The ISIS terrorist who horrified the world by beheading American journalist James Foley in an online video has been tentatively identified by British intelligence:
The British security services MI5 and MI6 have identified the British member of the Islamic State jihadist organization who is suspected of murdering American journalist James Foley, according to the London-based Sunday Times newspaper. The newspaper attributed the information to "senior government sources." The Sunday Times did not name the killer, saying that its sources "gave no details of the man they have identified," though it did give the name of a person it described as a "key suspect" – hip-hop artist Abdel-Majed Abdel Bary. According to the newspaper, Bary, 23, left his family's home in an upmarket London suburb last year. It says he recently tweeted a picture of himself holding up a severed head. The gruesome video of Foley's beheading, which was released last week, featured a man with a London accent. The newspaper said that Bary is known to fellow fighters as “Jihadi John.”
Correspondent Jennifer Griffin reported on Fox News Sunday that 'Jihadi John' was active in London's rap scene before traveling to Syria last year to take up arms on behalf of ISIS. He also has family ties to Islamist terrorism:
According to The Independent, Bary used the pseudonyms “L Jinny” or “Lyricist Jinn” when he was involved in the London rap scene. Bary’s father, Adel Abdul Bary, was believed to be a close associate of Osama bin Laden and was extradited from the UK to the US in 2012 for his alleged involvement in the 1998 U.S. embassy bombings in east Africa.
Here's what makes these details so disquieting: Many people probably envision ISIS terrorists as young, under-educated men from the Arab world who've been poisoned since birth with lies about the West. Unrelatable people from far off places. But Bary is a British citizen. He lived in an "upmarket" London neighborhood. He wasn't unacquainted with what free societies have to offer; to the contrary, he was immersed in his city's music scene. One day he's trying to forge a career as a rap artist; the next, he is on a plane to Syria, hoping to join the planet's most bloodthirsty radical fighting force. A year later, he's beheading an innocent American journalist on camera. As Griffin's report indicates, US officials are actively deliberating whether to expand the military's campaign against ISIS in Iraq (which a majority of Americans support -- led by Republicans, who actually don't reflexively oppose every decision President Obama makes) across the border into Syria. The public heavily opposed US intervention in Syria last year, but those proposed strikes were to be aimed at the Assad regime, not ISIS.
The terror group has now killed one American and is holding three more. They've vowed to bring their fight to the West; chillingly, thousands of their fighters are western nationals who've descended upon the Middle East to join the bloody jihad. The Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee says the US homeland is just "one plane ticket away" from a terrorist attack. Some estimates suggest that as many as 12,000 ISIS fighters hold American or European passports, prompting calls for an overhaul of US visa protocols. ISIS' leadership and operational strongholds are located inside Syria, where they've so far been safe from American attacks. Based on the report above, the Pentagon is weighing options including airstrikes and special forces boots on the ground. At least one Senate Democrat appears to have opened the door to sending in combat troops. NBC News correspondent Richard Engel says the expanded mission may be necessary because current policy "isn't working" because it's leaving important elements of ISIS in Syria "untouched." I'll leave you with two videos. The first shows an American strike obliterating an ISIS armored truck in Northern Iraq. The second is a Free Beacon mash-up by David Rutz, juxtaposing President Obama's infamous derision of ISIS as a "JV" basketball squad with his Defense Secretary's dire assessment of the group's nature and capabilities:
A McClatchy report published last month revealed that the Obama administration has been receiving detailed analysis of the rise of ISIS since 2012.