Feds seek Boston man as possible ISIS social media guru
Yet another American is suspected of joining ISIS and using skills acquired in this country to advance the goal of a global caliphate. Ahmad Abousamra, a graduate of Northeastern University in Boston with a degree related to computer technology, is suspected of being the social media manager of ISIS and is on the FBI’s Most Wanted List.
Abousamra comes from a privileged background, and is likely to be highly intelligent. His father is an endocrinologist at Massachusetts General Hospital, one of the very top medical facilities in the world, while Abousamra managed to get on the Dean’s List at Northeastern, not the most competitive or prestigious schools in the vast universe of Boston higher education institutions, but a school that emphasizes work/study programs, and which attracts upwardly mobile strivers.
According to Michelle McPhee and Brian Ross of ABC News:
Abousamra’s life changed drastically in 2004 when prosecutors say he and co-conspirators traveled to the Middle East with the goal of fighting and killing Americans in Iraq.
Once abroad, two alleged co-conspirators of Abousamra’s, Tarek Mehanna and another unidentified individual, worked as effectively the “media wing” of al Qaeda in Iraq (AQI), a 2009 indictment against Abousamra and Mehanna says. AQI later would evolve into the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS).
Both eventually returned to the U.S. where Mehanna was arrested and later convicted. But after Abousamra was questioned by the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force in 2006, he fled the country for Syria. He was charged with terrorism-related offenses in 2009, and in 2013 the FBI added Abousamra to its Most Wanted Terrorists list.
The senior law enforcement official said it appears now that Abousamra may have taken up a similar job with ISIS as his co-conspirators had for AQI. Abousamra, the FBI says, has a “college degree related to computer technology and was previously employed at a telecommunications company.”
“There continues to be a worldwide search for Abousamra and he will be pursued until he is found,” another official, FBI Assistant Special Agent in Charge Kieran Ramsey, told ABC News. The government offers a $50,000 reward for information leading to his capture.
This kind of rejection of America, the country which took in his Syrian immigrant family and provided educational opportunity to Abousamra, is very troubling. There are hints in his background that he may have rebelled against his father or parents, for, as Corrine Lestch of the NY Daily News reports:
His father was a prominent endocrinologist at Massachusetts General Hospital, and enrolled his son at the private Xaverian Brothers Catholic high school, where he made honor roll.
He was later on the Dean’s List as a student at Northeastern.