Crowdsourcing for crimefighting: FBI asks for Americans' help to fight ISIL

The FBI is asking citizens for help in identifying masked ISIL members with American accents that have appeared in videos circulating online, in a new initiative aimed at learning the identities of dozens of Americans who it says have joined the terrorist group (also known as ISIS).

On Tuesday, the bureau posted a YouTube video on its blog featuring a segment of a much longer, 55-minute ISIL propaganda video. In the segment, a masked man with an accent the FBI believes is North American speaks to the camera while pointing at a group of prisoners he says are digging their own graves.

Michael Steinbach, assistant director of the FBI's counterterrorism division, said the bureau hopes that the segment will jog a few memories and help them piece together the man's identity. "We're hoping that someone might recognize this individual and provide us with key pieces of information," Steinbach said. "No piece of information is too small."

The blog post urged viewers to submit any information they might have through a form on their website at

An estimated 100 Americans reportedly have joined various militia groups in Iraq and Syria in recent months, unnamed U.S. officials told ABC News, and perhaps a dozen are known to have joined the ISIL organization.

The FBI isn't the only group using online video resources to help solve crimes. Two California police departments--the Los Angeles Sheriff's Department and the Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Office--have implemented a service called LEEDIR (Large Emergency Event Digital Information Repository) that activates during emergencies. Santa Barbara was the first department to use the system, asking its citizens to upload video and photos onto the Amazon Web Services-hosted service following a riot in April.

For more:
- see this FBI blog post
- ABC News has this story

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