A report issued by the Department of Homeland Security to law-enforcement agencies last week warned that Islamic State militants may have the ability to print authentic-seeming passports, and might have already used the cloned documents to place operatives in the United States.
ABC News got a look at the report, which said ISIS “likely has been able to print legitimate-looking Syrian passports since taking over the city of Deir ez-Zour last summer.” From that city’s passport office, or possibly the one in the ISIS “capital” of Raqqa, the Islamic State could have obtained “boxes of blank passports,” and a passport printing machine.
“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.,” warned the report.
ABC notes this information came from a source which is given the second-highest rating for confidence by the intelligence community. A former DHS intelligence official who now serves as an ABC News consultant, John Cohen, said if ISIS can create legitimate passports, it would “represent a major security risk in the United States.”
FBI Director James Comey warned Congress about concerns that ISIS may have “the capability to manufacture fraudulent passports” on Wednesday.
Actually, that capability is not really hypothetical – the Homeland Security report speaks of at least one Syrian passport seized in Turkey that had clearly been printed in ISIS territory, at some point earlier this year. International Business Times notes that at least two of the ISIS operatives involved in the Paris terror attack are suspected of using fake passports to enter Europe along with the refugee tide.
DHS warns counterfeit passport operations were likely to “increase and expand outside of their operational control areas” if steps are not taken to shut down the passport printers. That won’t be easy, as the machines are portable.
If this raises doubts in the reader’s mind about the 100 percent secure-vetting of Syrian “refugees” promised by President Barack Obama, it is some comfort to know DHS has the same concerns. Yet Obama is pushing full speed ahead anyway.
The Syrian source stated that fake passports are so common in Syria – available for as little as $200, complete with fraudulent, backdated passport stamps – that Syrians “do not even view possessing them as illegal.”
The UK Daily Mail is one of many media outlets whose reporters were able to easily purchase fake passports in Syria. A passport forger assured the Daily Mail that “ISIS jihadis were already using fake passports to travel outside of Syria and Iraq.”