VICE (2020) - full transcript

Emmy®-winning documentary series VICE is known for delivering longform, on-the-ground journalism and newsworthy explorations of our world today.

[HIND] What people see on TV

is that women who lived
under Islamic State

are very submissive.

They're housewives...



This is crazy, because
these kids are saying

that they are going to
bring back Islamic State.

Islamic State will not stop.

[DISTORTED] You basically just...

made money for doing nothing:

um, a phone call and
some research online.

These kids did what with
the money they stole?

[MAN] They took helicopter
flights to dinner.

They bought $5,000 watches.

They rented mansions.

We lost everything...

everything we spent decades building.










[HIND] This is one of a
number of prisons in this area

holding and overflowing
with ISIS suspects.


[HIND] There are rooms all
the way down the corridor.

Each room can contain over 150 men.

We've seen people from
Iraq, Germany, Russia,

and even the United States.

It smells really bad,

like a combination of human sweat,

feces, and urine.


There are at least 5,000 prisoners here

from up to 30 countries.

Many are European
citizens whose governments

don't want them back.

- Were you a fighter?
- Yes, I was a fighter.

- So you are a terrorist?
- Yeah, of course.

[HIND] How would they know
that you're not gonna continue

the fight for ISIS or
continue spreading the ideals?

Bcause number one, I surrender myself.

- I am finished with it.
- [HIND] You had no choice.

No, it's not true. I
could fight till the end.

Everybody know ISIS fighters,
they fight till the end.


[HIND] Casper Hansen is from Denmark

and is one of the
highest-level detainees here.

Prison guards say he
commanded ISIS fighters

on the battlefield

and was injured in a
targeted air strike.

Do you know what they say about you?


That you're an emir.

- An emir?
- An Islamic State prince.

Okay. [LAUGHS]

- Did you work?
- No, no.

[HIND] And your wife, did she work?

[CASPER] No, she was in the house.

[HIND] She didn't work.

How important is the woman's role?

They must have done something

beyond just staying in the house,

because I can't imagine...

What are you imagining, then?

That they had more of a role.

Like what, being fighters?


No, they didn't allow women to fight.

I know that.

There were some women,

they was teaching the religious methods.

It's about raising your children

to learn the Islamic, uh, laws.

Will Islamic State re-form?
Do you believe that it will?

Islamic State will not stop.

To be continued.


[HIND] It was a year ago that ISIS

was on the verge of defeat.

The terror group that, at its peak,

controlled more than 34,000
square miles of Iraq and Syria

was cornered in Baghuz,

a tiny village along
the Euphrates River.

Sixty thousand fled the final battle.

Men were hauled off to prisons.

Women and children
were loaded into trucks

and transported to refugee camps.


[HIND] Today the Islamic
State remains active.

In Deir ez-Zor, U.S. Special Forces

are training Kurdish and Arab militias

to hunt down fighters

hiding out in villages across Syria.


But a growing threat is the ISIS women

inside Al-Hol,

a massive refugee camp
near the Iraqi border.

There's 65,000 residents here
from 45 different countries,

half of them children,

but they're not all ISIS.

Many are victims themselves

and are now forced to live with women

who security officials say

are becoming more radical by the day.


We're with the Kurdish intelligence

inside Al-Hol Camp.

They're about to carry
out a raid targeting women

who they believe are
part of an ISIS patrol

which teaches, maintains, and enforces

the extremist ideology in the camp.


These operations are
actually incredibly dangerous

because the women that they're targeting

are known to be some of
the most violent women

inside this camp.




[HIND] Do you know why
they brought you in here?


What we've been told is that
there are women like yourself

inside the camp who are
enforcing ISIS' ideology

on other women and on...


Do you regret coming here
to join the Islamic State?

Do you want to live under
an Islamic State again?

[HIND] With little evidence against her,

camp intelligence released Umm Hamza

just hours after this raid.

These women say that
they're not doing anything;

they're just sitting inside their
tents and raising their children

and that these accusations are false.

How do you respond to that?


What happens if there's no
resolution for this problem?

[HIND] There's just about
400 security personnel

guarding this sprawling camp,

and officials are outnumbered.

One of the challenges
they face is finding out

who's radical and who isn't.

Leila Ouadi from France

has been targeted by
women who patrol the camp

and enforce strict ISIS laws

against wearing makeup
and socializing with men.

Have they attacked you personally?


Have you heard about them
doing it to other women?

[HIND] Leila doesn't
live in the camp alone.

She's stuck here with her four children

with little access to medicine and food.

And there may be no way out.

France, like other European governments,

is making it nearly impossible

for their citizens to return home.

What are you afraid of,
bringing them up in the camp?

If they don't get out, what are
you afraid will happen to them?


[HIND] Do you take responsibility

for the situation that
your children are in?


[HIND] We've managed to get
access to a women's prison,

and this is the first time
that they're going to allow

journalists to go inside and film.

Some of the women that
are being held there

are actually too dangerous
to be kept in the camps,

and so instead they've been transferred

to this detention center.

Here the women are placed
in individual cells

and kept under 24-hour surveillance,

some along with their children.


Prison guards selected
three foreign detainees

for us to speak to.

Do you know why you're
here in this prison?


[HIND] Can you talk me through

how you ended up here?


[HIND] Do you know why you're here?


What was it like when you were
living in the Islamic State

during the time just
before you entered the camp?

How was it not like that?

Was this a big change, in your opinion,

of ISIS and their ideology?

You're accused of trying to smuggle

explosives into the camp.




That's stupid?

The role of women is
also to teach the children

the ideology of ISIS.

Is that right?


[HIND] Women passing on
the ideology to children

is one of the most urgent concerns

for security officials.

Eleven-year-old Malek was held captive

by an ISIS woman inside Al-Hol.

She was rescued by camp
security just days ago

and is now being cared
for by a foster family.


She's Yezidi, a religious minority

that ISIS vowed to wipe out.


[HIND] For six years, Malek
lived under the Islamic State.

After her mother and sister
were killed in an air strike,

she was taken in by an ISIS woman

who tried to erase her past.





Gonna show us where she sleeps.



[HIND] She's been here
now for a couple of weeks,

and she's clearly become
accustomed to living here.

She's not what I expected at all

when they told me that
there was an 11-year-old girl

who'd been living with ISIS families

and was in the camp
and was getting rescued.

It's nice to see her acting
like any other 11-year-old.

The next step for her is
going to meet her real family.



[HIND] Malek is fortunate.

She's no longer in the hands of ISIS.

But for many of the children
still inside the camp,

their future is uncertain.

Here the ideology is spreading fast,

and security is carrying
out weekly raids

to try and contain it.


[HIND] One of the ways they do that

is by gathering
intelligence from informants

living inside Al-Hol.

That information has
led security officials

to the far corner of the camp,

where they suspect is an ISIS school.

So this woman coming out
now who they've handcuffed

is apparently one of the ISIS women

teaching the children
extremist ISIS ideology.


The camp security may be
fighting a losing battle.

As they try and root out the teachers,

there's already a new
generation in the making.




[ANONYMOUS] There is no
one criteria for a target.

I view it as, like, a hunt, man.

It's like a hunt.

If you've ever been hunting,

you understand what it feels like

to track down your target
and fucking kill it.

I mean, you basically just...

made money for doing nothing:

um, a phone call and
some research online.


[ROBERT] I had never heard
of a SIM swap before.

I mean, these days are
really a challenge...

every day.

You know, sometimes I... I wake up

and it's hard to get out of bed.

So when it first happened, October 26th,

I didn't sleep that night.

I was up with AT&T the entire night.


I mean, you know, I was...

I mean, I was suicidal.

What brings me down is worry,

worry that I can't meet the
tuition for my daughter.

Within, like, 20 minutes,

a million dollars was stolen.

I can't even believe I
made a million dollars,

let alone lost a million dollars.

I mean...

Quite a lot of victims

were completely caught by surprise.

[KRISHNA] Allison Nixon specializes

in cybercrime and risk intelligence.

SIM swapping is a technique

where criminals basically
steal your phone number,

and all of the text messages
and calls and information

intended for your phone
now go to their phone.

And why is that important?

Well, it's important because

your entire online identity nowadays

rests on your phone number.

Your phone number is tied
to your physical phone

via this, a SIM card, a little microchip

with a unique ID that your
telephone company has on file.

To do a SIM swap, a hacker
gets a cell phone employee

to switch the SIM card number
that's linked to your phone

to a phone they have.

[ALLISON] They can do anything

with your phone number
that you would do,

so imagine you forgot
your password legitimately

and you need to get back
into your bank account.

Banks, web mail providers,

they have an account recovery process

for customers that
forget their passwords.

Since they have my phone number,

they can get into my email.

Most web mail providers nowadays

either require or strongly encourage

that you hand over your phone number.

I... I have little to
no technical expertise.

I'm hacking people, not computers.

It takes a certain type of person,

but it's not a genius.

You don't have to be
outstandingly intelligent.

You just have to know how to do it

and have the will to do it.

[ROBERT] It's not like a regular hack.

Unsophisticated kids

can do devastating damage.


Nick Truglia is a 21-year-old.

He stole a million dollars from me.

[KRISHNA] What's, like,
the spending habits

of these SIM swappers?

What we were seeing was basically

the infinite-money fantasy
of every 21-year-old.

They would go to the club,

waste tons of money,

show it off on social media.

[ANONYMOUS] Some of the stupid ways

I can think we've spent our money:

took a helicopter

from Queens to Manhattan
to get to dinner

just because we felt like it.

[ALLISON] They would
all stand in a circle

with their really expensive Rolexes

and dump this champagne
onto their Rolexes

onto the floor.

[ANONYMOUS] I probably spent, like,

$1/4 million on champagne.

[KRISHNA] So how much are you worth?

Um, I won't say an exact amount,

but it's, uh, under $90 million USD

and over $40 million, all in Bitcoin.


[KRISHNA] For hackers on
the hunt for a big payday,

SIM swapping turns
robbery into child's play.

[ANONYMOUS] So it all really started out

with a bunch of kids
playing Call of Duty

around, ooh, I want to say 2013.

People started wanting
these things called

OG accounts on PlayStation.

So imagine you're a
kid playing a video game

and someone shows up in your game

and their username is just Hacker.

Like, no numbers after it,

nothing, just the word "hacker."

It's just sort of like
a... a status thing.

So we would call up PlayStation Network.

We'd have their name, address,
and all their personal info,

and we would try to
get... get their accounts.

[KRISHNA] And once you
had that OG username,

you could sell it to someone else

through an online marketplace.

[ALLISON] The big sellers
on these username markets

have realized that the only feasible way

to get good stock to
sell is to steal accounts.

At some point, somebody realized

that video games and social media

are really only worth so much

and if they want to make more money,

they really need to start
targeting cryptocurrency,

where they can make hundreds
of millions of dollars.

[KRISHNA] Cryptocurrencies
are virtual gold mines.

Sure, OG usernames could
net a few thousand dollars,

but digital wallets of
Bitcoin and Ethereum

could be swiped just as easily.

[ANONYMOUS] So there was
this one time me and my buddy

were scrambling before this guy, like,

tries to get his account back,

before he gets his
cell phone number back,

and, uh, my partner
obviously just made, like,

roughly $10 million to $15 million.

He says, "Oh, yeah, I gotta go."

I said, "Why?"

He says, "Oh, I gotta
do my fucking homework."

I thought... I thought
it was really funny.


[SAMY] Last year, we didn't
even know what it was,

and 98 percent of cops

would have no idea, if
a victim came to them,

what happened and how to investigate it.

[KRISHNA] Since 2015, it's estimated

that hundreds of millions of dollars

have been stolen by SIM swapping,

but only a handful of SIM swappers

have ever been caught.

[JOHN] I would say the
majority of cases we go into,

it's kids living with their parents.

And so a lot of times, we
will run into a mom who

thinks all their son is doing is gaming

or just happens to be very brilliant

at Bitcoin investment

and that's the reason he bought her

a brand-new Toyota or
something like that.

[KRISHNA] In November 2018,
they caught Nick Truglia,

the young man accused of stealing

over a million dollars from Rob Ross.

Truglia did have a
social media presence,

with him flying on private jets

and showing fancy clothing
and fancy watches.

He definitely was portraying
himself as a rich guy

and, like, a self-made millionaire,

possibly, like, through,
like, investment banking.

But we came to find out that everything

he posted online about
himself was just a lie.

[KRISHNA] The criminal
case of alleged SIM swapper

Nick Truglia is still ongoing.

[MAN] The court is
going to deny the motion

to reset bail.

[KRISHNA] He maintains his innocence

and is currently awaiting trial.


But careful SIM swappers

are usually harder to pin down.

Richard Sanders cofounded CipherBlade,

a blockchain investigation agency that,

among other things, uses SIM swappers'

social engineering tactics...

pretending to be someone they're not...

to take them down.

[RICHARD] This is a flow of transactions

from an influencer that
experienced a hack.

This was a team of three to four folks.

They split up the money,

and they sent it to
different wallets from there.


So I pretended to be a
very, very attractive

19-year-old female video
gamer named Alyssa.

I joined their Discord server

and just started
chatting with these folks.

They're sliding into my DMs.

They're telling me pretty much
anything I wanted to know.

Showing off their money.

I would ask, "How are
you making that money?"

They'd talk about SIM swapping.

Yeah, a bunch of them are talking to me,

but one of them sent me quite
a few different selfies.

There's DMs he sent me

where he admits to what he did.

And sure enough, he sends me

this picture.

Joel Ortiz.


[KRISHNA] In May 2019, a
group of hackers targeted

more than 50 victims,
stealing over $35 million.

Ortiz was one of them...

brazen, prolific, and now
accountable for ten felonies.

Rob Ross attended a public hearing

where his accusers were allowed

to make victim statements.

[ROBERT] I think all SIM swap
victims who have lost money

are watching this Joel Ortiz trial

and certainly the SIM
swappers are watching it

to see how much time he
will end up having to serve.

In my case, Ortiz stole control
of my phone service twice

to take over all of my
email and financial accounts,

ultimately stealing
my entire life savings,

approximately $1.8 million.

[ANN MARIE] We lost everything.

I'm 50 years old with
two small children,

and I ha... I'm facing no retirement...


... because Joel Ortiz, in one day,

destroyed our lives,

everything we spent decades building.


[KRISHNA] Ortiz pleaded
no contest to the charges

and, in accordance with his plea deal,

was sentenced to ten years in prison.

But prosecutors have
failed to get him to reveal

the location of Bitcoin
they suspect he's hidden.

[MAN] Given that he
stole at least $7 million

that we know about,

we believe that he
has significantly more

than $2 million that
he refuses to return.

And Joel Ortiz will likely leave jail

with over $4 million at age 24.

[WOMAN] Ooh!


[ANONYMOUS] If I were to go to jail, um,

it really wouldn't be that many years.

It's not like murder.

It's really just, like, a decade

at... at... at most
is what people look at,

and then even then, I
would still have my money

when I got out because it's Bitcoin.

Um, they can't... it's
not like a bank account.

They can't take the money.

I mean, obviously it would
suck to go to jail for a decade,

but, um,

uh, the way I have everything set up,

I don't think that'll happen.

[KRISHNA] As the tactics of SIM swappers

continue to evolve,

victims are now starting to fight back.

Michael Terpin lost $24
million in a SIM swap.

Now he's suing AT&T for
letting this happen.

People don't realize that
most of the AT&T stores

that say AT&T aren't
actually owned by AT&T.

They're licensed, and yet
they have the same access,

um, as an employee would
to critical information

that will let anybody
be bribed for about $100.

There's over 1,000 cases
just from AT&T alone

that one group is investigating.

They've basically said they
don't take responsibility

for security; that's not their job.

[KRISHNA] Early this year,

three senators and three representatives

wrote a letter to the FCC,

pressuring them to
take on SIM swap fraud.

Vice reached out to AT&T,
Sprint, T-Mobile, and Verizon.

Sprint didn't get back to us.

The others declined to
be interviewed on camera.

But AT&T did provide
us with a statement.

The irony is rich here

because phone numbers were collected

as a way to make accounts more secure.

And now they are a
back door for accounts.


My endgame? [LAUGHS]

There's... there's no endgame.

It's just...

the goal... the goal is just to make

as much money as possible.

I just want to be happy.

That's... that's really it.

That means I'll stop
when they make me stop.

- ♪ Look at my swag ♪
- ♪ Look at my ♪

♪ Look at that bag ♪

♪ Ain't that jewelry, yeah ♪

- ♪ Look at my house ♪
- ♪ Look at my ♪

♪ Look at my spouse ♪

♪ Ain't that jewelry, yeah ♪

- ♪ Look at my bitch ♪
- ♪ Look at my ♪

♪ Look at my whip ♪

♪ Ain't that jewelry, yeah ♪

- ♪ Look at my swag ♪
- ♪ Look at my ♪

♪ Look at that bag ♪

♪ Ain't that jewelry, yeah ♪

- ♪ Look at that bag ♪
- ♪ Swag ♪

- ♪ Look at that bag ♪
- ♪ Swag ♪

♪ Look at that bag, look at that bag ♪

- ♪ Swag ♪
- ♪ Look at that bag ♪

♪ Swag, swag ♪

- ♪ Look at that bag ♪
- ♪ Swag ♪