February 27, 2015 8:10 AM EST

Attorney General Eric Holder says U.S. officials are actively working to bring the ISIS fighter known as ‘Jihadi John’ to justice.

The man seen in ISIS’s brutal hostage videos, sometimes decapitating people himself, was identified by news outlets like the BBC and the Washington Post on Thursday as Mohammed Emwazi, a Londoner who is thought to have joined ISIS after traveling to Syria in 2012.

In an interview with ABC News, Holder declined to confirm this identity, saying it would “cut back the operational possibilities that we have been considering.”

Nevertheless, he says those possibilities of killing or capturing Jihadi John are indeed real. “I think there’s something to be said for holding [him] accountable, for getting at the people who are responsible for these barbaric acts, for using our military power to kill substantial numbers of them, and then also finding ways in which we can stop the flow of people to the fight.”

Read more: Inside ISIS, A TIME Special Report

“The vow that I can make to the American people,” he said, “along with our allies, is that we will hold accountable all the people who have been responsible for these heinous, barbaric acts.”

[ABC News]

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