The Islamic State has created an industry of fake passports as a result of numerous stolen passports from countries like Iraq, Syria, and Libya, according to French Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve.
After a meeting of interior ministers in Amsterdam, Cazeneuve told reporters as a result of the operations in those regions, ISIS has seized blank passports, along with many stolen passports belonging to citizens, and has set up an “industry of fake passports.”
“Daesh has managed to seize passports in Iraq, Syria, and Libya, and to set up a true industry of fake passports,” he remarked in the news conference. He proposed a case for establishing a special task force especially for assisting with the verification of fake or stolen passports in order to catch these individuals.
This would certainly be helpful since Greek Deputy Interior Minister Nikos Toskas has admitted the challenges of deciphering a realistic fake passport from a true passport, especially in a time when thousands of individuals, up to 10,000 people, are arriving on a daily basis to the Greek islands.
“But on the issue of fake documents, many are sold on Middle East markets, and we know how difficult it is to identify them with good machines, in calm conditions, not when you have 4,000 arriving in a day,” Toskas said.
No decision has been made on whether to send specialists to Greece, but Europol has offered their services to assist governments, “Europol is helping member states in this unprecedented migration crisis, in particular in regards to organized crime, where the provision of fake documents is a key part of criminal activity,” Europol chief Rob Wainwright said.
In December, it was reported by U.S. government officials that ISIS gained passport-making capabilities with a passport-making machine and blank passport books. The group also has access to government buildings that contain Syrian citizens’ biographical and fingerprint data. In a report provided by officials from the Homeland Security Investigations, it stated that the terror organization has probably been able to print, “legitimate-looking Syrian passports since at least last summer.”
“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.,” the 17-page HIS report stated. Although there is no way to officially confirm ISIS is printing passports at this time, the report is moderately confident in its accuracy.
It is known that a minimum of two members from ISIS, who were directly involved in the Paris attacks, are believed to have used fake Syrian passports to illegally gain access into the country through Greece on established migrant routes.
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