NEW YORK (CNN) – U.S. intelligence officials are combing through a recent ISIS video for clues about a man who’s just blasted onto their radar.
An ISIS militant, who speaks perfect English and who appears to commit a horrifying act on-camera. In a 55-minute film, he appears only at the end. However, his voice resonates all the way to Washington, where a U.S. official tells CNN, the intelligence community is analyzing this video, trying to determine this man’s origin.
“And we’re here with the soldiers of Bashar. You can see them now, digging their own graves in the very place where they were stationed,” said the masked ISIS member in the video.
This masked ISIS militant gloats as he presides over the executions of Syrians, apparently captured from a military base near Raqqa.
“They said that we abandoned the fronts and stopped fighting the Kufar to turn our guns towards the Muslims. They lied!! Malahi. We are the harshest towards the Kufar! And the flames of war are only beginning to intensify,” said the masked ISIS member in the video. He speaks perfect English, “This is the end of every Kufar that we get a hold of.” He could be Arab, and educated in the west. He could be American or Canadian.
“Clearly ISIS had a calculated step to be able to put this guy on-camera. Why? Because he seems American. The message is aimed at a western audience. And his intent is to, (A) project fear to the united states and (B) to instill and give this sense of a projection of power,” said Frank Cilluffo, Homeland Security Policy Inst.
The entire video is pure ‘ISIS’ propaganda. Stylishly-edited battle scenes, featuring the enemy’s heavy armor getting blown apart. However, a crucial moment comes in the film’s final minutes when the masked ‘ISIS’ militant and his comrades ready their guns and appear to execute the Syrians who dug their own graves.
“If this is a North American, this would be quite extraordinary because it’s the first time that a North American ISIS fighter has committed a war crime on-camera,” said Paul Cruickshank, a terrorism analyst.
A U.S. official says it’s too early to tell where his dialect is from.
“Malahi, the fighting has just begun!” said the masked ISIS member in the video.
How will they find clues? Cuilluffo says, “It’s going to be voice analysis, they’re going to be looking at any particular accents they may have, anything that could tip off law enforcement, where they can then pull the thread even further in terms of state and local, to meet with some of the communities.”
Did ISIS slip up and expose this man by having him say and do too much on-camera? Analyst Frank Cuilluffo says maybe not. The value for them, he says, is in propaganda and recruiting. Also if this man gets captured or killed, they have plenty more westerners in their ranks.