Watch CBS News

FBI: U.S. knows identity of masked man in beheading videos

U.S. and British investigators believe they have identified the ISIS terrorist responsible for executing James Foley, Steven Sotloff, and David Haines
Investigators believe they have ID'd ISIS executioner 01:52

WASHINGTON -- The U.S. believes it has identified the British-accented masked man in the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) videos depicting the beheadings of two American journalists and a British aid worker, the FBI director says.

ISIS' foreign fighters: James Foley's killer reportedly a British citizen 02:02

FBI Director James Comey told reporters at the bureau's headquarters he would not reveal the man's name or nationality.

Comey did not address whether the U.S. believes the man - known as "Jihad John" - actually carried out the killings himself. The beheadings are not shown in the videos.

In the three videos, the man speaks British-accented English. He holds a long knife and appears to begin cutting the three men, American reporters James Foley and Steven Sotloff and British aid worker David Haines.

A masked ISIS fighter stands next to James Foley, Steven Sotloff and David Haines CBS

In late August, British Ambassador Peter Westmacott said his country was close to identifying the British-accented militant.

Last month, the Guardian newspaper quoted an unnamed former captive who was held in Raqqa, Syria, as saying he appeared to be "John," one of several British militants - nicknamed "The Beatles" by hostages - charged with guarding ISIS prisoners.

British officials have said as many as 400 nationals are believed to have traveled to Syria and Iraq to join ISIS on the battle field.

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.