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Tags set , mistakenly , suspect , bomb , iraqi

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Old 25th November 2005, 08:15 AM   #1
kalen
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Iraqi bomb making suspect mistakenly set free. Also, why was he a suspect?

The New York Times (registration required) has an article about this fellow suspected of making bombs who was mistakenly set free. They suggest that it was due in part because the US and Iraq have just too many people in detention.

Quote:
WASHINGTON, Nov. 24 - In January, American military and law enforcement personnel discovered evidence connecting a 25-year-old Iraqi detainee, Abass Hussein Alwan al-Amry, to a roadside bomb that had detonated in Baghdad, wounding several Iraqis.

It was the first forensic match of a bomb and an insurgent bomb making suspect in Iraq, three Army officials said. Further investigation tied Mr. Amry to other bomb attacks, one of which is believed to have caused American casualties, another American official said.

But Mr. Amry soon went free.

He was mistakenly released in June after a sergeant failed to notice a small notation in his case file calling for him to be held indefinitely, the Army officials said.

The episode illustrates the difficulty the military faces, with a rapidly growing prison population that totals nearly 13,000 in American military custody and an additional 12,000 held by Iraqi authorities, in distinguishing insurgents from people rounded up who pose no security threat.
But what kind of forensic evidence would there be to finger this guy? The NYT does its patriotic duty and informs us:


Quote:
(At the request of the military, The New York Times agreed not to disclose the nature of the evidence linking Mr. Amry to the bomb because Pentagon officials said doing so could alert other bomb makers in Iraq and set back operations aimed at capturing them.)
I'm wondering if Amry left his grubby fingerprints all over the bomb making components. I'm thinking that's a good guess as the article later on informs us:


Quote:

At a holding center near Falluja, Mr. Amry said he was a student who sometimes drove a taxi and a truck. Soldiers took his picture and other identifying information and sent him to Camp Bucca in southern Iraq.

Before the arrest, the Combined Exploitation Cell, a squad of civilian bomb experts and military intelligence personnel formed to identify bomb makers, sent remnants of an explosive device that had gone off in Baghdad a year earlier to a laboratory near Washington for analysis. When the lab results were compared with a database on Iraqi detainees, Mr. Amry's name popped up. After Army intelligence personnel in the Washington area were informed of the results in January, they notified Task Force 134, the Army command in Iraq responsible for detainees, a military intelligence officer said.
"Other identifying information" would include fingerprints, no? I'm pretty sure Amry didn't put his picture on the I.E.D. So, everyone remember to wear gloves when you make your bombs. Thanks, NYT!
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Old 25th November 2005, 08:44 AM   #2
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Could be fingerprints, but it's surprising how much stuff good forensics can turn up. Spots of DNA can be picked up from unexpected places. So don't sneeze over your bomb or suck the fuse before sticking it in the explosives.

Oops. You never heard me say that.
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Old 25th November 2005, 09:17 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by richardm View Post
Could be fingerprints, but it's surprising how much stuff good forensics can turn up. Spots of DNA can be picked up from unexpected places. So don't sneeze over your bomb or suck the fuse before sticking it in the explosives.

Oops. You never heard me say that.
I suppose he could've been digging out earwax with a detonator switch. Does anyone know if DNA samples are taken from detainees? It seems very unlikely to me considering the costs and time required.
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Old 25th November 2005, 09:23 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by kalen View Post
Does anyone know if DNA samples are taken from detainees? It seems very unlikely to me considering the costs and time required.
I dunno, is it really all that expensive? They've got plenty of time after all; they're not going anywhere (except this bloke, by the look of things)
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Old 25th November 2005, 06:08 PM   #5
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Did some searching. The NYT article mentions a "Biometrics Automated Toolset" which is used for the identification of all detainees. As of last year, DNA samples were not included.

From a news release from the "International Biometrics Group":

Quote:
The Pentagon has launched a pilot program to collect the fingerprints — and eventually DNA samples, palm prints, voice sounds and iris patterns — of potential enemies in its war on terrorism.
This was from October 2004. The NYT article states that Amry was linked an explosion in January.

Looks like they got him on fingerprints, after all.

So what was the big secret again?
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Last edited by kalen; 25th November 2005 at 06:10 PM.
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