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MSU Professor helps find ISIS narrator



MSU's Rob Maher helped The New York Times confirm the identity of an ISIS militant, using audio forensics. PHOTO COURTESY OF PEXELS.COM


BOZEMAN — A Montana State University researcher was included in a front-page New York Times story on Monday for using audio forensics to help the newspaper confirm the identity of a prominent Islamic State militant.

According to the article, The Times turned to Rob Maher, a professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering in MSU’s Norm Asbjornson College of Engineering, and two other well-known audio-forensic experts to confirm that Mohammed Khalifa, a 35-year-old Canadian citizen, was indeed the man who narrated videos for IS. Later, The Times reported, a U.S. official confirmed Khalifa’s identity.

Maher uses sophisticated software and other tools to analyze recorded soundwaves and has published more than 20 papers on the subject. Most of his audio forensics research at MSU has been funded by the National Institute of Justice, and he has testified on audio evidence in courtrooms around the country. Maher recently authored a book, titled “Principles of Forensic Audio Analysis,” intended chiefly for law enforcement officials and forensic investigators.

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