Tapes surface of 'Jihadi John' talking about UK scrutiny

Staff Writer
Stephenville Empire-Tribune

LONDON (AP) — Audio tapes in which the man identified as "Jihadi John" complains about scrutiny from British intelligence services have been broadcast in Britain.

The tapes contained a man identified as Mohammed Emwazi describing to the Muslim advocacy group CAGE his encounters with British agents in 2009. They were played by the BBC Tuesday and discussed on-air by CAGE research director Asim Qureshi.

British security officials have not commented on Emwazi, who last week was revealed to be the masked Islamic State group figure who has appeared in a number of beheading videos.

On the tapes, Emwazi describes how a British agent called Nick purportedly threatened him and accused him of trying to travel to Somalia to join terrorists there, which Emwazi denied.

Emwazi can be heard complaining that a British agent interrogating him tried to "put words in my mouth."

He quoted the agent as saying: "We are going to keep a close eye on you Mohammed. We already have been and we are going to keep a close eye on you."

Emwazi's comments are very similar to complaints made in emails from him that CAGE released earlier.

CAGE director Qureshi has suggested that harassment by the security services may have pushed Emwazi toward extremist views.

"What we want to see is that our security agencies don't operate in a way that actually drives people away from feeling like they have a role to play in this society." Qureshi said.

He said Emwazi had been willing to work within the system.

CAGE's sympathetic attitude toward Emwazi and criticism of Britain's security forces drew an angry response from London Mayor Boris Johnson.

"I really, really think that the focus of your indignation and outrage should be on people who go out to join groups that throw gays off cliffs, that behead people who don't subscribe to their version of Islam, that glorify in the execution of innocent journalists and aid workers," Johnson told Qureshi.

CAGE has been widely criticized for a lengthy news conference last week in which its leaders described Emwazi as having been an extremely kind and gentle man when they dealt with him before he went to Syria.