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What We Found on the Islamic State’s Laptop of Doom

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This summer, Foreign Policy contributors Harald Dornboos and Jenan Moussa were given rare access to an unusual source of information on the Islamic State: the laptop of one of the jihadist organization's fighters. The laptop -- initially captured by moderate Syrian rebels from an IS hideout in the Syrian province of Idlib -- contained more than 35,347 files in 2,367 folders. Here, FP looks at its contents, which provide a glimpse into the digital life of an IS fighter -- from bomb-making guides to playlists of Western pop, rousing Islamist speeches to recipes for banana mousse.      Above, a page from an explosives-making guide found on the laptop.      Courtesy Harald Dornboos/Jenan Moussa

This summer, Foreign Policy contributors Harald Dornboos and Jenan Moussa were given rare access to an unusual source of information on the Islamic State: the laptop of one of the jihadist organization's fighters. The laptop -- initially captured by moderate Syrian rebels from an IS hideout in the Syrian province of Idlib -- contained more than 35,347 files in 2,367 folders. Here, FP looks at its contents, which provide a glimpse into the digital life of an IS fighter -- from bomb-making guides to playlists of Western pop, rousing Islamist speeches to recipes for banana mousse.

Above, a page from an explosives-making guide found on the laptop.

Courtesy Harald Dornboos/Jenan Moussa

Above, the laptop itself, which belonged to a Tunisian fighter named Muhammed S.       Courtesy Harald Dornboos/Jenan Moussa

Above, the laptop itself, which belonged to a Tunisian fighter named Muhammed S. 

Courtesy Harald Dornboos/Jenan Moussa

A slide from a manual on ricin production.      Courtesy Harald Dornboos/Jenan Moussa

A slide from a manual on ricin production.

Courtesy Harald Dornboos/Jenan Moussa

Files containing guides and manuals on explosives and chemical compounds.      Courtesy Harald Dornboos/Jenan Moussa

Files containing guides and manuals on explosives and chemical compounds.

Courtesy Harald Dornboos/Jenan Moussa

One of several documents describing the preparation and use of PETN, an ingredient in the plastic explosive Semtex.        Courtesy Harald Dornboos/Jenan Moussa

One of several documents describing the preparation and use of PETN, an ingredient in the plastic explosive Semtex.


Courtesy Harald Dornboos/Jenan Moussa

A folder from Muhammed S.'s laptop.      Courtesy Harald Dornboos/Jenan Moussa

A folder from Muhammed S.'s laptop.

Courtesy Harald Dornboos/Jenan Moussa

A slide from a bomb-making guide.       Courtesy Harald Dornboos/Jenan Moussa

A slide from a bomb-making guide.

Courtesy Harald Dornboos/Jenan Moussa

Not all guides on the laptop were for bomb-making. Pictured above are recipes for caramel, banana mousse, and cake.       Courtesy Harald Dornboos/Jenan Moussa

Not all guides on the laptop were for bomb-making. Pictured above are recipes for caramel, banana mousse, and cake.

Courtesy Harald Dornboos/Jenan Moussa

A screenshot of a January 2010 playlist on Muhammed S.'s laptop, with songs from Shaggy, Céline Dion, and the Black Eyed Peas.      Courtesy Harald Dornboos/Jenan Moussa

A screenshot of a January 2010 playlist on Muhammed S.'s laptop, with songs from Shaggy, Céline Dion, and the Black Eyed Peas.

Courtesy Harald Dornboos/Jenan Moussa

Some images on the laptop show Muhammed S. in Tunisia, prior to his radicalization.      Courtesy Harald Dornboos/Jenan Moussa

Some images on the laptop show Muhammed S. in Tunisia, prior to his radicalization.

Courtesy Harald Dornboos/Jenan Moussa

Muhammed S. in Tunisia, 2010.       Courtesy Harald Dornboos/Jenan Moussa

Muhammed S. in Tunisia, 2010.

Courtesy Harald Dornboos/Jenan Moussa

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