The Islamic State’s Laundry List

by Carolina de la Pedraja – Recently, Germany’s intelligence agency, a Syrian newspaper and other news organizations including Britain’s Sky News, acquired collections of leaked Islamic State documents. Unfortunately, these documents have not been authenticated and could be easily replicated on many computers. However, Germany’s interior minister believes the data in the documents could aid authorities in prosecuting people who joined the Islamic State.

The United States has anti-terrorism laws and these so-called Islamic State documents, if authenticated as the real thing, would greatly aid in the prosecution of terrorists in the United States that are linked to the Islamic State. Under 18 U.S. Code § 2331 the Islamic State has committed various acts of international terrorism. These documents would allow the United States to use its anti-terrorism laws in a way not available before. A detailed list of possible attackers would greatly benefit the United States’, and many other countries’ worldwide, efforts in fighting the Islamic State.

Many of the questions asked in the leaked documents are mundane but some go as far as asking if he or she applying to the Islamic State “are willing to be a suicide attacker or would prefer to be a fighter?” Questions like this make it obvious that the documents leaked are not a part of just any application profile database. For example, one of the applicants requested to be a suicide attacker and that he wants to be “dispatched as soon as possible, to take his life and that of others.” Another example is a well-traveled Australian with a computer degree that is also willing to go on a suicide mission, but worries his night vision will hinder his skills.

Not only does the application ask personal questions, like first and last name, education, and work experience, it goes so far as to ask the level of obedience. These forms may be tied to one of the world’s most barbaric and ruthless terrorist groups, but they are also a function of bureaucracy. Zaman Al-Wasl, a newspaper that supports forces fighting against the Islamic State, published 122 pages of documents it says came from an Islamic State defector. These 122 documents were part of 1,700 overall obtained by the same publication, but only pertained to self-identifying suicide attackers. German officials say they have similar if not the identical documents but they did not reveal how they obtained them. German official believes the documents are likely genuine and states that they date back to no earlier than 2013. The documents suggest that the recruits came from places such as Germany, France, Syria, Libya, Afghanistan, and Spain. The content of the documents mostly contain questions answered at a border crossing territory that is controlled by the Islamic State, according to Zaman Al-Wasl. A black Islamic State flag is neatly stamped in the top right corner and the Arabic script is neatly typed up and arranged in rows and columns with the word “private” stamped at the bottom of the page.

Also speaking on the documents is British Home Secretary Theresa May saying, “we have seen the attacks perpetrated on mainland Europe over the past year, (referring to the terrorism in Paris and elsewhere) that is why it is so important for us to work together to counter this threat.” If these documents were authenticated as Islamic State applications, it would greatly help the fight against the Islamic State, and possibly prevent future attacks by this terrible group.

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