A new intelligence report said that the Islamic State, or ISIS, can create fake Syrian passports.
A spokesperson for the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement said Friday that ISIS is using seized Syrian government assets to manufacture the passports, CNN reported.
— Terrormonitor.org (@Terror_Monitor) December 13, 2015
An 18-page report from the Department of Homeland Security, circulated by law enforcement agencies across the U.S., said that a batch of Syrian passports are likely to be phonies, according to Fox News.
“The person who was issued the passport did not have to travel to Deir- ez-Zour to obtain it,” the report said. “Therefore, it is believed that passport issuance code 014 pertains to Deir- ez-Zour.”
Some of the passport covers were printed in Russia. Some are sold for between $200 and $400.
— Metro (@MetroUK) December 12, 2015
“The lack of ability to verify information with the Syrian government about how many passports may be vulnerable for exploitation in former provincial and regional government buildings will make attempts to analyze the scale of the problem difficult,” the report added.
ISIS, specifically, has access to passport printing machines and blank passport books, the source added.
Militants with the terror group also has access to Syrian government buildings that contain biographical data and fingerprints on Syrian citizens.
“We have been aware of reports, not just in the press, that they may have obtained this capability,” State Department spokesman John Kirby said. “Obviously, it’s something that we take seriously. It’s obviously something, clearly that we’re mindful of.”
The concerns about fake passports was touched on by FBI Director James Comey this week during a Capitol Hill testimony.
“The intelligence community is concerned that they have the ability, the capability to manufacture fraudulent passports, which is a concern in any setting,” Comey said.
NBC News also reported that U.S. agents in Greece busted a Syrian man who was making passports for individuals whom he thought were with ISIS.
“It’s my work,” the alleged forger, Haytham Koubash, told NBC. “I don’t ask anybody for who or what they want to do with the passports.” In a meeting with an agent, Koubash said he asked him three times, “Do you know, these passports are for ISIS.” He received around 5,000 euros as the final payment.