January 28, 2016 -
A recent ABC News report says that U.S. authorities are warning that ISIS is producing authentic-looking passports with machines that the terrorist group captured during the Syrian conflict.
The news organization obtained access to a 17-page intelligence report created by the Department of Homeland Security for local law enforcement agencies which noted that ISIS likely has been able to print legitimate-looking Syrian passports since taking over the city of Deir ez-Zour last summer.
That city was home to a passport office with “boxes of blank passports” and a passport printing machine. Another passport office was located in Raqqa, Syria, which has long been ISIS’s de facto capital.
The report says the intelligence community has “moderate confidence” that ISIS can produce passports.
Previously, FBI Director James Comey noted before Congress that: “The intelligence community is concerned that they have the ability, the capability to manufacture fraudulent passports, which is a concern in any setting.”
If ISIS has been able to acquire legitimate passports or machines that create legitimate passports, this would represent a major security risk in the United States, according to security analysts.
The report also notes the intelligence sources believe that the trade of fake Syrian passports is prevalent in Syria, and that fake passports can be obtained for between US$200 and $400. A passport forger told the Daily Mail that “ISIS jihadis were already using fake passports to travel outside of Syria and Iraq.”
Reports circulating around the Internet stating that ISIS itself was issuing passports for its so-called caliphate have however been debunked.