Intelligence services are connecting “Jihadi John”, the British-accented, black-masked jihadist shown in ISIS videos of beheadings, with Anonymous, the affiliation of hackers attacking Western businesses and government agencies.
The Unity Coalition for Israel has pulled together various strands of a story that at least two prominent Jihadis appearing in ISIS videos are likely known rappers/activists from Britain with a record of provocative hacks into government and personal files, which it then publishes. Their names have not surfaced officially, but UCI provides two of them.
One is Adel-Majed Abdel Bari, probably the “Jihadi John” of the videos who jokes as he cuts off heads of Western captives. Another is Junaid Hussain. Writes the UCI, “Under the alias ‘TriCk,’ Hussain claimed responsibility in 2011 for hacking, among other targets, the Facebook accounts of company cofounder Mark Zuckerberg and former French President Nicolas Sarkozy, and for publishing the personal information of former British Prime Minister Tony Blair. He was arrested for the computer crimes as a minor, and last year skipped bail over allegations of violent disorder, announcing his plans to flee into the Syrian conflict zone.
Many people on the libertarian right as well as the left are worried about NSA and other agencies retrieving cyber-records of private persons. However, the complicated web of influence that characterizes the ISIS people and the (surely unwitting) “Occupy” movement in this country and elsewhere, must bear scrutiny. If there is another planned attack on the U.S. homeland you will not hear much more about objections to NSA “snooping.” That doesn’t mean the NSA and other intelligence agencies don’t need to be under strong Congressional and Executive Branch review; just that hindering them may aid a strange and far-flung enemy. We all recall past security excesses, arguably in World War I and the Cold War, when innocent people were harassed. However, we should also remember that America is a top target for subversion, and we have foes for whom anything goes.