U.S. officials doubt value of ISIS names

The Daily Beast reports: A trove of documents alleged to contain the names of thousands of ISIS fighters has caught the attention of U.S. intelligence officials, but they’re skeptical that the files will contain many new revelations about the terror group, three U.S. officials told The Daily Beast.

The files were obtained by Sky News and a Syrian newspaper, Zaman al-Wasl, and purport to detail the inner workings of ISIS’ recruitment operations. The U.S. officials said that they hadn’t yet obtained copies of the documents, but cautioned that doesn’t mean that similar documents haven’t been obtained and studied previously.
The documents also appear to be as much as three years old, which may make them less useful for planning military strikes than information about ISIS’s current status and operations.

U.S. military officials got their first look at the documents when they appeared online this week, two defense officials told The Daily Beast, and there were mixed assessments of their usefulness.

Within the military’s intelligence sector, officials scoured the names to determine who may still be alive and what the list tells them about the flow of foreign fighters to Syria.

So far, officials have concluded “a significant number” are dead, one of the defense officials explained to The Daily Beast.

Another U.S. official said the documents appeared to be old and that some of the information in them may have already been available from other public sources. That raised the question of whether the source of the documents, who has been identified in news reports as an ISIS defector, was peddling old, non-exclusive information. [Continue reading…]

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