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Intelligence Officials Believe ISIS Is Operating a Massive ‘Fake Document Industry’

Security and intelligence experts are trying to come to terms with the possibility that terrorist organizations may now have the ability to create fake passports and travel documents at will.

Reports that ISIS operatives in parts of Syria, Iraq and Libya have turned counterfeit passports into a well-organized industry are raising national security alarms. The intelligence assessment is causing concerns on two distinctly troubling fronts. The business of selling fake travel documents in the midst of a huge refugee crisis is proving to be an extremely lucrative endeavor for the terrorist organization. Perhaps even more troubling at a time when hundreds of thousands of people are fleeing the war-torn region, the ready access to fake documents greatly increases the chance that foreign terrorists will mistakenly be allowed to pass through customs and immigration controls.

According to an ABC News report, French Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve said on Tuesday that ISIS has the ability to turn blank passports seized within the territories it controls into nearly flawless documents. Bernard described the terror organization’s counterfeiting operations as a “real fake document industry.” It is believed that at least two of the men responsible for the tragic suicide attacks in Paris last November used fake documents obtained from the ISIS counterfeiting operation.

The concerns of EU officials are echoed by intelligence sources in the U.S. ABC News cited a Homeland Security report that detailed ISIS’s ability to print seemingly authentic Syrian passports since taking over a passport office in Raqqa, Syria last summer. “Since more than 17 months 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.,” according to the 17-page official Homeland Security report.

[Photo: JOSEPH EID/AFP/Getty Images]

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