WASHINGTON • The Pentagon is sending dozens of additional intelligence analysts to Iraq to pore over a trove of information that is expected to be recovered in the offensive to recapture Mosul from the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS), data that could offer new clues about possible terrorist attacks in Europe.
The analysts will have several immediate priorities: share with the Iraqi military any information crucial to the unfolding fight in Mosul; pass along insights useful to United States officials planning an attack on Raqqa, ISIS' de facto capital in eastern Syria; hunt for clues about the location of the group's shadowy leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi; and search for any information about terrorist cells in Europe and any attacks they may be plotting.
European intelligence and counter-terrorism officials said they were eagerly awaiting data from computer hard drives, mobile phones, recruiting files and other sources after Iraqi forces advance into the city. These officials fear an influx of foreign fighters fleeing the campaigns against Mosul and Raqqa.
"If we get a phone off of a dead (ISIS) fighter and it has a number of telephone numbers into a particular capital or city around the world, we share that information with the coalition members so that they can conduct their own investigation," Mr Brett McGurk, US President Barack Obama's envoy to the coalition fighting ISIS, has said.
"This is now really starting to work at light speed, although we want to speed it up."