Leaked Data Reveals Identity of ISIS Recruits and Recruiters

March 10, 2016 Updated: March 10, 2016

There has been a massive data leak containing names of thousands of ISIS recruits, including documents that look like job applications that were filled out by them when they joined the Islamic State. The information that was handed over to Britain’s Sky News, comes from a stolen memory stick that belonged to the head of ISIS’s internal security police.

The data includes documents that are recruitment forms to join ISIS containing 23 questions. It starts off asking for basic information like name, nickname, date of birth, and education level, but then the questions turn more serious.

The questionnaire asks recruits about former fighting experience, their blood types, special skills, how well they can follow orders, countries they have been to, if they are interested in fighting or becoming a suicide attackers—they even ask for a security deposit. But most importantly, they release the identity of who recruited them.

The data contains over 22,000 names of jihadis from 51 different nationalities. Among those listed was a 20-year-old from Minneapolis.

The documents include information of well-known terrorists like Abdel Bary, a rapper from London who joined the terrorist organization in 2013. Reyaad Khan, who was known for appearing in an ISIS propaganda video and was later killed, is also included in the leak. Other jihadis who have died have had their information compromised as well.

According to Sky News, the individual who stole the memory stick calls himself Abu Hamed, who was in the Free Syrian Army but later converted to Islamic State. He said that he became disillusioned with the terrorist organization, which prompted him to leave. Hamed turned in the documents hoping it will bring down the group.

I want to say to the people on the inside of the organization, the organization is a lie, it is not Islam.
— Abu Hamed, former ISIS fighter

“I want to say to the people on the inside of the organization, the organization is a lie, it is not Islam. There is nothing that ever follows the Sharia or Islam. It’s far from Islam,” he said in a video interview while hiding his face.

He also said that ISIS, the Kurdish YPG and the Syrian government, are all working together against the moderate Syrian opposition.

The German federal criminal police said they are in possession of the documents and believe they are authentic. The country’s interior minister said the leaked information would give authorities a better chance to find and prosecute ISIS fighters.

U.S. Army Col. Steve Warren, the spokesman for the U.S. coalition against ISIS, said the information can be essential to cracking down the terrorist group. “This would allow the law enforcement apparatus across the world to become much more engaged and begin to help do what we can to stem this flow of foreign fighters—so we’re hopeful that it’s accurate and if so we certainly plan to do everything we can to help,” he said.

The leaked information may also aid authorities on hunting down recruitment networks in Europe and other locations that have been sending people to join the terrorist organization.

The Associated Press contributed reporting.