Former Boston man may be helping with chilling ISIS social media, source says

Is U.S. citizen social media guru for ISIS?
Is U.S. citizen social media guru for ISIS?

    JUST WATCHED

    Is U.S. citizen social media guru for ISIS?

MUST WATCH

Is U.S. citizen social media guru for ISIS? 02:02

Story highlights

  • U.S. investigators looking to see if Ahmad Abousamra is involved, a law enforcement official says
  • Abousamra is wanted on federal terrorism charges issued in 2009
  • He traveled to Pakistan and Yemen seeking terror training, FBI says
  • He also has a computer degree and is fluent in English and Arabic, FBI says
He's fluent in both English and Arabic, and if his college degree in computers is any indication, he has a way with technology. Then there's his interest in radical Islam.
Put it all together, and authorities say former Boston resident and U.S. citizen Ahmad Abousamra could be a good fit inside the ISIS social media machine that's become renowned in recent weeks for spewing brutal propaganda across social media -- messages meant both to terrify and recruit Westerners.
There's no specific evidence pointing to Abousamra's involvement in the terror group's social media campaign, but federal investigators think he may have joined the group and is helping with online efforts, a law enforcement official told CNN.
Abousamra, who holds dual U.S. and Syrian citizenship, is wanted by the FBI on terrorism charges issued in 2009. They include providing material support to terrorists. There's a $50,000 reward for his capture.
According to the FBI, Abousamra repeatedly traveled to Pakistan and Yemen seeking "military training for the purpose of killing American soldiers overseas."
He returned to the United States but left after FBI terrorism investigators questioned him.
How ISIS gains recruits
How ISIS gains recruits

    JUST WATCHED

    How ISIS gains recruits

MUST WATCH

How ISIS gains recruits 03:09
Cyber footprints of Syria's jihadists
Cyber footprints of Syria's jihadists

    JUST WATCHED

    Cyber footprints of Syria's jihadists

MUST WATCH

Cyber footprints of Syria's jihadists 02:44
ISIS' positive message on social media
ISIS' positive message on social media

    JUST WATCHED

    ISIS' positive message on social media

MUST WATCH

ISIS' positive message on social media 02:54
Should beheading video be seen?
Should beheading video be seen?

    JUST WATCHED

    Should beheading video be seen?

MUST WATCH

Should beheading video be seen? 06:22
He was last believed to be living in Syria, according to the FBI.
According to ABC, Abousamra grew up in Boston. His father was a doctor, and he went to a private Catholic high school and a public school before attending Northeastern University, where he made the dean's list, according to ABC, which cited school officials.
ISIS appears to have a well-funded, well-organized social media and video production effort. Its videos are slickly produced, with high production values, experts say. And ISIS imagery has proven tough to stamp out.
Twitter lagged behind ISIS on efforts to remove images of the decapitation of U.S. journalists, CNN national security analyst Fran Townsend noted.
"We've seen propaganda campaigns from al Qaeda before, but nothing that acts that quickly in real-time events that's able to target tactically, and that's a real concern to American officials," she said.
Juliette Kayyem, also a CNN national security analyst, said social media is helping ISIS, which also calls itself the Islamic State, amplify its message.
"They are a serious threat, and they are using social media to make themselves even bigger in that regard," she said.