German intelligence has been touting its acquisition of certain important ISIS documents, revealed today to include a list of 22,000 names of foreign recruits from around the world, along with the answers to 23 questions for each name, believed to be the answers from questionnaires supplied at the border crossing.
German Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere said the documents had been confirmed real, and would allow nations to impose harsh prison sentences on returnees who where included on the list.
The list, however, seems far from all-encompassing. British officials reported 16 Britons mentioned out of 22,000 people, which is a small minority of the 700 British people believed to have joined ISIS overall. Only four Americans were on the list.
Officials familiar with a portion of the list say that about a quarter of them were from Saudi Arabia, with large numbers from Tunisia, Morocco, and Egypt. Most of those fighters are unlikely to try to return home, however. If this 22,000 names is a random sample, however, the inclusion of so few Westerners suggests either that official estimates for Westerners are too big, or that ISIS has way more recruits than previously believed.