In 2016, ABC News reported that ISIS has developed an entire business dedicated to production of fake passports. The terror group has strongholds in countries such as Syria, Libya and Iraq which allows them to acquire thousands of blank passports. United States intelligence believes that that ISIS has obtained a passport printing machine and has access to biographical data and fingerprints of Syrians. It is suspected that ISIS has been printing fake passports for approximately two years, and it is likely that these have been used to gain entry into the U.S undetected.
This production of forged passports is clearly cause for much concern in the intelligence community as it poses an extreme security threat for both the United States and Europe.
European authorities have reported that fake passports have been used to enter several countries. This includes passports discovered on suicide bombers responsible for the Paris terrorist which occurred in November 2015. Furthermore, ABC also reported that fraud documents are extremely widespread and relatively cheap throughout Syria. Additionally, due to the prevalence, most Syrians do not even consider it illegal.
Newsweek recently reported that ISIS has approximately 11,000 blank passports readily available for terrorists to obtain. European intelligence compiled a list of suspected serial numbers of fake passports. However, there is still much concern that jihadists will covertly enter Europe.
The Syrian Civil War has exacerbated this issue. After six years of a horrific war that has destroyed much of the country, myriads of Syrians are attempting to flee. In order to escape the warfare, a passport is crucial. Newsweek reported that most of the illegal documents are being used by harmless refugees. However, terrorist groups such as ISIS are using the refugee crisis as an opportunity to enter countries undetected.
This widespread use of fake passports and the expanding business associated with it pose a serious security threat. European countries and the U.S. are at risk for terrorist entering the country under fraudulent documents. According to ABC, ICE has warned law enforcement and is training them to detect fraudulent documents. Intelligence officials are attempting to find out more information and take control of the situation. CNN reports that the United States is creating a new passport technology that would be near impossible to fake.