In a newly released Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Intelligence Report, American authorities are warning of possible terrorist infiltration through the use of phony passports.
Following the conquest of Deir ez-Zour and Raqqa in Syria, authorities believe ISIS was able to acquire numerous blank passports, as well as passport printing machines, from government offices. With these machines, it is believed that ISIS now has the capability of producing illegitimate passports that are near indistinguishable from legitimate ones.
The possible use of these passports has created grave concerns amongst intelligence officials, as it seriously undermines their ability to know who is coming into the country. According to an ABC News investigation, several of these passports have already been discovered in Europe, with two being used by perpetrators of the Paris terrorist attack who entered the country accompanying Syrian refugees.
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ISIS Passport Machine. Image Credit: Screenshot ABC News Video
The possibility that such individuals could infiltrate the United States has become a real concern. According to FBI Director James Comey, “the intelligence community is concerned that they have the ability, the capability, to manufacture fraudulent passports, which is a concern in any setting.”
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While visas are still required to enter the country, the prevalence of fraudulent documentation in Syria makes it incredibly difficult to trace individuals through their records.
According to the source who provided this information to U.S. officials, “fake Syrian passports are so prevalent in Syria that Syrians do not even view possessing them as illegal.” The source goes on to say that these passports “can be obtained in Syria for $200 to $400 and that backdated passport stamps to be placed in the passport cost the same.”
The final page of the HSI report warned: “If ISIS ability to produce passports is not controlled, their operations will continue to increase and expand outside of their operational controlled areas.” This new report is sure to add a new dimension to the current immigration and refugee debate.
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