Plans by ISIS to attack U.S. may have been disrupted

Plans by ISIS to attack the U.S. may have been disrupted by a significant intelligence coup.

Late Wednesday, CBS News reported that an ISIS defector gave Britain's Sky News documents containing the names and addresses of ISIS terrorists.

The documents are forms each foreign fighter had to fill out when entering ISIS controlled territory in Iraq and Syria. They are considered authentic by Germany's Interior Minister, who said his police obtained copies of their own. They will be shared with other intelligence agencies, including the CIA and FBI.

CBS News contributor and former deputy CIA director Michael Morell sees no reason to doubt the documents authenticity, and said they will undermine the ability of ISIS to conduct attacks in the U.S. and other countries.

"If you're ISIS now and you know that western intelligence has their hands on these, you can't send those people back to conduct an attack because you know they're going to be picked up as soon as they cross that border," Morell said.

Each form has 23 blocks asking for name, alias, date of birth, marital status,country of residence, education, profession and phone number.

One block asked fighters to choose a position to apply for and, according to an analysis of one batch of documents, 120 of 1,700 recruits volunteered for suicide missions. There are said to be at least 10 Americans on the list.

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CBS News

One of them, Douglas Robert, the alias for an Illinois man named Douglas McAuthur McCain, was already known to western intelligence and has since been killed on the battlefield.

"The guys that went that you didn't know. That's the value of this because it puts new people on your radar," said Morell.

The documents stop in 2014, some of them are duplicates and some are encrypted, so it is not clear exactly how many active foreign fighters have had their identifies compromised, but the number could be as high as several thousand.

  • David Martin

    David Martin is CBS News' National Security Correspondent.