U.S. officials ask Toyota how ISIS got so many of their new trucks


Counter-terror officials in the Unites States have asked Toyota, the second leading car manufacturer in the world, to help them determine how ISIS has managed to acquire the large number of Toyota trucks that are seen in their propaganda videos.

Toyota officials say they do not know how ISIS obtained the vehicles, but the company is fully supporting the inquiry led by the Terror Financing Unit of the Treasury Department.

The unit is part of a broad U.S. effort to prevent Western-made goods from ending up in the hands of the terror group.

“We briefed the Treasury on Toyota’s supply chains in the Middle East and the procedures that Toyota has in place to protect supply chain integrity,” said Ed Lewis, Toyota’s Washington-based director of public policy and communications.

Lewis also said that Toyota has a strict policy not to sell vehicles to purchasers who may use them for terrorist or paramilitary activities. He added that it is impossible for the company to track vehicles that have been stolen or have been bought and resold by middlemen.

Toyota Land Cruisers and Toyota Hilux pickups, an overseas model similar to the Toyota Tacoma, are prominent fixtures in ISIS propaganda videos. Their truck beds are usually loaded with heavy weapons and cabs jammed with terrorists.

Lukman Faily, the Iraqi Ambassador to the United States, told ABC News that the Iraqi government believes that ISIS has acquired hundreds of brand new Toyotas in recent years.

“This is a question we’ve been asking our neighbors,” Faily said. “How could these brand new trucks… these four wheel drives, hundreds of them — where are they coming from?”

According to Toyota, many of the vehicles seen in the ISIS videos are older models. “We have procedures in place to help ensure our products are not diverted for unauthorized military use,” said Ed Lewis.

Lewis went on to say, “It is impossible for Toyota to completely control indirect or illegal channels through which our vehicles could be misappropriated.”

Questions about the use of Toyota vehicles by ISIS has circulated for years. A 2014 report by Public Radio International noted that the U.S. State Department delivered 43 Toyota trucks to Syrian rebels.

A more recent report in an Australian newspaper said that more than 800 Toyota Hilux trucks have been stolen in Sydney between 2014 and 2015. The report quoted terror experts who speculated that the vehicles may have been exported to ISIS territory.

When contacted by ABC News, U.S. Treasury Department officials said they could not comment publicly about their engagement with private companies.

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