Islamic State can make fake Syrian passports – U.S. report

Islamic State can make fake Syrian passports - U.S. report

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A U.S. government agency report has warned that Islamic State has the ability to create fake Syrian passports, a federal official confirmed on Friday.

A spokeswoman for U.S. Immigration & Customs Enforcement confirmed the contents of a story by CNN on Friday approximately the report, yet declined to provide a copy of the report.

The report says Islamic State has access to Syrian government passport printing machines & blank passports, raising the possibility the travel documents could be faked, CNN reported, citing a law enforcement source. (http://cnn.it/1Rf6lE1)

The CNN source added that there was moreover concern that because the militant group had access to biographical & fingerprint data on Syrian citizens, there was moreover a possibility of identity theft.

ABC News, which first reported the story on Thursday, said the report was released to law enforcement by the Homeland Security Investigations agency last week & raised the possibility that militants could use the documents to travel to the United States. (http://abcn.ws/1IKPl5I)

"Since more than 17 months [have] passed since Raqqa & 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 travelled to the U.S.," ABC News quoted the report as saying.

State Department spokesman John Kirby, asked at a briefing on Friday approximately the ABC report, replied: "We have been aware of reports, not just in the press, that they may have obtained this capability."

FBI Director James Comey told a Senate committee hearing on Wednesday: "The intelligence community is concerned that they [Islamic State] have the ability, the capability to manufacture fraudulent passports, which is a concern in any setting."

(Reporting by Eric Walsh; Editing by Sandra Maler)

Source: “Reuters”