The United States Special Operations forces are increasingly targeting usable intelligence when going after mid-to-senior level ISIS members in an effort to gain an edge in the war against the shadowy terrorist organization.

A raid in April to capture Abdurakhmon Uzbeki, a close confidante, and associate of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. Uzbeki however, didn’t allow himself to be taken alive and died in a shootout with US commandos.

But the intelligence gleaned from cell phones, laptops and other small devices taken in that raid and another in January is proving very valuable to US intelligence agencies as they learn what makes the organization function. And they provide better intelligence to plan future operations against the Islamic State.

“If we can scoop somebody up with their cellphones and diaries, it can really speed up the demise of a terrorist group like ISIS, said Dell L. Dailey, a retired commander of the military’s Joint Special Operations Command and the Chairman for the Combating Terrorism Center at West Point.

While the Islamic State is far from defeated, their safe, staging areas and self-proclaimed caliphates in Iraq and Syria and being taken away from them as the US and coalition forces drive them out a small piece at a time.

Uzbeki was targeted for his extensive planning into terrorist operations around the world including the deadly Istanbul attack on New Year’s Eve. US Central Command’s John H. Thomas told the press that he helped move funds and fighters around the world as well as being a close associate of al-Baghdadi.

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The information revealed in the captured cellphones, laptops and other materials yield important intelligence on the terrorist group’s leadership structure, financial operations, and security measures. It would have been an even bigger boost if the US could have captured the terrorist leaders and tried to extract information for them.

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Photos Courtesy: DOD