segment of the 55-minute video on its website in the hopes that someone might recognize the man. In the segment, the faces of the purported prisoners are obscured and their executions are not shown.
FBI Director James Comey told 60 Minutes that more than 100 Americans have been caught going to Syria or went to fight and have returned. Intelligence estimates put the number of Westerners who have joined the militants as high as 3,000.
“These homegrown violent extremists are troubled souls who are seeking meaning in some misguided way … And so they come across the propaganda and they become radicalized on their own independent study, and they’re also able to equip themselves with training again on the Internet, and then engage in jihad after emerging from their basement.”
Authorities were alarmed to learn that Moner Mohammad Abusalha, an American who carried out a suicide bomb attack in Syria, returned to his home in Florida between the time he first traveled to Syria to train with an al-Qaeda offshoot and the day he detonated explosives strapped to his body.
The prospect of radicalized Westerners returning from Syria to their homeland to carry out attacks is particularly worrisome for officials.