ISIS-made fake Syrian passports constructed with what appears to be an extremely capable machine are one of the newest worries of American anti-terror officials.
A recent intelligence report finds government authorities warning of the possibility that such ISIS operatives may have already penetrated U.S. borders with the use of such fake passports. ABCNews dedicated a segment of its evening newscast on Thursday to detailing the findings of a Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Intelligence Report, currently being distributed to law enforcement.
According to the briefing, ISIS has had access to materials allowing them to create passable fake passports for several years now. The HSI report noted that Raqqa, Syria — which has been under the control of the Islamic militant extremist group since 2013 — was home to an office with ample supplies to create legitimate looking documents.
Outside of the city of Raqqa, which many consider the ISIS capital, a second passport office equipped with a press is now under the group’s jurisdiction in Deir ez-Zour — an eastern Syrian city that it has occupied since last summer. The large stretch of time in which the terrorist organization has had the ability to create fakes has Homeland Security experts worried that border security has already been compromised, stated the report.
“Since more than 17 months [have] passed since Raqqa and Deir ez-Zour fell to ISIS, it is possible that individuals from Syria with passports ‘issued’ in these ISIS controlled cities or who had passport blanks, may have traveled to the U.S…. If ISIS’ ability to produce passports is not controlled, their operations will continue to increase and expand outside of their operational controlled areas.”
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In the communication, the HSI expressed a high level of confidence that the intelligence indicating widespread use of fake passports of Syrian nationality is reliable. In fact, FBI director James Comey made similar statements earlier this week when discussing the problem before the Senate Judiciary Committee, where he expressed concerns that ISIS may have the capacity to manufacture fraudulent passports, reported CNS News.
That admission was in response to a question from committee chairman Charles Grassley (R-IA), who wondered if the current status of ISIS would facilitate the creation of such identification materials.
“Presumably, it has the personal information of many innocent Syrians. It has virtually unlimited funds. So now my question: Are you concerned ISIS has ability to create fraudulent passports or other identification documents for its operatives that as a practical matter, it would be almost impossible to detect?”
These newest revelations reflect other fake Syrian passport findings: two were found during the Paris attacks. Another was found last year in Turkey complete with ISIS regional coding. Foreign journalists have even had success getting ahold of the coveted IDs. If the source cited by HSI is to be believed, false certification is a full-fledged industry in the war-torn country.
“The source further stated that fake Syrian passports are so prevalent in Syria that Syrians do not even view possessing them as illegal. [They] can be obtained in Syria for $200 to $400 and that backdated passport stamps to be placed in the passport cost the same.”
[Image via AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia]