The U.S. government has been “thinking about” and “working on” ways to either kill or capture the ISIS propagandist known as “Jihadi John,” the nation’s top law enforcement official says.
Over the past year, as it has been wreaking havoc in Syria and Iraq and recruiting tens of thousands of fighters from around the world, ISIS has released several videos online showing the man with a distinctly British accent standing beside hostages from the United States and elsewhere as they were being beheaded.
“I think there is something to be said for holding accountable [and] getting at the people who are responsible for these barbaric acts,” Attorney General Eric Holder told ABC News’ Pierre Thomas in what is likely to be one of Holder’s last TV interviews before stepping down.
The BBC and Washington Post Thursday identified “Jihadi John” as Mohammed Emwazi, a college graduate with a degree in computer programming who grew up in a part of London described by some as working class. He reportedly left for Syria in 2012 and then joined ISIS.
In the interview with ABC News, Holder refused to confirm those reports, insisting nothing “would be served” by revealing the true identity of the masked man.
“It would cut back any of the operational possibilities we have been considering,” Holder added.
Nevertheless, asked whether he can guarantee “Jihadi John” will face justice, Holder said: “The vow that I can make to the American people, along with our allies, is that we will hold accountable all of the people who have been responsible for these heinous, barbaric acts. ... That is something that we are focused on each and every day.”
President Obama echoed those sentiments, saying the United States is “consistent and we are patient.”
“Eventually, if you hurt an American, you are going to be brought to justice in some fashion,” the president said in an interview Thursday with ABC News’ Seattle affiliate, KOMO-TV. “I’m confident we will get the job done. ... It will take a little bit of time but in the end, this death cult that has developed there ... is a dead end.”