A disgruntled former member of the Islamic State has presented Sky News with files on thousands of jihadis — in essence, their “job applications” to join ISIS, filled with personal data.
Sky News describes the forms as 23-page questionnaires, completed when each militant was inducted into the Islamic State. The documents contain names, addresses, telephone numbers, and family contacts for each applicant.
A CNN wire report adds that blood type, marital status, level of religious fervor, passport-style travel details, work history, and “level of obedience” were included in the paperwork.
The applications indicate which militants are willing to “martyr” themselves in suicide operations, and the reason they were willing to die. (One martyrdom applicant sought death as a relief for headaches from a shrapnel injury.)
Several of the individuals profiled in these documents are well-known to counterterrorism authorities, and some of them are dead, like ISIS media honcho Junaid Hussain.
“But the key breakthrough from the documents is the revealing of the identities of a number of previously unknown jihadis in the UK, across northern Europe, much of the Middle East and North Africa, as well as in the United States and Canada,” writes Sky News. “Their whereabouts are crucial to breaking the organisation and preventing further terror attacks.”
The militants profiled in these documents are said to originate from at least 51 different countries and, according to Sky News, they were able to pass through “hotspots” such as Yemen, Sudan, Tunisia, Libya, Pakistan, and Afghanistan more than once, “apparently unchecked, unmonitored and able to both enter Syria to fight and then to return home.”
The ISIS defector who provided these files to Sky News stole a memory stick from the head of the ISIS internal security force. He is described as a “former Free Syrian Army convert to the Islamic State who calls himself Abu Hamed.” The Free Syrian Army is the “moderate” rebel force the Obama administration has sought to arm and train for years.
Abu Hamed became “disillusioned” with ISIS after he converted, complaining the terror state has been taken over by former members of Saddam Hussein’s Iraqi military, and they are not doing a good job of enforcing Islamic law within the terror state.
The defector made two bombshell claims: He said ISIS is preparing to withdraw from Syria into Iraq, and ISIS is working with the Kurdish YPG and Syrian government to crush the moderate Syrian opposition.
Sky News turned the trove of information over to several law enforcement agencies. According to CNN, the German federal police said the documents appear to be authentic.
“It’s a fantastic coup,” former MI6 global terrorism operations director Richard Barrett told Sky News. “And it will be an absolute goldmine of information of enormous significance and interest to very many people, particularly the security and intelligence services.”
Royal United Services Institute counterterrorism expert Afzal Ashraf told Sky News the documents were “probably the most significant intelligence we’ve had to date of Daesh,” using another name for ISIS.