An insight into ISIL recruiting and operations

NBC News:
A trove of ISIS personnel records obtained by NBC News has now been analyzed by experts at West Point, who say it's the largest and "most significant" document cache of its kind, providing new insight into the terror group's grand ambitions and diverse recruits.

The files reveal that the jihadists who joined the Islamic State in 2013 and 2014 were largely uninterested in suicide missions, better educated than expected and, to the alarm of those trying to stop the export of terror, very well-traveled.

RELATED: How we obtained the secret personnel files

NBC News received the dossiers from a Syrian man who said he stole the information, stored on a flash drive, from a senior ISIS commander. Over the last month, NBC News has worked with the Combating Terrorism Center at the elite military academy to transform them into a database of more than 4,000 foreign fighters from 71 countries.

Watch 'NBC Nightly News' on Monday for more on the ISIS Files

The analysts believe the documents, which were also given to a British media outlet, are genuine and the details in them revelatory. They show the bureaucracy behind ISIS' enlistment operation and a surprisingly varied fighting force captivated by the promise of a global Muslim caliphate.

"The largest takeaway from these documents is the massive diversity of the population," Brian Dodwell, deputy director of the Combating Terrorism Center at West Point, told NBC News.

"We are talking an average age of around 26, 27 years old but we're talking about everywhere from teenagers up until men in their 60s," Dodwell added. "We're talking about very diverse backgrounds from an education perspective — individuals who list their education as none up to those who listed their educations as Ph.D.s, masters degrees, MBAs … Everything from laborers to doctors and lawyers."

Read the Combating Terrorism Center report on the ISIS files
There is more.

Hopefully, the documents will provide some insight into how to destroy ISIL and target their recruiting.   It does appear the State Department was off base in suggesting that people were joining the terrorist organization to get jobs.

The bit about not wanting to be martyrs also seems to reflect the operations in Brussels and Paris were several jihadis declined to act as human bombs.


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